Blockchain is a technology that previously was predominantly cited in conjunction with cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. However it can serve as the foundation for significantly more applications, even applications beyond the finance industry. Ultimately this technology should provide more security and transparency, and make central instances, such as banks, notaries, or energy companies, superfluous.

"Blockchain is […] a decentralized protocol for transactions between parties that captures each change transparently“ Maik Klotz

In simple terms, the blockchain is a database that is not located centrally on a server in a company, but rather is distributed over many computers. This database does not belong to anybody and there is no central administrator. The information items that are stored block-by-block in the database are referred to as transactions. Each block is verified and sealed by the participants in a complex process, to exclude the possibility of subsequent manipulation. Transactions in the block chain are not only unchangeable, they can also be traced by anyone at any time. Therefore the blockchain is particularly well-suited for financial transactions, but also for contracts or documents.

In terms practical application currently the technology is receiving great attention in the energy sector. Initial pilot projects deal with the possibility of using the blockchain for public charging and billing transactions for electric vehicles, or in conjunction with the direct trading of power between generators and consumers via "smart contracts".

Like any technology that is still in its infancy, naturally the blockchain also has its strengths and weaknesses. BICCnet is critically following the further development of this technology and its application possibilities, and is looking at legal, political, as well as economic boundary conditions.

Sascha Stöppelkamp