In an exclusive report to CoinDesk, Chubu Electric Co. has announced that it has entered into a partnership with a Japanese local Bitcoin and Internet of Things venture, Nayuta, to explore how Bitcoin payments can be made using the lightning network. The developments place Chubu as one of the largest companies in the world to try the new Bitcoin payment technology – that promises to cut costs and improve efficiency. Chubu is currently using lightning as a prototype that allows its customers to pay to charge an electric vehicle.
In a demo of how the prototype works, Chubu and Nayuta demonstrated how the lightning payment can be sent to an electric vehicle charger which, once paid, instantly turns on and starts to energize a real-life vehicle.
Chubu Electric Power Co. Senior Manager Hidehiro Ichikawa said that the current test is part of his company’s wider market research into how Bitcoin could be used to power its Internet of Things needs. He noted, however, that the company doesn’t yet have any plans to accept lightning payments from the customers.
Chubu’s case resonates with other companies who are enthusiastic about cryptocurrencies but end up being frustrated by their current capabilities. Chubu has been carrying out several experiments using Bitcoin, but has realized that blockchain isn’t cheap as is depicted.
Since the electricity charge is small, Lightning’s necessary to reduce the fees for using public blockchains,
-Said Ichikawa to CoinDesk.
For his part, Nayuta CEO Kenichi Kurimoto is optimistic that the current test is a positive move in the industry and signifies that big companies are interested in using Bitcoin to deliver IoT payments in a more effective and cheaper manner, utilizing the lightning technology. He said,
For IoT and blockchain applications, real-time payments are needed. We showed that second layer payments can be the solution,
What’s the Impact and Outlook?
Although the test replicates others that have taken place on other blockchains, this one is notable due to the size and scope of the company involved, Chubu, and the resilient commitment of the parties involved.
According to Ichikawa, the experiment is still young and is a proof of concept and, thus, he is adamant of more details like the resources committed by the company towards the project and how the project may impact Chubu and the industry going forward.
However, Nayuta has indicated that it has dedicated its entire business to continuing the exploration.
We will continue to develop and experiment to seek for what kind of architecture is the best to apply Lightning Network for IoT,
The CEO says that Nayuta is working hard to ensure its software is compatible with three other major lightning software implementations that are currently in use. In the future, Kurimoto says that his company will put more emphasis on enterprise applications of the technology.
What’s your take on Chubu’s efforts to use lightning technology for Bitcoin payments? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.