US Energy Department to Invest in Blockchain Technology as New Security Measure

The U.S. Department of Energy is exploring blockchain technology as a new defence measure against cyberattacks in phase two of a nationwide project to upgrade power plant security.

Blockchain is a system that allows transactions to be made in cryptocurrency, maintained across several computers or servers. By decentralisation the cybersecurity concerns and only being linked to a peer – peer network. Blockchain technology makes it much harder to hack into than standard cyber security measures.

It was announced recently by the department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) that development in the electric grid security project will focus on decentralised cybersecurity. Startup company Taekion, specialising in this field has been granted $1 million last year in R&D incentives and now will be focusing on researching how blockchain technology can be implemented as a new line of defence.

The NETL said: “The applications being developed in the NETL-managed project have the potential to thwart such attacks by preventing hackers from altering the plant’s operational information.”

A cyberattack on a power plant in Ukraine in 2016 has shown. The severity of such attacks as it resulted in power outages around the country. Such technology to prevent attacks like this are still in the early stages of development. Projects funded by the Department exploring this technology is funded by the department’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

This is not the first time the NETL has invested in research to explore the potential of blockchain energy for technological improvements in the security between power plants and grids within the nation. In 2017, they partnered with another technological company to explore using blockchain in higher security between transactions.

It has also been announced universities will receive fundings of up to $4.8 million for working on R&D blockchain projects.

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