Bitcoin can be used for various purposes, and mainstream media has been paying little attention to several advantages the digital currency brings to the table. A recent article on the BBC website talks about how Bitcoin can help cut electricity bills, as suggested by a new research report. This sounds quite odd, considering how Bitcoin mining is associated with using a lot of electricity. But there is a twist to this story, as smart contracts will be the key to reducing our electricity bills all over the world.
Accenture Smart Plug With Smart Contracts
By the look of things, the BBC team has thrown together some of the fanciest keywords in the digital currency ecosystem today, and make a headline out of it. The article doesn’t make too much sense, as it talks about how Bitcoin will reduce electricity costs. But at the same time, all of the “work” will be done by the blockchain and smart contracts. Especially that latter piece of information is interesting, as smart contracts are not native to Bitcoin itself, but rather th Ethereum, which is an extension of Bitcoin in a way.
As many people will be well aware of by now, the blockchain is a protocol powering the Bitcoin network. However, one can run a blockchain without Bitcoin as well, or that is what the banks seem to think is possible anyway. Distributed ledger technology can be used in a variety of ways, and some companies are looking well beyond the financial sector right now.
Accenture, a major technology company which recently partnered with Digital Asset Holdings, has unveiled a smart plug that will adjust power consumption every minute. Smart plugs are nothing new under the sun these days, although most of these devices have been used for home automation services. Accenture is one of the first companies to wield this technology for the benefit of consumers, rather than getting them to spend more money.
What this smart plug by Accenture will do is look for the cheapest power supplier in the country at any given time, and sign up for the cheapest tariff available. Needless to say, this will lead to a lot of supplier-hopping, which sounds great on paper, but might not be feasible in the real world.
Looking for different electricity suppliers and signing up with the cheapest offering will occur over the blockchain by executing smart contracts. While this concept aims to bring a real life use case to blockchain technology, there are a fair few questions waiting to be answered. However, it is important to note this idea is just a proof of concept, and not a working prototype by any means.
Getting Electricity Suppliers On Board
Even though most of the technical details remain shrouded in mystery for the time being, the proof of concept created by Accenture could – in theory – help low-income families make better decisions regarding their energy consumption. Using the blockchain to switch sources, and smart contracts to complete the transfers, automates the whole concept.
Based on the information provided by Accenture, their smart plug would be able to work together with other home automation gadgets. Various products monitor electricity consumption already, and having a plug that will look for the cheapest energy source would be a valuable addition.
Considering how the Internet of Things initiative is gaining traction all over the world, it only makes sense to have more devices communicate with each other to make smarter decisions. The blockchain, combined with smart contracts, will automate the entire process of looking for alternative options and signing up with the cheapest supplier.
That is, assuming, any of the existing energy suppliers in the world would decide to get on board with this concept. As innovative as this entire concept may sound, it will be of little use unless energy suppliers get on board. When they know they can gain and lose customers every single minute, they will be less inclined to partake in this initiative.
Assuming the Accenture smart plug would become a real product at some point, there are plenty of advantages for consumers. Removing the need to depend on one supplier or ecosystem is a major step forward towards achieving true decentralization of smart energy grids.