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Blockchain Infrastructure for a Smarter Energy Sector: A Primer on Liability

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Blockchain, Smart Grids, Prosumer, Intermediaries, Contract, Liability.

Smart grids are essential for a more sustainable and reliable energy supply system. They facilitate the integration of decentralized electricity generation and encourage prosumers production. Blockchain technology can support and streamline this process. The application of blockchain to smart grids can help coordinate distributed energy production and promises to enable peer-to-peer transactions through smart contracts. The intersection of smart grids and blockchain ledgers recalibrates the relationships within energy supply systems in favour of a decentralized energy-sharing network. Within this context, whether there is – or should be – a middleman responsible for energy supply is a core issue to investigate. While intermediaries challenge the technological – and philosophical – assumptions of blockchain systems, they also enormously ease the allocation of liability in case of dysfunctions. The main question this paper aims to address is where responsibility and liability stand in a complex system that combines the traditional energy infrastructure with an automated digital grid based on blockchain technology. Different models of blockchain and the impact they have on liability are considered. The article concludes that the energy supply system needs intermediation. Eventually, it explores the concept of «distributed liability» as a means for managing risks in highly decentralized systems.

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