Daimler and Riddle&Code have partnered to produce a blockchain hardware wallet for cars
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Daimler and blockchain firm Riddle&Code have partnered to produce a blockchain hardware wallet for automobiles, which was presented at Startup Autobahn in Stuttgart, Germany.
The wallet is a tamper-resistant box, powered by Riddle&Code hardware and software, that can be installed in a vehicle to create a cryptographic identity for the vehicle; the wallet encrypts, signs, and attests to data collected from the car and surrounding infrastructure. The box has multiple use cases, including to track maintenance, pay for tolls, and execute smart contracts for rental cars.
The hardware wallet is just a part of Daimler's larger strategy to leverage blockchain in its business.
- Daimler tapped blockchain to streamline its corporate fundraising. In June 2017, the company successfully utilized blockchain to issue a German bond worth €100 million ($111 million) to boost efficiency in its corporate financing. While discussing the bond issuance, Kurt Schäfer, head of treasury at Daimler, said blockchain "provides for greater transparency and also reduces the administrative burden. Each of the three phases of an issuance - preparation, marketing and implementation - is set to benefit from digitization."
- The company is also using the technology to gain insights into its supply chains.Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz announced in February 2019 that it was trialing blockchain in its supply chain to improve transparency beyond its direct suppliers, such as by tracing raw materials to ensure they are ethically sourced. Harry Behrens, head of the blockchain factory at Daimler Financial Services, said "blockchain can open up billions worth of new markets - markets which we couldn't even imagine existing today." Daimler's hardware wallet project will likely play a central part in opening new markets for Daimler as it can be implemented in cars bought by consumers and enterprise clients and allow the company to offer a host of blockchain-based services.
The bigger picture: Automakers see blockchain as an opportunity to augment their current business with new services.
Daimler isn't alone in developing blockchain solutions for the automotive industry.Major automakers including BMW, Renault, GM, and Ford are members of the mobility open blockchain initiative (MOBI), a consortium pushing blockchain's use in the mobility industry.
Blockchain is an area of interest among other automakers as it can allow them to derive additional revenue from their vehicles - blockchain could enable the automotive industry to create a global market for extra services of over £90 billion ($112 billion) in the next decade.
The hardware wallet could help Daimler improve its mobility partnership with BMW. In February 2019, Daimler and BMW merged their respective mobility services which included car-sharing ventures.
The merged venture can benefit from the blockchain wallet because it enables the company to keep track of its fleet's health and potentially track users who treat the cars poorly - the wallet can securely record a car's mechanical condition and other telemetric data at the beginning and end of a user's journey, for instance. Additionally, the company will have a way to automatically record maintenance, boosting transparency for users.
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