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Japan's Third Largest Electric Provider Explores Cryptocurrency Payments


Chubu Electric Power, which is ranked third among Japan's electric utilities providers, is exploring cryptocurrencies as a payment option.

The company has entered a proof-of-concept with a local startup Nayuta to explore making bitcoin payments via the Lightning Network, which promises scalable and instant Bitcoin/blockchain transactions, blockchain news website Coindesk reported Tuesday.

The Lightning Network describes itself as a decentralized network which uses smart contract functionality in the blockchain to enable instant payments across a network of participants. It is essentially a second layer payment protocol on a blockchain and addresses the bitcoin scalability problem.

Chubu Electric is reportedly using the Lightning Network to prototype a new option for customers to pay for charging an electric vehicle.

Both companies have demonstrated how a Lightning payment could be sent to an electric vehicle. Mobile solutions provider Infoteria also took part in the deal by developing the mobile app.

Earlier this month, the Japanese daily Chunichi Shimbun reported that Chubu Electric was developing a mobile payment app for virtual currencies. The company started testing it in-house allowing employees to purchase coffee using cryptocurrencies.

The company intends to use the app to allow individuals to easily sell and purchase excess energy generated on their solar panels at home.

Chubu Electric issued its own cryptocurrency "Cafe Ene Coin", a single coin of which is worth $1. The money can be used to buy coffee.

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