Argentina’s Natural Gas Infrastructure Moving to Blockchain Technology


South American blockchain firm IOV Labs along with Grupo Sabra have launched their Gasnet blockchain network for Argentina’s natural gas distribution system. Gasnor was the first to greenlight the project but was soon followed by Argentina’s gas regulator Enargas who approved the nationwide deployment of the blockchain solution. 

“We are very excited to assist Gasnor in bringing more transparency and traceability to the gas industry through blockchain technology powered by RSK and RIF platforms, and by doing so to enable a more cost-effective and service experience to its customers,” said Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar, CEO of IOV Labs. 

Gasnor services nearly two million customers in the country but regulators are aiming to bring all nine gas distribution companies in Argentina onto the blockchain platform. The regulator and Gasnor each operate a node on Gasnet. 

“The implementation of the blockchain solution built on top of RSK and RIF and developed by Grupo Sabra is a key milestone for our organization that will enable to streamline our processes, reduce costs, improve time to market and most importantly provide a much better user experience,” said Carlos Amín, CIO of Gasnor. 

Gasnet is built on the permissioned RSK Enterprise blockchain and records all transactions for certification of new gas installations and reconnection of services. It connects customers, gas installers, the big gas distributors and the regulator, Enargas, using a single platform. 

The key goals for the platform are the automation of paper processes and to monitor the quality and safety of 10,000 gas service providers who connect consumers to the gas network.

Gasnet will help companies to record certifications, measure the quality of service providers, and identify problem areas. The solution aims to sideline the traditional process of new gas installations, which currently requires paper-based communication slowing down the process. 

For the regulator, Gasnet will enable better compliance oversight. IOV Labs said Gasnet members are currently in the process of integrating the solution. 

Existing gas service providers will register, verify and implement digital identities on Gasnet using RIF Name Services. RSK developed the RIF Name Service, which enables identification of blockchain addresses by human-readable names. Additionally, new gas service providers can register themselves remotely using the RIF Name Service. 

IOV Labs was formerly RIF Labs and develops solutions based on RSK, a smart contract platform designed to work with Bitcoin, although the Gasnet solution is permissioned. RIFOS aims to add functionality such as storage, communication and gateways. 

There’s an associated RIF (RSK Infrastructure Framework) token, which currently has a market capitalization of $23 million, down by almost 60% in a month, most of it before the Corona Crash. 

Argentina has a thriving blockchain industry, and the government has set up the Blockchain Federal Argentina (BFA). A few weeks ago, the country suspended the company registration blockchain, citing the need for increased regulatory control. 

IOV Labs is also involved in digital identity for inclusion project started by NEC Argentina along with NGO Bitcoin Argentina and IDB Lab.