Japan-based Electricity Provider Experiments with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network
Originally published on: Meet the Man Who Advocates Bitcoin for African Economies
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March 14, 2018
The Lightning protocol is touted as a permanent solution to the scalability problems plaguing the Bitcoin network. Therefore enthusiasts and developers all around the world have been experimenting with Lightning to find out if it’s truly the solution to Bitcoin’s challenges.
Chubu Electric Trials Lightning
Chubu Electric Power Co., Japan’s third-largest electricity company, in collaboration with an Internet of Things (IoT) firm Nayuta has engaged in a trial involving bitcoin payments via the Lightning network.
Experts have said that the Lightning Network will eliminate most of the limitations of bitcoin. However, this protocol is still in its developmental stages and requires some level of expertise from users.
Chubu, a power behemoth which has 194 power stations generating a total of over 32,000 megawatts of electricity, is looking at the possibility of letting customers pay to charge their electric cars using the Lightning protocol.
Chubu and Nayuta successfully demonstrated how Lightning and IoT could work together by connecting a Lightning node to an electric vehicle charger and plugged it into an electric vehicle. Infoteria, a local Japanese software firm, created a mobile app that facilitated the whole process.
How It Happened
Once the “send” button is clicked (once bitcoin is sent), the app communicates with the charger via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, the message is delivered, power is turned on, and the car starts charging.
It might interest you to know that unlike other bitcoin transactions carried out via the Lightning Network that have been successful, the Chubu experiment used only dummy bitcoin residing on a closed test network.
It’s a fact that the Lightning protocol enables users to send super-fast bitcoin payments with very low fees, compared to the legacy Bitcoin blockchain. This major attribute of the Lightning Network is what motivated Chubu to carry out the experiment.
A senior manager at Chubu Electric Power Co., Hideshiro Ichikawa, noted:
“Since the electricity charge is small, [on the Lightning network]necessary to reduce the fees for using public blockchains. For IoT and blockchain applications, real-time payments are needed. We showed that second layer payments can be the solution.”
This successful proof-of-concept experiment may seem quite simple on the surface, but it goes a long way to show that the future is bright for the Lightning Network. It also indicates that Lightning can work in a simple, fast and frictionless manner with IoT devices.
“We will continue to develop and experiment to seek for what kind of architecture is the best to apply Lightning Network for IoT,” Moriyama hinted. By joining the lightning developer mailing list and ensuring compatibility with the various implementations of the protocol, Nayuta is committing to exploring the innovation built on Bitcoin even further.
Back in January, BTCManager published a report highlighting the many benefits of the Bitcoin Lightning protocol. Although it may take several years before Lightning gets into full use, as the saying goes; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; therefore, it is right to say that the Bitcoin Lightning revolution has already started. Several companies have already started to use Lightning, including Coinfinity and TorGuard.