What do you consider to be the most important use cases outside of crypto currencies?

The research project identified over 90 industry-specific use cases for the technology. In particular, applications in energy labelling (proof of origin), asset management, change of supplier and in the context of system and network services have proven to be promising.

Many current implementation projects in the context of the energy industry are dealing with the topic of peer-to-peer energy trading. At first glance, this appears to be a very obvious but also visionary use case, which, however, can only be implemented with “support wheels” in the current legal-regulatory framework.

The vision of the news spy is to replace the traditional energy supply company

Its tasks, however, are complex and without safeguarding, for example, balance group loyalty and other legal obligations that prosumers face in P2P trading, a block-chain solution will not be able to replace the news spy and the energy supply company, but will be dependent on its services. The project has also identified synergies between different use cases that make it possible to handle several applications via a common blockchain infrastructure, which in turn does justice to the character of the blockchain as a platform technology.

The use case of energy labelling was demonstrated and tested at the FfE as part of a proof of concept using an Ethereum-based electricity labelling system. In the context of our research, optimization potentials were identified in the existing system with regard to the certification and designation of green electricity. The blockchain technology promises to provide added value here, especially against the background of an increasing integration of volatile renewable energy quantities. Different concepts are conceivable for an implementation.

So do you think cross-chain solutions make sense, for example? Or do you need a completely new concept?

Cross-chain solutions can be a sensible solution for specific applications. Ultimately, it is necessary to take a very specific look at the processes and requirements of a use case and select the appropriate technical solution depending on the design. With the help of standardization, such solutions would be much easier to implement or might not be absolutely necessary.

Are there further research efforts of the FfE?

On the basis of the knowledge from our current research project, we plan to go into an implementation project that we are currently preparing with our partners. On the one hand, we want to show that the technology can provide real added value in some applications, whose synergies on a blockchain platform can play out the strength of the technology, and on the other hand we want to identify practical limitations. This can also include integration into existing IT systems (e.g. SAP) or the iMSys infrastructure.

We see this as a major challenge, since the infrastructure (for good reason) is designed for security and leaves little scope for innovative technologies. This includes technical restrictions such as data integration from the Smart Metering PKI into a block chain, practical restrictions such as billing relevance and the temporal resolution of recorded measured values and legal restrictions, for example with regard to data protection. As scientists, we are of course also interested in the system repercussions of these solutions and the added value for the energy industry.