One of the largest power providers in Japan, Chubu Electric Power Co. has announced today the launch of a proof-of-concept of a novel protocol. The idea behind the protocol is to cut costs for bitcoin users with Lightning platform. The PoC lets a customer with an e-vehicle to pay for charging their means of transport using Lightning network. The provider already posted a demo video of how a Lightning payment is sent to an e-vehicle charger with the latter turning on upon the payment reception and starting the charge-up.
The test is part of the company's "market research" into how bitcoin could power its IoT needs though it [company] doesn't yet have any official plans to accept Lightning payments from customers. Since the electricity charge is small, [Lightning's] necessary to reduce the fees for using public blockchains.
Senior manager, Chubu Electric Power Co.
The electric company partnered with a local Bitcoin and IoT startup Nayuta. The startup specializes in Lightning network payments. The demo test was conducted on a closed test network with dummy bitcoins, and it was a success. Nayuta representative suggested such payments be established at ordinary parking lots so that users can use Lightning bitcoin payments to charge their car. Currently, Nayuta is occupied with making sure its software is compatible with Lightning Network other 3 implementations.
This test is a signal of something larger - an enterprise interest in using bitcoin to deliver IoT payments in a cost-effective manner with Lightning. For IoT and blockchain applications, real-time payments are needed. We showed that second layer payments can be the solution.