Bitcoin-inspired adaptive virtual currency for Smart Grids

Bitcoin is an innovative technology, an electronic cash system, and a new kind of money [1]. Some consider it the next digital revolution since the Internet! Numerous companies and organizations around the world are already developing solutions based on the Bitcoin technology. Most notably, Samsung has partnered with IBM to develop a Bitcoin-powered Internet of Things concept [2]. Microsoft is also exploring how the Bitcoin technology can be applied to the world of distributed connected devices [3].

Inspired by this disruptive technology, we started developing NRGcoin – a decentralized digital currency for trading of renewable energy in Smart Grids [4, 5]. Similar to Bitcoin, this currency offers numerous advantages over traditional money, but unlike Bitcoins it is generated by injecting energy into the grid, rather than spending energy on computational resources. Small-scale producers then trade their locally generated green energy using NRGcoin instead of traditional money. The currency also incentivizes consumers to become producers of green energy and empowers families to collectively reduce their carbon footprint.

But is NRGcoin robust enough to be deployed in the real world?

This is where you come into the picture. You will team up with the NRGcoin developers to enhance this first-of-a-kind digital currency for renewable energy with multi-agent learning techniques and adaptive algorithms. Your master thesis research will add intelligence to NRGcoin and will bring it one step closer to tackling the real challenges of the future Smart Grid.

The work on this thesis is flexible - you can choose whether you prefer to tackle the concept more from the theoretical side, studying different algorithms and properties of the currency, or from the practical side, helping deploy this concept in the mini testbed shown on the picture below.


Contact: Mihail Mihaylov (Mike)



[1] S. Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” 2008.

[2] IBM Global Business Services, “Device democracy: Saving the future of the Internet of Things”. Executive Report


[4] M. Mihaylov, S. Jurado, K. Van Moffaert, N. Avellana, and A. Nowé. “NRG-X-Change: a Novel Mechanism for Trading of Renewable Energy in Smart Grids”. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Smart Grids and Green IT Systems, pages 101-106, April 2014.

[5] M. Mihaylov, S. Jurado, K. Van Moffaert, N. Avellana, I. Magrans de Abril, and A. Nowé. "NRGcoin: Virtual currency for trading of renewable energy in smart grids." In IEEE 11th International Conference on the European Energy Market, 2014.