A decade ago, the thought of self-driving cars was far from reality, but with 2020 looming large, massive strides have been made in the field of autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, in the space of a decade, Bitcoin has thrust cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology into the mainstream consciousness. The latter has become a tool that is quickly being integrated into the world of finance, governance, logistics as well as the motor industry.
Some of the world’s leading automobile companies have been exploring the applications of blockchain technology and how it can be used to improve vehicles, the systems that operate them as well as how they interact with the world around them.So how is blockchain being used to drive the development of autonomous vehicles around the globe?
As recently as August 2019, Daimler carried out a test run in which trucks made machine-to-machine payments using a blockchain platform without any human interaction. Frankfurt-based bank and financial services firm Commerzbank tested payments between the trucks and electronic charging points, which were settled using the blockchain technology.
The banking firm tokenized euros, which were then used by Daimler to test and process the payments using the pilot platform. The success of the project could be a potential driver for the use of blockchain technology to facilitate settlement systems for autonomous vehicles.
While this is the latest instance of blockchain-powered autonomous vehicle interaction, there have been a number of major projects that are leveraging blockchain technology to store and use vehicle data.
Back in May 2018, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) was launched by a joint venture made up of over 30 companies, headlined by major automobile companies BMW, General Motors, Ford and Renault.
The principal work of the project was the creation of the MOBI Vehicle Identity Standard, which is looking to create a blockchain-based database for Vehicle Identity Numbers, which goes further than the current system that is used to register newly created vehicles.
By storing data on a blockchain, digital certificates for information including vehicle identity, ownership, warranties and current mileage can be securely stored in an electronic wallet. This data will be immutably stored on the blockchain and cryptographically verified. The vehicle can then communicate with various networks and pay for parking or tolls autonomously.
The data of the vehicle can only be accessed by permissioned parties. This would then allow service providers and government entities to verify credentials and track certain data in real time. This connection with the world around the vehicle will also allow for digital currency transactions to happen autonomously in a cryptographically secure network.
It is an ambitious project but it is easy to see the benefits for the industry. A shared but secure database of vehicles that can interact with the world in real time could be useful to a number of industries, from dealerships and service departments to vehicle insurance companies.
Aside from its involvement in MOBI, GM has been making its own moves to use blockchain technology. In December 2018, the company filed a patent for a blockchain-powered solution to manage data from autonomous vehicles.
The patent builds on an original filing back in 2017 and sets out in detail how the platform would work, allowing the distribution and communication of data between autonomous vehicles and services and facilities on roadways or in cities.
GM’s patent suggests that a blockchain system would be best suited for this type of information sharing. The range of data shared would be anything from navigation, charging and refueling services, validity of licenses as well as recording balances for payable services like tolls and parking.
The American vehicle manufacturer isn’t the only company looking to develop technology in this vein. Multinational IT giant IBM is well known for filing patents for future blockchain-based projects, and it has made some big moves in the field of autonomous vehicles as well.
In April 2019 the company filed a patent for a project that would allow it to manage data and interactions for self-driving vehicles using blockchain tech. This specific patent outlines technology that would allow autonomous vehicles to identify nonautonomous vehicles around it and predict their behaviour based on data from those vehicles’ driving record.
When making use of the blockchain technology, other users data remains secure, but autonomous vehicles can access the information in order to improve their navigation on the road. Only authorized parties would be able to access this data in real time, because it is cryptographically secure.
A practical example would be an autonomous vehicle driving on a highway. As it progresses, it can scan the license plates of nearby vehicles with sensors in order to access the necessary data using a blockchain-based application.
Payment solutions for autonomous vehicles
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have proven their worth as disruptive payment alternatives, and this very application is one that is being actively developed for use by autonomous vehicles.
In July 2019, Daimler announced that it had partnered with a blockchain startup to develop a hardware wallet solution for vehicles. The solution is a blockchain-based platform that would allow for the use of vehicle identities to process secure transactions on a blockchain ledger.
The end goal is to provide a software solution that will power a marketplace for vehicles that goes further than just autonomously paying for tolls or parking. The platform could be used for ride-sharing and secure exchange of traffic information to alleviate congestion.
The applications of blockchain technology are seemingly endless, and creative ideas have led to some ingenious use cases. For example, in May 2019, a research project was announced involving Honda and General Motors that would look into the interoperability between electric vehicles and smart power grids. The project is working under the scope of the aforementioned MOBI consortium.
The project will explore the possibility of using electric vehicles to stabilize the supply of energy in smart grids. The parties hope to develop a platform that will see electric vehicle users earn rewards for storing power and exchanging it with the grid when needed.
An academic perspective
The examples of blockchain’s use cases in the development of autonomous vehicles and the improvement of their processes is clear to see. Alejandro Ranchal-Pedrosa, a researcher in blockchain technologies at the University of Sydney, has done significant research in the space.
Having co-authored a published use-case paper on blockchain technology for autonomous vehicles, the researcher told Cointelegraph that the applications of the technology in the automotive industry are plain to see, from payments per transport or unit of fuel, data-sharing for traffic and better transport to insurance.
Ranchal-Pedrosa believes there is one major hurdle to overcome in the use of blockchain tech in autonomous vehicles:
“It is understandable that the industry is taking its time, mainly, in my opinion, due to the scalability problem of blockchains and the latency requirement for autonomous vehicles which is why in most cases the automobile industry would leverage offchain protocols, when possible. We showed how offchain protocols and its fully trustless exchange of infinitesimally fragmentable goods give the possibility of new applications to the industry.”
It is difficult to identify the most beneficial use case of blockchain technology considering the massive potential and variety of possible uses. Various industries will tailor the technology to serve their greatest needs, but Ranchal-Pedrosa believes the most popular use case in the field of autonomous transport will be for transactional exchanges:
“The biggest influence is without any doubt towards the possibility of exchange of goods on-the-go, in a trustless manner. Insurance companies may or may not find blockchain technologies as the best fit for their services, but trustless exchange of transport (sort of a carpool in which you can sign a contract with literally anybody to pay per kilometer), fuel, or any other product/service seems to me like a perfect fit for the current industry, and especially the future autonomous vehicles and machine to machine communications.”
Marshal Lion expands to China
Marshal Lion Group is a company that dared to transfer its achievements in fiat finance to the blockchain platform. The company has been operating since 2015 in the non-bank lending market. During this time, more than 10 thousand satisfied customers made up the company’s portfolio. But there could have been even more of them, if not the well-known problems: the need for guarantees, intermediaries, the involvement of third parties, lengthy coordination and clarification.
Marshal Lion Group found a solution for these problems – this is blockchain. Everything is transparent, fast, and therefore cheap. With the use of the blockchain platform, the Marshal Lion Group provides loan requirements for enterprises, individuals, private and public sector. Blockchain opens up new opportunities for customers, without new risks to the company. Decision time is reduced many times. Time-consuming processes are automated by smart contracts. Blockchain is used in three main areas of work according to the B2B model:
Private sector, with loans for a period of a month to 6 months;
Public sector, loans for 3 to 6 months;
Hybrid loans – loans for 1 to 6 months.
An innovative solution on the blockchain expands the area of the Marshal Lion Group. Therefore, its own MLGC token has been launched. The token allows investors to participate in the company’s business and receive up to 50% of the profits from the sale of its products. 1.25% of tokens are directed to the airdrop – 120 tokens per participant (about $30)
Furor in the Middle Kingdom
The business visit of Marshal Lion Group management to China is justified in many respects. China is the second economy; Chinese business is known for large investments around the world. The blockchain community is also largely formed by the citizens of the Middle Kingdom. The presentation of the Marshal Lion Group project for the largest players in China’s cryptocurrency market hit like a bombshell.
Obviously, the Chinese did not expect this from a European country. Meetings at the largest ICA and ICF funds ultimately resulted in ICA co-founder Jason Hung became an adviser to the Marshal Lion Group (MLGC) project.
Here is his opinion,
In the Middle Kingdom, the Marshal Lion Group also held fruitful meetings with the management of large exchanges, such as OKEx, BitForex, IDAX. In fact, this means that the MLGC token listing issue is no longer a problem.
Blockchain PR — The Untold Story
The lives of marketers were beautiful until blockchain PR came.
From running a marketing campaign without intense time pressure and insane competition, to releasing a few PR articles on a daily basis, focusing on dozens of different social media platforms and communities. All of this while looking for ways to overcome the lack of confidence people have in blockchain projects.
In this article, I will tell you the untold story of how traditional PR shifted to online marketing and how the blockchain industry required its own unique strategy.
Over the last three years, I have worked with dozens of blockchain companies helping them to raise millions of dollars and successfully complete their ICO/IEO/STO.
Traditional PR was used before the internet era. A few examples of traditional PR would be: word of mouth, telemarketers, radio, television ads, posters, banners, etc…
Nowadays, traditional marketing refers to any type of promotion that has a proven success rate.
Even with traditional PR seeing a decline in the last few years, it’s still a great way for companies to reach their local audience, whilst allowing larger businesses to expand their brand.
The internet opened new ways for PR agencies to promote their clients on a scale they couldn’t imagine before.
Companies could display ads at the houses of the clients, inside their computers.
Sites like Google and Facebook built great platforms for marketers to promote their clients and run measurable ad campaigns.
For the first time in history, a business could know that there’s a high chance of receiving a $1.2 return, on a $1 investment.
In the traditional PR world, nothing is guaranteed.
You could pay $100k for a commercial on TV that will get you no sales, and another commercial could generate $300k in returns.
The uncertainty and the high costs of traditional PR made many businesses avoid the risks and high costs that are involved. That’s why digital PR became so popular. Many businesses who would never imagine of investing in traditional PR, suddenly started running ads campaigns on Google and Facebook.
With the rise of cryptocurrencies, many new projects joined the blockchain ecosystem. The way ICOs fundraising was designed was that each project had a limited amount of time to raise funds.
The high competition, time pressures and the ban by social media helped to shape a new PR approach: Blockchain PR.
When I first got into blockchain I immediately noticed how digital PR is not 100% suitable for this industry.
It felt like a combination of traditional and digital PR.
Companies try to target many different social media platforms, but because of insane time pressure, they couldn’t measure the impact of their campaigns.
Blockchain companies have spent enormous amounts on marketing with the sole purpose of creating a lot of buzz in the crypto community and with the hope that it will drive investors into their ICO/IEO/STO.
Companies were producing poor content that gave no value to the readers. The majority of the companies didn’t reach their fundraising target. After many ICOs fooled their investors and disappeared with the money the ICO bubble burst.
Those actions destroyed the confidence of investors in blockchain projects.
That’s when I saw an opportunity.
I began working on developing unique ways to run effective blockchain PR campaigns and came up with a few conclusions:
Down To Earth:
In Blockchain PR, projects need to stop talking about how great they are and how they will change the world.
Instead, they should be honest with their community and investors, share with them the progress and even difficulties of the project.
One of the advantages of the blockchain world is the number of active communities with crypto enthusiasts.
On Steemit, Reddit, and BitcoinTalk companies can find thousands of potential investors and people who might care about their company.
The goal is to know how to push content Blockchain PR articles in those communities in a way which wouldn’t be considered spam, whilst giving value to the community members.
Many blockchain companies fail because of a lack of understanding when it comes to SEO.
When a company spends high amounts on PR they should think about three things:
- Does this content have a chance to be ranked? If so, in which search term?
- Does this content help my company to grow its brand?
- Does the content give value to the readers? If so, are they likely to share it?
Keep In Mind That
Marketing is expensive and your budget is not endless.
When you involve SEO strategy in your blockchain PR, you increase the chance that your content will drive traffic to your site weeks/months after the article was published.
BitMart Lists BEP2 Token – Agora VOTE
BitMart, a premier global digital asset trading platform, recently announced the listing of Agora VOTE. VOTE/BTC and VOTE/ETH trading pairs will be available starting from Aug 23.
Agora is a blockchain-based voting ecosystem that ensures security, end-to-end verifiability, and support for new devices. By creating an immutable and publicly viewable digital record of elections, Agora’s technology allows governments and organizations to eradicate fraud and corruption, reduce cost and engage voters in a modern, convenient and fairway.
VOTE is the native token of the Agora ecosystem. It incentivizes citizens and selected organizations to contribute to a secure and transparent election process by acting as authenticators of elections worldwide. The community consists of two types of operators- Consensus Nodes and Citizen Auditor Nodes, ensuring a fair and transparent voting mechanism.
Leonardo Gammar, CEO of Agora, said,
“Bitmart is a fast-growing exchange led by innovators and backed by a solid tech team. The partnership of exclusively listing our token as the first BEP2 token on their exchange will undoubtedly bring more benefits to the users of both parties in terms of community construction and ecology governance”
Sheldon Xia, founder, and CEO of BitMart, stated,
“We are delighted to list Agora VOTE on our exchange. As a centralized exchange, the partnership with a decentralized platform will surely provide better liquidity as well as user experience.”
Agora is a decentralized digital voting ecosystem based on blockchain technology that ensures security, end-to-end verifiability, and support for new devices. Agora built a consensus mechanism designed for the purpose of voting with 0 financial incentive, a permission infrastructure, a permission-less infrastructure, a voting Dapp, a supply chain ballot tracking Dapp, an expenses tracking Dapp, a Dapp for officials to help our clients (governments, institutions, communities) to organize their election and movement of staff.
To learn more about Agora, visit their Website, Medium, Twitter or join their Telegram.
BitMart is a premier global digital asset trading platform, ranking among the top 5 crypto exchanges on CoinMarketCap. Officially launched on March 15, 2018, BitMart currently has over 850,000 registered users, with a daily trading volume of about 500 million US dollars.
To learn more about BitMart, visit their Website, Twitter or join their Telegram.