A project at Bitcoin 2022 is designing the future of payments for energy via the Lightning Network.
To paraphrase the great American philosopher Forrest Gump, “Bitcoin and energy go together like peas and carrots.” Bitcoin’s connection with the energy industry is well known, with valuable ancillary services such as waste-energy monetization and grid stabilization becoming more widely appreciated by the day.
Bitcoin’s connection to energy is now moving beyond the typical mining applications. A Lightning project called Distributed Charge, developed by Andy Schroder and featured in Bitcoin 2022’s exhibition hall, promises to advance Bitcoin integration with the energy sector in an exciting new way.
Schroeder is using Lightning to stream payments for electricity, between a Lightning-enabled node integrated into a Tesla and a Lightning-enabled node integrated into a charging station. With this system individuals can stream sats for electrons in a peer-to-peer energy marketplace.
Distributed Charge is currently using the electric vehicle use case to pilot the idea but one could envision the technology being applied on a much broader scale, helping utilities to more efficiently price and distribute power as well as enabling independent power producers to sell directly to customers in a more mesh-like grid system.
The node that Schroder developed to run in the charging terminal is elegantly designed to withstand inclement weather and his custom-designed circuit board expands on a project called Oratek’s TOFU node platform. The node can be powered by 7.5 to 28 VDC in addition to USB-C. It has an M2 socket for direct installation for a slim SSD or cellular radio.
Schroder envisions Bitcoin as the native payment network for the energy grid and that “Every electric meter should allow for bi-directional payment and energy flows, and everyone should be able to easily buy and sell energy privately without the need to involve third parties or inflationary monetary systems.”
Needless to say, pricing and distributing electricity in sats via Lightning is an immensely exciting proposition with wide-ranging implications. The Bitcoin community should help Schroder bring this vision to fruition by installing these charging stations and outfitting more electric cars with his nodes.
Bitcoin 2022 is part of the Bitcoin Event Series hosted by BTC Inc, the parent company of Bitcoin Magazine.
This is a guest post by Fangorn. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.