A little known ethereum project called Lition is quietly helping real German citizens to find less energy.
Launched at the beginning of this year, Lition is already a licensed energy provider in Germany with customers in 12 major cities (including Berlin, Hamburg and Munich) that now use their own decentralized energy market. Built on top of the blockchain ethereum, the Lition market connects consumers directly with large and small energy producers.
In total, more than 700 families across Germany are using the decentralized platform to buy their energy, according to the company.
In short, Lition is trying to change the way global energy works with a very familiar concept to blockchain enthusiasts: "getting around unnecessary brokers", saving money to its users for energy.
In the case of households, an energy provider sells solar or electric energy (or any type of material produced) to an intermediary, often a giant multinational company. Customers therefore buy energy from that intermediary.
The problem, in the eyes of the CEO of Lition Richard Lohwasser, is that these multinational intermediaries have too much influence and do not give users a sufficient choice on the type of energy they can buy.
So, the solution of Lition is to cut them completely.
"Our energy exchange connects customers and producers directly, the producers put their energies on the stock market and then the customers can buy it," he told CoinDesk, adding:
"Usually, direct purchase by manufacturers is limited to energy suppliers that are big companies, we are bringing the exchange to the consumer, so that consumers can pay the energy they want."
Cut the giants
Slicing intermediaries also reduces costs, and not with a minimum amount. According to Lition, this allows customers to save an average of 20 percent on their bills and to increase plant revenues by up to 30 percent.
This is despite the fact that Lition has a strong emphasis on "green energy", which, although better for the environment, is often more expensive. As the demo of the app shows, Lition users can choose between wind, solar or biomass categories, then choose which supplier they prefer (which, according to Lohwasser, is usually only the cheapest option) .
Once the user finds the energy he wants to buy, he makes a euro payment to Lition. Behind the scenes, an intelligent ethereum contract records this payment and automatically sends its energy to the customer.
"Lition's blockchain technology … simplifies the process of purchasing energy directly from green producers of any size, using transparent smart contracts that allow consumers to circumvent the complexity of power distribution brokers", explains the website of lition.
For now, users must be from Germany, where Lition is authorized to operate. Those interested in purchasing energy using the Lition market can consult the Lition website, which also presents a price estimator based on the postal code of the user.
But Lohwasser believes that this is a proof of concept for a bigger goal.
Perhaps, one day, anyone will be able to buy energy directly in this decentralized way, perhaps even from small solar farms created by hobbyists in a nearby neighborhood.
The bad news is that, like some other companies, they have had problems with ethereum.
"Ethereum is not a good system", Lohwasser abruptly expressed his opinion.
As much as I appreciate that the platform is open and "without authorization", which means that anyone can use it without presenting a permit receipt, has pitted a long list of problems that Lition users have had to face.
"It's very slow, it takes 20 to 30 seconds to tell a customer if they can buy energy or not," he said, adding that as a company that is trying to promote renewable energy, they began to feel uncomfortable in the world. use a system that relies on mining, which is rather a process of energy aspiration.
Realizing all the high costs associated with the platform, Lition has become a bit more challenging. They started hunting for something better, but looking at least a dozen blockchains, they could not find one that was both unauthorized and scalable.
"They have all their drawbacks," Lohwasser said. He seemed skeptical of private blockchains, other than his public cousin, in the sense that not everyone can participate. "You may not even have a blockchain," he remarked.
Thus, they found the partnership with one of the world's largest software companies, SAP, to build their own system, a "hybrid" business blockchain, which combines what they believe to be the best aspects of public and private blockchains. SAP is working on the smart contract layer, while Litiom faces the consensus layer.
The company is quick to point out that they have managed to create all this technology without funding through an initial coin offering (ICO). The new kind of fundraising enabled by blockchain technology is exciting, but it has also aroused some skepticism, partly because doubtful projects have been able to raise millions of dollars in this way.
In order to pursue their public-private blockchain, to be used for more than just energy use cases, Lition plans to launch its ICO to start it by the end of the year.
Image of solar panels through Shutterstock