A Systematic Analysis of Real-World Energy Blockchain Initiatives

Reference Type:

Journal Article

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Published In:

Future Internet

Year:

2019

Author(s):

Peter O’Donovan
Dominic T. J. O’Sullivan

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The application of blockchain technology to the energy sector promises to derive new operating models focused on local generation and sustainable practices, which are driven by peer-to-peer collaboration and community engagement. However, real-world energy blockchains differ from typical blockchain networks insofar as they must interoperate with grid infrastructure, adhere to energy regulations, and embody engineering principles. Naturally, these additional dimensions make real-world energy blockchains highly dependent on the participation of grid operators, engineers, and energy providers. Although much theoretical and proof-of-concept research has been published on energy blockchains, this research aims to establish a lens on real-world projects and implementations that may inform the alignment of academic and industry research agendas. This research classifies 131 real-world energy blockchain initiatives to develop an understanding of how blockchains are being applied to the energy domain, what type of failure rates can be observed from recently reported initiatives, and what level of technical and theoretical details are reported for real-world deployments. The results presented from the systematic analysis highlight that real-world energy blockchains are (a) growing exponentially year-on-year, (b) producing relatively low failure/drop-off rates (~7% since 2015), and (c) demonstrating information sharing protocols that produce content with insufficient technical and theoretical depth.