Slock.it: Using the Blockchain for Energy P2P Sharing
Pioneers who are stepping into blockchain technology are searching for ways to not only revolutionize the financial sector but to better manage our time and resources. Energy sharing isn’t a novel concept, but being able to apply it to Ethereum certainly is.
The tech industry has been looking for innovative ways to provide users the capability of sharing excess energy when they’re not using it- usually incentivizing with profit. Share&Charge, built by Slock.it and in partnership with Innogy Innovation Hub, has enabled users to share or rent their private Electric Vehicle charging stations, parking spots, and (they hope in the future) the vehicle themselves.
Share&Charge works off the Ethereum blockchain due to its smart contract functionality. Similar to how gift cards work, tokens are created to represent a “mobility value denominated in EUR.” Users are then able to purchase or earn these tokens by providing charging services.
Share&Charge utilizes a private Ethereum blockchain to ensure transparency while maintaining security. Privatized blockchains are still transparent to all Share&Charge users, but they also hold more security than a public blockchain, which ensures and retains the trust of its partners.
How it Works
Their beta version that went live in Germany last week consists of a mobile geolocation app that identifies and navigates to a given service (in their beta version, a charging pole).This charging pole is provided by another user of Share&Charge (p2p). The consumer swipes their cell phone and makes use of the charging service, only paying for the energy they use.
“The operator of the pole is rewarded in tokens valued at EUR 1 they can then use to consume other services on the platform, including gaining access to 3rd party offers or redeeming the tokens for cash.”
Stephan Tual, Founder of Slock.it, states that the mobile application enables anyone to benefit from a “platform secured by proven cryptographic principles without knowing the technical details behind it, making it as easy to use as any other mobile application.”
This energy sharing concept comes from the idea of creating an atmosphere where autonomous machines exist in harmony with consumers who only pay for the use of those machines- an idea that only the energy that’s needed is used, and without any human intervention.
A Step Forward for Slock.it
The live beta version of this energy sharing project could possibly take Slock.it out of its synonymous shadow. Ever since the DAO exploit, Slock.it industries has received a lot of negative connotations from the Ethereum community and quite the backlash from the media. While every cutting-edge technology hits a few road bumps before moving into the finished product, not all of them suffer multi-million dollar losses through exploits. As the beta version of this energy sharing model rolls out, time will tell if Share&Charge will catch on, thus giving energy sharing p2p projects more spotlight and mainstream adoption.