Blockchain is taking over the financial world these days, or so it seems from all the daily announcements, but the technology has the potential to impact on so much more of our economy. The latest example of this comes from the European energy giant RWE which looks to make the blockchain an integral part of its core businesses.
Germany-headquartered RWE has teamed up with Slock.it to explore how charging electric vehicles could be transformed by optimising both human to machine and machine to machine (M2M) transactions.
The first project revealed is an autonomous electric charging station, integrating a smart contract that allows users to rent the station, put up a deposit, charge their car, then get their deposit back. The charging station handles user authentication, payment processing and loyalty point assignments as part of one single transaction – simplifying the billing process.
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Other advantages of using blockchain are that it guarantees fraud proof accounting, as all the transactions have complete transparency which could help with many regulatory requirements on electric charging stations in the future, and that it simplifies adding new partners by using open APIs instead of impenetrable service oriented architectures.
Beyond all of that, the project aims to get rid of the need for a centralized server altogether. Stephan Tual, Slock.it’s CCO (and the former CCO for the Ethereum project) explains: “RWE makes proper use of the public blockchain by leveraging a shared resource and paying only for what it uses. In effect, they are renting access to the world computer, Ethereum.”
Further showing its commitment to supporting blockchain development, RWE is also co-sponsoring an innovation award for the German Tech Entrepreneurship Center. Totaling €50,000 in prizes, the competition is looking for the best blockchain solutions to solve every day problems. In addition, they offer the opportunity to relocate an entire winning team to Berlin (with free office space).