BMW, Ford, Renault and General Motors want to bring the ‘blockchain’ to your car

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Four of the world’s biggest names in the automotive industry are working together to bring blockchain technology to your car.

BMW, Ford, General Motors and Renault are just a few among the 30 Companies in the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). Included among the original members are IBM, Bosch and Blockchain at Berkeley.

MOBI’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of blockchain and ensure the industry is in agreement with use cases such as autonomous payments to ride-sharing.

Founder and CEO of BKCM Brian Kelly describes the automaker’s effort as “very, very interesting” especially since it adds a new field of interest for tech companies: your car.

“This is a tectonic shift in the tech landscape, that has the potential to disrupt the growth plans of legacy tech into the auto,” Kelly said in a letter to clients Wednesday.

The biggest names in tech, namely Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, have already started developing connected cars. Amazon has particularly expanded its virtual assistant Alexa’s presence to autos. Microsoft’s cloud computing service, Azure, now has a car system and Apple offers Carplay for iOS. Meanwhile Google parent Alphabet is developing an autonomous-driving car via its subsidiary Waymo.

For Kelly, the most important part of these initiatives is data.

“MOBI is doing the end around and making that data self-sovereign and giving the consumer the control over their data property rights,” he said.

Blockchain technology is known as that “decentralized” ledger that forms as the core technology for cryptocurrencies. Blockchain advocates dub the technology as “unhackable”. In order to alter information on the blockchain, criminals would have to hack into multiple systems, making it almost “tamper-proof”.

However, others are simply not impressed with it just yet. Nouriel Roubini, known as “Mr. Doom”, called blockchain “one of the most overhyped technologies ever” in his recent writeup.

Although there are countless uses for the technology, it was first applied to cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin. Bitcoin went up to more than 1,300% before losing nearly half of its value in the first quarter of 2018, according to CoinDesk.

The MOBI group is led by Chris Ballinger who resigned from his role as CFO and head of mobility services at Toyota Research Institute last month.

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