Big things are happening over in Zuffenhausen, Germany, headquarters of Porsche.
According to a Porsche press release, the automobile powerhouse is making a major push towards integrating blockchain technology into its cars.
In a partnership with XAIN, a tech startup located in Berlin, Porsche is reportedly working on developing blockchain applications with its cars. Things like locking and unlocking a vehicle, parking, or even enterprise usage such as loaning out the company car to an employee are all made easier by way of the blockchain.
Especially useful is the fact that blockchains are essentially public ledgers. Because all transactions (in this case, actions involving the vehicle) are recorded in an immutable ledger, gathering data about driver behavior and vehicle performance will be much easier to track.
Car owners would theoretically be able to monitor who accessed their vehicle, by whom and when. This could play a major factor in expanding the "sharing" economy which has exploded over the past few years.
Furthermore, it opens up a world of possibilities with P2P transactions between vehicle owners. Instead of using a credit card to refill their gas tank or recharge their car battery, drivers could send each other the equivalent of "PorscheCoins," to pitch in for a night out on the town.
By integrating their cars with the blockchain, Porsche also capitalizes on the "blockchain mania" sweeping the world. Film giant Kodak recently rented out their name to KodakCoin “a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.”
After Kodak made their announcement, their stock price tripled. At the time of this writing, it has since leveled off to merely double its price before the announcement. Not bad for a company that had appeared to lose all relevancy in a rapidly-advancing world of technology.
Another interesting example is The Long Island Ice Tea Company. Their stock price doubled after announcing that it was changing it's name to Long Blockchain, drastically changing their business model overnight.
While this move by Porsche seems genuine and not a ploy to woo investors, it will doubtless have the effect of exciting them nonetheless. Porsche has not announced their own digital currency yet, nor even hinted at it - but the temptation to cash in on "crypto mania" may prove to be too great for the German automaker.
The real question is: who is this XAIN company, and how did they secure the deal with Porsche to manage their blockchain division in the first place?
A closer look reveals that XAIN won the blockchain-centric "Porsche Innovation Contest" in summer 2017, placing first out of one hundred contestants. After the contest, teams from different departments within Porsche worked together with XAIN to develop apps that intergrated with the cars' computer systems.
The founders of XAIN, Leif-Nissen Lundbaek and Felix Hahmann, got their start in the automotive industry. Their pedigree includes working with the University of Oxford and Imperial College London on a blockchain system which reduces the electricity-consumption of cryptocurrency mining. One could imagine how that would come in handy when integrating blockchain-based apps in automobiles. Especially high-performance vehicles like those produced by Porsche.
Featured image from Shutterstock.