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Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) as a disrupter of retail markets

Home > Policy & Governance > Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) as a disrupter of retail markets

April 2018 to March 2023

Project team

David Shipworth

Michael Fell

This project is looking at how DLT enabled retail markets impact on UK government policy objectives.

Distributed ledgers as a disruptor of retail markets

Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) such as blockchain are contributing to disruption of retail markets across many sectors – with energy being no exception. There is substantial innovation around models such as peer-to-peer trading, where neighbours can sell electricity directly to each other. This CREDS project is exploring what the implications of a transition towards such models could be for people and society. We are using a realist review approach to identify and synthesise evidence from research in the energy and other sectors in order to better anticipate what impacts could come about, how, and who might stand to gain or lose.

What we are asking

  • What could be the implications for energy policy outcomes of a transition towards distributed ledger technology-enabled retails markets?
  • What sorts of retail market might DLTs enable, and what are their likely characteristics?
  • What are the possible social (and potentially environmental/system) impacts associated with different market types and characteristics?
  • What are the mechanisms by which such impacts might come about?
  • Which contextual factors might determine whether impacts come about, and who wins/loses?
  • What policy measures could be employed to maximise benefits while minimizing harm?

Banner photo credit: Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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