Japan’s third largest utility company tests Lightning Network

Now that the Lightning Network, widely touted as a future game changer for Bitcoin, is in the final phase of beta testing, more and more companies are looking into ways of taking advantage of its technology.

The Chubu Electric Power Company, the third largest electric utility in Japan, a startup Nayuta, and a software company Infoteria have partnered in order to experiment with the possibility of using the Lightning Network to record micropayments for charging electric vehicles and hybrids, reports TechCrunch Japan.

During a test run, Chubu and Nayuta showed how a Lightning payment could be sent to an electric vehicle charger that, once paid, instantly turned on and began to energize a real-life vehicle. The test was successful, although it must be noted they didn’t use real bitcoin but dummy bitcoins on a closed test network.

While the company’s manager said Chubu doesn’t yet have any plans to accept Lightning payments, this test is a signal of larger interest in using bitcoin to deliver IoT payments in a cost-effective manner with the Lightning Network.

The Japanese electricity company hopes a blockchain record of electrical charges and a user-friendly mobile app will make it possible to have a highly reliable charge management system with a small introduction cost. One benefit as a result of the low costs is that an owner of an electric vehicle could install a charging system in their home using this technology.

Although Chubu Electric Power has confirmed the effectiveness of their experiments, they “will continue to develop and experiment to seek for what kind of architecture is the best to apply Lightning Network for IoT.”

As of today, the Lightning Network is almost 87% complete. Despite being incomplete and running on the testnet, over 1,000 wallets have sent and received money using LN. Looking at LN’s progress on GitHub, it’s safe to assume that we should see the official release sometime later this year.

Payments on the Lightning Network made already the news recently, when a man bought two pizzas in one of the world’s first documented Bitcoin (BTC) transaction for a physical item using the Lightning Network.

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