Blockchain network disruption soon to arrive – with Australian company at forefront

An Australian start-up has been named as a global leader in the development of “blockchain” technology in a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The BNEF report named Perth-based company Power Ledger as one of the companies leading development of the technology, which it says has the potential to “rapidly disrupt” the energy market status quo and fast-track the shift to decentralised generation.

As reported here in August, blockchain is the software that underpins Bitcoin, a digital currency that has proved popular in many markets and is now being applied to the buying and selling of energy, among other things.

The technology works to identify the ownership of energy as it is generated and then to manage multiple trading agreements between consumers who buy excess solar, for example, direct from the original owner/producer, without the addition of market costs and commercial margins.

As Power Ledger chair and co-founder Jemma Green put it in an interview with One Step Off The Grid in August, “effectively, we’re cutting out the middle-man to save consumers, and to maximise returns for producers.

“It’s a win for the people who have been able to afford to invest in roof-top solar, but also a win for customers who haven’t: they will be able to access clean, renewable energy at effectively a ‘wholesale’ rate. Everyone wins.”

And while most blockchain software and business models are currently at a proof-of-concept or trial stage of development, their potential to “rapidly disrupt traditional energy market structures” cannot be ignored.

But the report also notes that the secret to more rapid success for blockchain start-ups may lie in working with the energy market incumbents, rather than competing against them.

Ultimately, says the BNEF report, “if blockchain achieves scale, it is likely that it will be implemented in manners that support current market/regulatory trends, rather than as a disruptive technology in its own right.”

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© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd 

Jeff Sykes