New research suggests that if households were to use Blockchain based smart plugs, the technology behind Bitcoin virtual currency, household energy costs could be dramatically reduced.
Blockchain technology is the automatic ledger that underpins Bitcoin, tracking where the coins are being spent and swapped.
Working within the Internet of things, the plug prototype works with other gadgets in the household which monitor power use. When demand is low or high it searches for energy prices and switches to a cheaper source if one is available.
The technology team at Accenture has modified the original Bitcoin Blockchain in order to make it more active, now instead of resolving and confirming transaction records the adjustment enables it to negotiate better deals on behalf of its owner. Being able to switch between suppliers could save people on lower incomes more than £660m in the UK annually.
Martin Garner, mobile services expert at the analyst firm CCS Insight, told the BBC that Blockchains were starting to crop up in many different areas including share trading, fishing rights databases and land registry claims.
They had two chief attractions for the Internet of Things, he said.
“They avoid dependence on any one supplier or ecosystem – some users have concerns about the potential dominance of key internet players creating, for example, the Google-of-Things or the Amazon-of-Things,” he said.
“The second attraction is as a way of enabling autonomous trading between things, such as the appliances in your house being set up to re-order supplies from a pre-approved list of suppliers,” he added.