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Energy Giant BP Says It's Tested 'Internal' Tokens

Energy giant BP would consider partnering with blockchain startups that are doing initial coin offerings, and it’s even tested tokens internally, an executive said Wednesday.

Speaking at the Blockchain Expo in London, Julian Gray, the technology director for BP’s digital innovation organization, voiced a common theme: non-financial enterprises are perhaps more open to open-blockchain innovation that their financial-services counterparts.

Gray said:

“We haven’t done anything with public chains yet. But that doesn’t mean we won’t. We have done proof of concepts using tokens internally, transferring value.”

Inside BP, he said, there’s a lot of education that needs to be done. But there is a handful of people at the company, formerly known as British Petroleum, now who realize that blockchains, even the open kind, are not merely “hacker territory.”

Gray said that while his own innovation department is robustly funded, he is open to working with others that have gone the ICO route.  

“Would we partner with people who are doing this stuff? Yes, I think so,” he said. “Not right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we did.”

The session moderator, Lewis Cohen, a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells, said it was interesting to hear someone from a company like BP say this.

While the financial services industry has shown a lot of resistance to anything having to do with ICOs or public chains, that’s not the case in the wider enterprise world, Cohen said, where he’s found players are more amenable to the token route to funding innovation.

Gray added,

“This technology is out the gate and it’s clearly going somewhere and at some point we will interact with it.”

Speaking to CoinDesk after the panel, Gray said: “I have been looking at this for a long time and I don’t believe in taking the view that ICOs are terrible, like we have heard from many people.

“However, I would stress that is my view – and not necessarily the view of BP,” he said.

BP image via Shutterstock.

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Austrian Energy Group Eyes Blockchain With Vienna Test

Wien Energie, the largest energy supplier in Austria, is testing a range of blockchain use cases in anticipation of building fully-fledged services around them.

“We are testing blockchain-based services in Vienna’s Viertel Zwei and once we have collected enough experience there, we will develop business models and bring them to the market,” Wien Energie’s chief innovation officer, Astrid Schober, told Reuters.

Those offerings could include electric car stations that are connected via the technology, as well as services around land registry and power supply, among others.

Wien Energie has previously trialed blockchain technology in its commodity trading operations, and Schober indicated that the company does not want to be left behind in the technology’s wake.

“If the technology means there are no more intermediaries anymore, it becomes an issue for us, so we are actively looking into other business models,” Schober said. Wien Energie is also part of Enerchain, a consortium of European utility providers that are piloting new trading platforms.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the energy industry has shown a keen interest in integrating blockchain technology.

In late January, for example, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a partnership with blockchain startup BlockCypher to explore peer to peer energy exchanges. Likewise, Shell, BP and others decided to back a blockchain trading platform last year.

Power lines image via Shutterstock

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Shell, BP Among Energy Giants to Back Blockchain Trading Platform

Several major energy firms are partnering on a new blockchain-based trading platform.

BP, Shell and Statoil are backing the platform, which represents the latest application of the tech to the energy space. The consortium of firms built around the platform also includes ING, ABN Amro and Societe Generale, as well as trading firms, Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria.

The idea is that the blockchain-powered platform for energy trading will eventually be open to all market participants. Those involved in the effort say it will controlled by an independent entity, with a plan to be fully operational before the end of 2018.

The energy industry has become more complex as new entities have entered the industry, ING representative Carolien van der Giessen told CoinDesk in an email, explaining:

“Earlier this year another joint initiative among some members of the consortium (ING, Mercuria, and Societe Generale) presented compelling results with what we understand to be the first blockchain prototype test in the sector. The experiment involved an oil cargo shipment containing African crude oil which was on its way to China. The results of the experiment demonstrated that a blockchain based platform can greatly improve the efficiency of certain processes.”

With several of the world’s largest energy suppliers taking part, the hope is it will establish a platform that will attract market participants of all sizes to one platform.

There have been several experiments in using a blockchain to track energy trading, such as one by BP and Eni in gas trading, which Reuters reported this summer. Enel and E.on have also conducted trials using Ponton’s blockchain platform, and o of Australia’s largest electricity providers is currently testing a platform called Power Ledger.

Oil pump image via Shutterstock.

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BP Tech Chief: Blockchain Could Give Company 'Competitive Advantage'

Gas and energy giant BP believes that the use of blockchain could give it an competitive edge in the market, according to its technology head.

Speaking with The Financial Times, head of technology David Eyton struck an optimistic tone amidst work with fellow energy firms Wien Energie and Eni Trading & Shipping, who together with BP have been testing the tech on an energy trading platform developed by Canadian startup BTL. Following the conclusion of a successful trial earlier this year, the firms involved are said to be looking for more participants as part of a broader commercialization drive.

And while Eyton didn’t say whether BP is gearing up to use blockchain on a production scale, he did point to its ability to help clear transactions – a potential boon for one of the biggest companies of its kind.

“There are uses for blockchain that could give us a competitive advantage,” he told the publication. “Blockchain can be much more efficient in terms of speed and verification of transactions.”

Eyton also hinted that BP might wind up applying to tech to other business processes beyond trading, indicating possible uses in the area of inter-company payments settlement in particular.

“In a big company, with lots of different corporate entities, you have to manage financial settlements and reconciliation between different parts of the business,” he told the Financial Times,” adding:

“A lot of that lends itself to blockchain.”

Image via FotograFFF / Shutterstock.com.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].