Category Archives: SAP

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Ethereum Gives Germans More Energy Choices in 10 Cities

German consumers are getting cheaper energy through an Ethereum-based energy supplier which promises to “bypass the middleman”.

Launched this year, Lition offers its service to 41 million German households in ten cities across the country, promising consumers a 20% saving on their monthly energy bill and offering producers the opportunity to generate up to 30% more profit.

The company, built on the Ethereum blockchain, promises to connect its clients directly with energy suppliers, bypassing intermediaries, the usual energy retailer in conventional supply systems. Lition now boasts 700 users with Berlin, Munich and Hamburg on its supply list.

The company claims to “simplify the legal, operational and economic hurdles for green power producers and allow customers to buy truly green electricity at an affordable price”. What this actually means for customers is that they are given more options. Multinational suppliers can be cut out of the equation completely, maintains Lition CEO Richard Lohwasser:

“Our energy exchange connects customers and producers directly. Producers put their energy on the exchange and then customers can buy it… Usually buying directly from producers is limited to energy suppliers that are big corporations. We’re bringing the exchange to the consumer, so consumers can pay for the energy they want.”

The downside for Lohwasser is Ethereum itself, which he sees as far too slow. He argues that customers view its use with a degree of skepticism due to the uncomfortable juxtaposition of two polar factors within one company; one that promotes renewable energy while at the same time using a system which, many argue, drains it. Lohwasser said that Lition researchers studied a number of alternative blockchains when setting up the company but were unable to find one which had Ethereum’s permissionless and scalable attributes.

They finally partnered with German-based multinational software corporation SAP and built a tailor-made hybrid blockchain system in order to incorporate what the company saw as the best of all the available models. The company’s next step is to launch its own ICO later in the year.

In other news from Germany, AG Siemens has announced that it will invest USD 681 million into a center for the study and development of blockchain, artificial intelligence and other innovative technologies. The German giant has planned to use Berlin as the site for what it will call SiemensStadt (Siemens City) on a 70-hectare site in an industrial zone in the suburb of Spandau.


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SAP Developing Blockchain Logistics Solutions

SAP, a leader in enterprise-level software solutions, is looking to expand into the supply chain industry by applying blockchain technology to agricultural supply chains. Its farm-to-consumer program is working alongside companies such as Johnsonville, Naturipe Farms and Maple Leaf. SAP has also partnered up with the Swiss supply chain startup

Issues and needs around the evolving global market

Currently, there is a global push towards improving the transportation of foods and goods around the world. As much as one-third of global fresh fruits and vegetables go to waste because their quality has diminished and is deemed no longer sale-worthy. Food can often be stuck in limbo in the supply chain due to documents being delayed or even lost. With a rapidly growing population and a push for a greener future, this has become simply unacceptable for the industry.

Alongside increasing profits by reducing waste, there is also a growing need for product details among consumers. Consumers are more conscious of products and are wanting to buy in confidence knowing that the item is part of fair-trade and has been ethically sourced. Almost 75% of respondents in a Nielsen global survey said that a brand’s country of origin was one of the most important factors compared with selection or choice, price, function, and quality. When it comes to food and beverages, local brands take precedence as spoilage is a primary factor, whereas for long-life products or other goods, consumers prefer global brands.

“For many categories, a global brand name is an indicator of quality, safety, and trustworthiness in emerging markets,” noted the report.

SAP among many in a movement towards blockchain logistics

SAP isn’t the first to explore blockchain logistics solutions. Mastercard is currently working on its Blockchain and Authorization Network which sets out to provide proof of provenance for goods with the ability to track items as they are created, transferred, purchased and resold, to prevent fraud. Recently, an Ethereum-based supply chain was used to track a Yellowfin tuna from the waters off Fiji to a conference where it was served as sushi. Samsung and IBM are already investing in blockchain solutions to manage shipping to streamline imports and exports.

SAP’s project lead, Torsten Zube, believes blockchain has the ability to update current food industry production models to a more streamlined, profitable iteration.

“If enterprises can access the complete version of product history,” he explained, “this could result in a shift from a central unilateral supplier-led production to a consumer demand-led supply organized by a consortium of peers.”


Image source: Flicker – William Murphy – Farmers’ Market Meeting House Square

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