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Siemens-backed blockchain energy platform showcases in Germany



A blockchain-based energy trading platform backed by German tech giant Siemens is being publicly demonstrated in a Bavarian municipality today.

The so-called “Pebbles” project — short for “peer-to-peer energy trading based on blockchains” — is holding a virtual demo of its blockchain-based marketplace platform for optimized electricity trading. The demo was officially announced by the project on Oct. 22.

The public demonstration of Pebbles’ energy platform in the town of Wildpoldsried in Bavarian marks a major milestone after the project was launched in March 2018.

Funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Pebbles is a joint initiative by the regional utility Allgäuer Überlandwerk, grid operator AllgäuNetz and Siemens. The project is also supported by the University of Applied Sciences at Kempten and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology.

The initiative aims to provide a platform to enable private energy producers to market their electricity directly to local consumers without the need for middlemen or traditional grid operators. The platform also intends to provide flexible power from battery storage for electric vehicles. Blockchain implementation is designed to ensure that all information regarding market transactions is immutable and transparent.

Pebbles is not the only blockchain-based energy project being developed in Germany. In February 2020, the BMWi published an analysis of major blockchain implementations in energy trading, highlighting four related projects including BloGPV, SMECS, ETIBLOGG, as well as Pebbles.

In October 2020, Germany’s major governmental group responsible for energy innovation in Germany — Deutsche Energie-Agentur, or DENA, — claimed that the authority is looking to move its energy ecosystem to a decentralized database.

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Polish city becomes first to adopt Ethereum blockchain for emergency services




Olsztyn, Poland is reportedly the first city in the world to leverage Ethereum’s blockchain to aid the provision of emergency services, offering yet another tangible use case for distributed ledger technology. 

Olsztyn has completed a successful trial run of SmartKey, a bridging technology that connects blockchain with physical assets, to aid in police, fire and ambulance services.

SmartKey will reportedly enable rescue teams to perform their jobs more efficiently by connecting a smart contract to Teltonika smart devices that are used by local rescue teams. This connection enables emergency crews to enter any building in the city without having to track down a keyholder or wait for permission.

Gustaw Marek Brzezin, the marshall of the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship in which Olsztyn is located, issued the following statement:

“The need for our rescue services to perform their duties without obstruction is a delicate one. The use of blockchain and SmartKey technology seems to be like the perfect solution, giving reassurance to building owners and inhabitants, but also freedom for our emergency services.”

SmartKey believes blockchain technology can lay the groundwork for the development of smart cities. Although definitions vary, a smart city refers to any urban area that leverages emerging technologies and sensors to collect data, which can then be used to manage assets, resources and services more efficiently. As a paradigm, smart cities feed into other theories about sustainability and economic development.

The Internet of Things, or IoT, could have major implications for future smart cities. Connected devices are thought to represent one of the biggest growth opportunities of the next decade. The World Economic Forum, for example, has identified IoT as an important pillar of “urban transformation,” especially after COVID-19.

Several cryptocurrency projects operate in the IoT niche, the largest being Iota (MIOTA) with a market cap of $825 million. At least a dozen others have a market cap of $1 million or more.