The US Senate may finally be ready to seriously discuss the potential applications of blockchain technology, especially when it comes to the utilization of blockchain in the energy sector. Yesterday’s announcement confirms that the Senate has held a hearing regarding this topic, and similar technological applications.
Senate Hears of Blockchain Energy Market Potential
The recently held US Senate hearing has had the Committee focused on various potential applications of blockchain and alternative decentralized technologies. Applications discussed included blockchain energy applications, as well as the potential use of blockchain in cybersecurity.
The committee particularly focused on the potential increase in electricity fees due to larger power demands of the blockchain technology. Additionally, the hearing mentioned various methods of evaluating blockchain’s capabilities when it comes to improving the security of those systems that are responsible for the management of the energy supply.
Thomas A. Golden, one of the hearing’s participants, who is also a manager at the ERPI (Electric Power Research Institute), stated that their research of these technologies has led to a variety of promising projects. These projects are mostly focused on efficient energy management via the blockchain.
ERPI has one a lot in order to raise awareness and educate people about this technology. Their efforts also include the establishment of UBIG (Utility Blockchain Interest Group), which consists of nearly 40 companies that deal with energy. The institute is also in the process of creating a special blockchain energy market simulator.
Pros and Cons of Blockchain Tech
One of the biggest issues regarding public blockchain technology and the operation of the Bitcoin Network revolves around energy consumption. This is an issue that was addressed by Energy Web Foundation’s managing director, Claire Henly. According to Henly, blockchain has the potential to bring large changes to the energy market, and make it more open and efficient. Of course, Henly admitted that there are still issues that need to be resolved, but the potential for blockchain to revolutionize energy is there.
Another speaker, Princeton University’s computer science associate professor, Arvind Narayanan, mentioned that the new tech has significant draws accompanying it. He stated that a market based on blockchain might seem attractive due to its decentralization, and P2P trading may allow the direct transfer of electricity between individuals. However, for P2P energy trading to succeed, the traditional establishments that are control of the flow of electricity will need to cooperate with blockchain startups.
As for the issue of blockchain tech improving cybersecurity, Narayanan stated that blockchain might actually be able to mitigate the risk surrounding energy management systems. He even pointed out that policymakers should consider blockchain as one of the best technical tools that can tackle the existing issues.
Another Congressional hearing that was held at the end of July has seen Christopher Giancarlo, the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) chairman, talk about the governmental agency’s interest in the blockchain. On this occasion, he expressed the need for decent measures that would allow the agency to actually start making plans regarding blockchain implementation.