Swisspower | Urban Blockchain Summit in Bern with international…

Urban Blockchain Summit in Bern with international participation

At the first Swiss «Urban Blockchain Summit» on 19 November 2019, more than 100 experts from the energy, mobility and IT sector discussed the potential contribution of blockchain technology to smart urban infrastructures. The event was organised by Swisspower and the Energy Web Foundation.

A flock of birds flies over a field. Who is in charge of coordination? Nobody, for each bird only communicates with the five birds surrounding it. This image describes the idea of blockchain: a system operating via distributed communication. Blockchain’s great potential for the energy sector, which will display growing decentralisation as it integrates renewable energy sources and prosumers, was undisputed among participants at the «Urban Blockchain Summit» in Bern. «Blockchain is not only a hype. There is hope that it will serve as a sustainable solution for some real-world problems», said Bern’s Mayor Alec von Graffenried.

Adjusting regulation to market developments

Participants at the event in Bern discussed possible blockchain use cases such as self-consumption communities, transparency in renewable power consumption, ticketing systems in public transport or autonomous vehicles. Startups and companies from all over Europe presented market-ready blockchain solutions. Yet it also became clear that blockchain technology is still in its infancy. In terms of regulation, this means first observing evolutions in the market, on the basis of which to deduce the necessity for and the more precise nature of regulatory measures, said Matthias Galus, Head of the Digital Innovation Office at the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

Cooperation is key

When developing blockchain applications, customer requirements must take centre stage, said Daniel Schafer, CEO of Energie Wasser Bern. He also underlined the importance of cooperation: «When it comes to blockchain technology, we must all work together: utilities, other municipal players, industrial players and all others who are able to contribute – nobody stands to win from everyone working away at their own solution.»