i-ItalyNY - 5thBirthday Special Issue. The Best of i-Itay - page 25

Special Issue | Winter 2017-2018 |
i-Italy Magazine
| 25
by
Luca Longo
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We were the first to explain in a simple
way what cryptocurrencies are and how
blockchain, the technology behind it, works. We
tried to predict the future by imagining how the
Bitcoin bubble will burst. We did not look at a
crystal ball but at the mechanisms and statistics,
showing that the phenomenon behind crypto-
currencies is set to step back soon.
There is no question that the blockchain pro-
tocols, on which crypto-assessment are based,
will have a bright future in all the applications
– including non-financial ones – where it will be
necessary to guarantee the reliability of several
partners without being able to rely on a central
authority recognised by all the stakeholders
involved.
It is quite likely that the future of these tech-
nologies lies above all here. And the world energy
market is one of the most suitable for their ap-
plication. Blockchains will be able to transform
electricity and fossil fuel distribution systems into
giant, decentralized yet integrated networks.
Think about a worldwide gas network where
extraction wells, pipelines, refineries, stockpiles,
liquefaction facilities, LNG carriers, regasifica-
tion plants, distribution networks and individual
users will be able to interact directly through se-
cure, transparent and intermediary-free trading.
Beside the gas one, a network of liquid fuels could
be created by linking oil wells, oil pipelines and
tankers, refineries, distribution and retail chains.
Up to the distributors’ doorstep.
But the most revolutionary application for
blockchains could be in the electrical market.
This in fact, is by its nature, much more distrib-
uted and will be even more so with the growth
of domestic photovoltaics. Imagine an integrat-
ed global network
in which large and
small photovoltaic
panel systems, wind
turbine, solar ther-
mal concentrators,
electricity storage
and retention sys-
tems, industrial and
home appliances, will
represent millions of interconnected nodes of all
sizes able to interact directly, buy and sell electric-
ity through intrinsically secure exchanges across
all borders, including the world’s hottest ones.
And all this will be possible without the need
for intermediaries and guarantors.
For this reason, blockchain technologies could
not be bypassed by Eni which was one of the first
energy companies to bet on innovation in this
sector as well.
At the beginning of 2017 – together with BP
andWienEnergy – Eni launched a first pilot proj-
ect to develop a blockchain dedicated technology
tomanaging energy exchanges between different
actors. In just three months, thanks to the “Inter-
bit” blockchain platform developed by Canadian
BTL, the first intrinsically safe and self-guaran-
teed electronic energy trading system was set.
Interbit solves some of the problems thatmake
some first technologies such as Bitcoin extremely
vulnerable: its architecture enables thousands of
blockchains per server to be activated and con-
nected to each other; thus hundreds of thousands
of transactions per second can be handled. This
solution allows exchanges of all sizes: from small
quantities to petabytes needed for large transac-
tions among the world’s largest companies. In ad-
dition, unlike Bitcoins, transactions can remain
confidential and only be available to those who
need to see and verify them. Lastly, the technol-
ogy is easily accessible to developers: all applica-
tions can be written with JavaScript, the system
used to make web pages.
The experiment was so successful that at the
end of 2017 companies like Gazprom, Total, Mer-
curia, Vattenfall, Petroineos and Freepoint also
joined. The goal now is to extend the scope of
OneOffice – the dedicated application based on
Interbit technology – to the entire energy trading
process and to open new transactions in record
time: already by 2018.
But the commitment of Eni as the pioneer of
new technologies is not limited to this. The six-
legged dog company – together with 35 other
European companies – is part of the Enerchain
consortium developed by the German company
Ponton with the aim of creating a platform for
energy trading and optimisation of the network
management.
Once again, Eni is the first to break new
ground, with the same pioneering spirit that
guides geologists in the search for new oil fields
withHPC4 and researchers who invent new tech-
nologies for the exploitation of renewable ener-
gies and for the environmental protection.
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Reprinted with permission from the energy webzine
Eniday.com, a communication project of the Italian
Oil and Gas company ENI
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ENERGY EDUCATION
Blockchain
for Energy
The mechanism behind Bitcoins and
other cryptocurrencies will
revolutionize the distribution and
access to energy. Eni was one of the
first energy companies to bet on
innovation in this sector as well.
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