Chubu Electric Power Co. of Japan is testing Bitcoin’s Lightning Network

Bitcoin as a means of Payment

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Chubu Electric Power Co. which is the third largest electricity provider in Japan is trying to adopt the Bitcoin payments technology. The company has already entered into a proof-of-concept with a Bitcoin startup Nayuta. This is geared towards exploring how Bitcoin payments can be made through Lightning Network an in-development protocol that helps to cut costs for Bitcoin users.

Chubu boasts of more than 15,000 employees and also has more than 200 power generation facilities and is now using lightning to prototype a new method of allowing customers pay to charge their electric cars. Nayuta and Chubu have already demonstrated how the lightning payment can be sent to an electric vehicle charger so that when it’s paid it instantly turns on and begin to energize a real-life vehicle.

According to Chubu’s senior manager Hidehiro Ichikawa, the tests are part of the company’s marketing research into establishing how Bitcoin can be used to power IoT needs. He, however, noted that the company is not yet ready to accept Lightning payments from customers.

It was established that Chubu had bee researching about the experiment for some time but got up when they realized that Blockchain was not as cheap as advertised. Hidehiro told Cryptona that:

“Electric charge is small, and for that reason, Lightning should reduce the fees for using public Blockchain.”

Nayuta CEO Kanich Kurimoto on his part believes that the test is signaling something larger. According to him: “For all IoT and blockchain applications, fast payments are required. We have already shown that second layer payments are a good solution.”

How does lightning work for IoT?

To demonstrate how the lightning works for IoT these two companies hooked up a lightning node to one electric vehicle charger then plugged it into a car. From that point the teamed up with a third company Infoteria to code up a mobile app so as to bring the user experience together. Immediately one clicks the send button the app communicates to the charger either through Wifi or Bluetooth which powers on.

In this initial experiment, they, however, did not use real Bitcoin because other experiments are still going on. They instead used a dummy Bitcoin on a closed network they had more control over. The experiment was however very successful.

The spokesperson of Nayuta went on to state that the same set-up could be used even in parking lots. He stated that users could use the technology to recharge their credit cards. In his statement: “Lightning can make it possible to operate a highly reliable charge management system with reduced costs.”

The two companies have vowed to continue doing research on the project. Nayuta’s spokesperson concluded by saying that: “We will not stop developing and experimenting to seek the best architecture that can apply Lightning Network for IoT.”

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