German automaker Porsche is seeking founders and startups in the blockchain industry to participate in a contest as it seeks to explore blockchain solutions for the company.
Announced this month, the Porsche Innovation Contest is luring developers and startups in the blockchain space with prize money and possible participation in an accelerator program. It is the first clear indicator of the sports car manufacturer’s interest in the innovative technology. Notably, the path taken by the auto manufacturer is to engage startups in the industry rather than the path taken by other industry giants in opting for technology partners or joining blockchain consortia like R3.
In statements, the company said:
Porsche aims to obtain external input on the disruptive potential of the blockchain transaction system by collaborating with the start-up scene. The central question is to what extent the application of this technology in the value creation chain of the company makes sense. Moreover, other forms of potential long-term collaboration will be investigated.
Applicants stand the chance to win EUR 25,000 in prize money and be included in SpinLab, a Porsche-backed accelerator based in Leipzig, a city that is also home to a Porsche plant. The accelerator program lasts three months and participants could see close collaboration with the Porsche plant in Leipzig. Applicants have until May 15, 2017 to submit their applications.
Porsche is the second German automaker to invest and research blockchain applications after Mercedes Benz Maker Daimler joined the Hyperledger blockchain project as a premium member this year.
Earlier in January, Daimler acquired PayCash Europe SA, a Luxembourg-based digital payments platform that facilitates a number of payment options, including bitcoin around Europe. The acquisition was markedly a strategic move by Daimler to enter the digital payments space, eventually leading to the launch of ‘Mercedes pay”, its own payment services platform.
Going back to mid-2016, Toyota Financial Services, the financial subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Corporation joined R3 to become the first automotive financial services provider to publicly reveal its interest in the technology. Toyota’s aim is to introduce blockchain solutions in the auto finance industry to increase efficiency and lower costs with more transparent financing options for customers.
However, blockchain’s applicability in the auto industry could scale beyond finance, according to Toyota FS chief executive Chris Ballinger.
He stated at the time:
[W]e believe additional applications of the technology in auto manufacturing and sales will benefit our customers by making mobility more affordable and available.
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