Major automotive companies are getting in on the blockchain hype train to bring the distributed data technology to your car.
Some of you may be asking what business the technology that underpins crypto-currencies like Bitcoin has in your car. A very astute question, one for which MOBI, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, does not have a clear answer for. Ostensibly they say that it will increase security and privacy with driver’s data by distributing it to everywhere at once. How this makes things better for security is beyond this publication’s scope.
But some of the biggest names in the automotive business are jumping on board, such as Ford, BMW, Renault, and GM, so it has to be good for something. Even tech giants like Bosch and IBM are in on the MOBI alliance to unlock the potential of blockchain technology in the upcoming sharing vehicular economy.
In case you don’t have a friend who has already explained at length how blockchains work (even after you’ve asked them to stop), it’s basically a ledger that is distributed to everyone who takes part in the system. In the case of Bitcoin, it’s a ledger that tracks literally every transaction that ever happens. The ledger is given to every bitcoin user and no transactions can take place until the ledger is verified by every user.
For this reason, it is very hard to hack Bitcoin since it would involve hacking every computer on the Bitcoin network. But while this makes Bitcoin almost impossible to hack, it also makes every transaction extremely slow because the entire ledger must be verified whenever you do anything.
As for what a blockchain would mean for cars, so far MOBI seems to think it could be used for everything from transactions on a ride-hailing program to data collected by autonomous cars. It seems doubtful that blockchains will have applications in such a wide variety of uses as MOBI says, but to be fair to them they’re just exploring the technology now. They’ll surely narrow down blockchain’s uses eventually.
In the meantime, all aboard the blockchain train! Choo choo!