European utilities Enel and E.On say they have traded electricity for the first time via a new marketplace that uses blockchain technology.

The two companies said that the trade was “a significant milestone” in their long-term plan to create a decentralised European energy trading marketplace using blockchains, the technology that underpins digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

E.On says that it first tested decentralised energy wholesale trading in 2016 at its Future Lab, using a peer-to-peer network developed by IT specialist Ponton. In 2017, E.On and several European partners founded the ‘Enerchain’ initiative, which is aiming to establish a European-wide decentralised trading platform.

Blockchain technology creates a digital ledger that records and continually reconciles transactions such as trades across a distributed network. These records are available to anyone with access to that network, and therefore eliminate the need for central oversight of power trades, for example, and for intermediaries.

Blockchain technology could therefore reduce the cost of procuring power, E.On says.

Matthew Timms, Chief Digital Officer of E.On, said: “The Enerchain initiative is a good example of open, cross-industry collaboration. We all believe in the enormous potential that Blockchain technology has for the new energy world and especially for our customers.”