The following background paper explains how the blockchain technology works and shows the fields in which it might be applied as well as the opportunities blockchain might provide. Furthermore, it highlights the threats posed by blockchain and the areas in which the technology requires further development. Anyone aiming at making a significant political, economic or technological contribution to this future topic should start addressing blockchain now.
Blockchain is a type of collectively written digital ledger, a transaction technology that could bring about fundamental changes in many sectors of the economy over the coming years. It has even been attributed the potential to effect change on a scale comparable to that made by the internet in the years after 1990.
The energy sector is one of many areas experiencing the force of these changes as pioneering start-ups show that it is both conceivable and feasible for private individuals to trade electricity independently from energy companies. Blockchain can also be used to integrate storage technologies more efficiently into decentralised energy systems, to simplify the equalisation of supply and demand, to perform automated battery charging and billing functions in the electric mobility sector and to guarantee the authenticity of green energy certificates.
Hendrik Zimmermann and Janna Hoppe