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Argentina’s Gas Regulator Greenlights Industry Blockchain Built With RSK Tech

Argentina’s national gas regulator has given Gasnor, a natural gas distributor for two million residents, approval to pilot a smart contract-based certification platform.

Gasnet, a permissioned blockchain platform from IOV Labs and software builder Grupo Sabra, was launched Wednesday with approval from regulator Enargas, according to the firms involved. Running on an enterprise version of the RSK Smart Contract Network, Gasnet is designed to secure and speed Argentina’s chronically delayed gas certification processes.

“When you want to certify a new gas connection for a home or a company today you need to send many documents,” said Grupo Sabra co-founder Pedro Perrota. From technician-consumer agreements to certification paperwork and other documentation, “all those things today in Argentina take a lot of time” to process, Perrota said. Up to three months, in fact.

Not so under Gasnet. In the now-operational consortium network, certification documents and transaction details zip between Gasnor and Enargas, each of whom run a network node. That increases visibility and smooths out otherwise crippling delays, Perrota says, allowing technicians to ultimately bring consumer’s gas services online faster.

“They are basically using the blockchain to certify the different steps,” said IOV Labs CEO Diego Gutierrez. “They’re giving private keys to each one of the professionals involved in the process, so they do the certification work using this shared system.”

Certification is just the beginning, though. IOV Labs and Grupo Sabra say Gasnet’s shared ecosystem can facilitate any number of services. Technician’s credentials, for example, are crucially important, given the dangerous nature of natural gas infrastructure.

But what of an unscrupulous contractor who flees a checkered safety history in Buenos Aires and sets up shop instead in, say, the far smaller town of Salta in the country's north? Under the current system, his track record does not necessarily follow him north, but with Gasnet it would.

“When you have a common database, everyone can see your track record,” Pedro Perrota said.

Gasnet has even bigger goals, too. It wants to become the common database for Argentina’s entire gas distribution ecosystem, for all nine regulated companies, Perrota and Gutierrez said.

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