Call it blockchain on wheels — the literal kind, as in vehicles, on the road.
News came this week that automotive giants Honda and General Motors (GM) are, according to Nikkei Asian Review, working together on a joint research project that will help gauge the potential of electric vehicles (EVs) to “stabilize the supply of power” used in conjunction with next-generation smart grids. The companies, Nikkei reported, will develop ways to keep data flowing that can track power usage in the grid and by the vehicles. The vehicle owners could ostensibly, and eventually, earn fees for power that, stored in the batteries, could be exchanged with the power grid itself.
The research will take place through what is known as the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), billed as an international consortium of automotive and IT firms. The consortium looks to foster standards within the industries — and the aforementioned joint efforts between Honda and GM are slated to begin this month. There are already 150 companies that participate in MOBI, and some of the marquee names include Ford and BMW.
“This could end up giving EV owners an advantage as their vehicles become revenue streams,” reported the publication. The blockchain could be used to know whether batteries are charging, or discharging their energy.
Separately, South Korean media reported that Seoul, the capital, will debut a blockchain-based citizen card. This is to be tied to ongoing smart city initiatives, as announced at the Korea Future Forum 2019 & Blockchain Tech event.
As said by Mayor Park Won-soon, and reported by Invest In Blockchain, “one of the global issues today is smart city, which uses innovative technology to lead the future society, such as blockchain, Big Data and AI. … We will implement a blockchain-integrated authentication system in Seoul’s citizen card, and expand the base for easy access to various administrative services. We will do our best to enhance citizen’s utilization rate and convenience through linkage with ZeroPay.”
In another example of identity service-focused blockchain initiatives, as has been reported in recent weeks, Microsoft said it would create a decentralized service underpinned by blockchain called ION.
In terms of other blockchain-centric news, blockchain firm Bitfury said it partnered with a financial hub in Kazakhstan, with blockchain projects to span several industries, as has been reported by Cointelegraph. The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and Bitfury will work together on new blockchain projects. Bitfury will launch data centers and support DLT initiatives there.
As noted in this space, several banks, including some of the largest in the world, are working together to develop a digital cash system for settlements that ties in with blockchain. The project is known as “utility settlement” coin, and among the goals is the creation of a system to make clearing and settlement more efficient. Other sources noted the joint efforts of UBS and Clearmatics to develop the system. The banks — spanning Bank of New York Mellon, UBS, Banco Santander and a host of others — are investing $50 million in Fnality, a new entity that will run the project.