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U.K. startup Electron seeks to leverage Ethereum blockchain in energy sector

U.K.-based firm Electron has built a demo platform on Ethereum blockchain and in a dummy representation of the country’s energy market, it showed that energy supplier switches can be executed up to 20 times faster than current switching rates, techcrunch reported.

For this, the startup used data from 60 energy providers. The company co-founder Paul Ellis is seeking to convince energy industry players to upgrade their current ‘hodgepodge’ of
processes for improved efficiency.

The energy sector’s existing shared infrastructure includes platforms for balancing and settlement, and for shared registration facilities. Electron’s aim is to encourage the energy industry to collectively shift these functions onto shared blockchains.

“The energy market is built on technology that mostly is around 25 or 35 years out of date. It’s been built up over a period of time — it’s a hodgepodge of different systems,” Ellis stated. “(Blockchains) are very cost effective. You don’t require third party intermediaries to operate these shared platforms. A blockchain provides a way to remove the cost inefficiencies and the barriers to innovation that a central service provider would necessarily bring.”

Electron aims to push the potential for blockchain in order to lay the foundations for households to participate in peer to peer energy, and flexibility trading in future, thus turning energy surplus and varying demand into a potential market.

Although the company would not look to monetize any shared blockchain infrastructure directly, it will rather via the commercial services opportunity these platforms would unlock, Ellis further mentioned. When it comes to other blockchain startups targeting the sector, most in the energy space are focusing on peer-to-peer energy trading.

“We’re not aware of anyone else who’s focusing top down. And that’s the reason why we’ve started our process with this registration platform because that’s very much a top-down energy industry infrastructure issue,” he says.

Electron is a new platform being developed by a group of blockchain and energy experts that will implement innovative, decentralized software systems to empower and streamline innovation in the energy markets. Founded in 2015, the London-based startup has raised around £400K in pre-seed funding from private investors as well as securing two Innovate UK grants totaling £150k, to develop its technology.

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