One of Japan’s largest electricity providers is looking to become one of the first major businesses across the globe to try out an interesting new Bitcoin payment technology.
This week, Chubu Electric Power Co. shared it has entered into a proof-of-concept with local Bitcoin and Internet of Things startup, Nayuta. The company’s focus is to discover how Bitcoin payments can be made through the Lightning Network, an in-development program that promises to reduce costs for Bitcoin users.
With around 15,000 employees and over 200 power generation facilities, Chubu is currently using Lightning to prototype a new method that allows customers to pay to charge an electric vehicle.
In a recent demonstration of how it works, Chubu and Nayuta displayed how a Lightning payment can be sent to an electric vehicle charger that, once paid for, immediately turns on and begins energizing a real-life vehicle.
Hidehiro Ichikawa, the Chubu Electric Power Co. senior manager, explains that the test is part of the company’s “market research” into how Bitcoin could power its Internet of Things needs, although he shared that the company doesn’t currently have any official plans to take Lightning payments from its customers.
Chubu’s story hits home with others who are intrigued by cryptocurrencies, but annoyed by their current capabilities. The company has been focused on using Bitcoin for IoT for a long time, but recently discovered its blockchain is not as affordable as originally believed.
Ichikawa shares, “Since the electricity charge is small, [Lightning’s] necessary to reduce the fees for using public blockchains.”
Nayuta CEO, Kenichi Kurimoto, thinks this test is another step in the right direction, hopefully allowing Bitcoin to deliver IoT payments in a more cost-effective way using Lightning.
“For IoT and blockchain applications, real-time payments are needed. We showed that second layer payments can be the solution,” he explains.