Getting on the blockchain? Not much to do

Author: Xiao Cheng Yi

Source: Future Car Daily

Lin Lin has worked in the blockchain industry for 3 years, but still feels that "the blockchain is useless" in the current travel field.

This is not because the blockchain technology itself is immature, nor is it because car companies do not catch the blockchain. On the contrary, car companies are eager to use the blockchain to open up the big data of the entire automotive industry chain and discover the value of the data.

For example, Volvo and Fordley are using the blockchain to trace the source of raw materials; Daimler and Volkswagen launched a blockchain-based digital currency; Toyota and the MIT Media Lab are exploring the role of blockchain technology in autonomous driving Lifting effect.

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) conducted a survey of 1,500 automotive industry executives in the 2030 Automotive Industry Outlook Executive Survey and found that in their investment plans, blockchain / distributed ledger from 2019 to 2030 Annual investment will always account for more than 4.3%.

Automotive executives' share of digital technologies in the next 10 years Source: IBM Institute for Business Value

"Like the Internet, blockchain technology is also an infrastructure." Du Yu, an automotive blockchain company, deputy general manager and head of the laboratory of Wanxiang Blockchain, said in an exclusive interview with Automotive Focus that blockchain can Make the data of the entire automobile industry chain more transparent and save the cost of information transmission, so that the cost of automobile production enterprises becomes lower.

But these applications do not necessarily have to rely on the blockchain to complete. Han Han, chief engineer of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, said in an interview with First Financial,

"Whether it is in securitization, payment clearing, or supply chain finance, our previous system and implementation plan can also adapt to the development of the business, and it does not necessarily have to be on the blockchain."

How to get on the blockchain? Which links in the automotive industry chain most require the blessing of blockchain technology? These issues have become the focus of exploration by blockchain companies and car companies.

Scenarios of distrust have their uses

The industry generally believes that the "decentralization" and "unchangeable information on the blockchain" of the blockchain can help the automotive industry chain to do data management and transaction execution.

After analyzing more than 40 automotive market and blockchain application cases, Deloitte summarized the three types of blockchain application departure reasons based on the reasons for applying the blockchain, which are:

  • Validation and process improvement: Improve process efficiency throughout the supply chain and back office.
  • Vehicle management and incentive mechanism: improve vehicle information and usage data throughout the industry.
  • Finance, payments and insurance: Improve transaction processes and related information.

In addition, after comprehensive scoring, Deloitte believes that the blockchain application value of carpooling and on-demand travel services is the largest. Scoring is based on factors such as whether the application blockchain is valuable, whether it can solve problems inherent in the industry or enterprise, and whether it is the most suitable solution. The higher the position in the figure, the greater the value.

Value and complexity of blockchain application case groups / ease of implementation Source: Deloitte analysis

"The autonomy of the blockchain can also avoid monopolistic behaviors in the automotive industry, such as online car rental at arbitrary price increases. The scope of application of the blockchain is very wide, but only if it is down-to-earth to achieve the application landing." Wang Yongqiang .

The blockchain was praised as a "trusted machine" by the British financial magazine The Economist. Wang Yongqiang, president of the PP MONEY Blockchain Research Institute and chief technology officer of auto finance, publicly stated last year that “blockchains are useful in scenarios based on distrust,” such as fraud in used car transactions, and auto finance. Second mortgage after the vehicle was mortgaged in the business, and counterfeit and inferior parts in the auto insurance industry flooded.

This trust endorsement function makes the automotive aftermarket consider it a good medicine to break the status quo and innovate.

"Based on data integrity, the foundation for innovation in insurance, leasing, travel, and used car segments." Yang Xiaoyong, the deputy director and secretary general of the Credit Insurance Committee of the Automobile Insurance Association, mentioned in the above forum that the application of blockchain technology is expected to release 4 trillion yuan of service capacity.

Car companies have begun to try to land.

BMW uses blockchain to track trips and maintenance history; Porsche uses blockchain technology to make door unlocking faster; BYD and VeChain partner to build a carbon credits ecosystem; Bosch launches Virtual Smart Key Perfectly Keyless, and you can use a mobile APP Generate a one-time digital key.

Bosch Virtual Smart Key Perfectly Keyless; Source: Bosch official website

"Similar to the electronic password lock for free renting, you can change the password at any time. When the cleaning staff comes to work or the housekeeper brings the house, the system will also issue a temporary one-time password." Lin Lin said the role of the virtual smart key is similar. . Not only that, car companies and component manufacturers are also exploring the field of auto payments.

In September this year, IBM and UBS partnered with well-known German auto parts manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen to develop a blockchain-based platform to launch a new blockchain-based payment system.

In October of the same year, according to the, five auto companies headed by BMW, Volkswagen, and Honda will jointly develop automatic payment for cars, and use Blockchain technology (distributed ledger) technology to automatically record the parking of each car Payment information such as tolls and highway tolls and automatic payment are completed without having to use cash or electronic settlement. Strive to make cars a social infrastructure such as billing and information management, not just mobile.

Source: Alphabet

"This has nothing to do with the car itself." Zhou Wen, who has been engaged in the Internet finance industry for 5 years, believes that "(car payment) is plainly the record of trips and lbs made by car vehicles and car chips. The process needs to ensure data transmission security." . Zhou Wen told the Future Auto Daily that in the end, it will still rely on a management app for the car (such as Beijing BAIC, Smart Botai, etc.), and then use the mobile phone app (Alipay, WeChat, etc.) to perform the actual network communication payment. Settlement.

Still unable to help businesses achieve digital transformation

Although the benefits of blockchain have been heated up, in general, practitioners are still in the "holding a hammer to find nails" stage. Lin Lin has traveled all over the country in one year, accumulating cases of automobile and blockchain integration, but still don't know how to properly integrate the blockchain into the travel field.

Many problems in the field of travel "can use blockchain technology or not." Lin Lin believes that blockchain technology has not penetrated into the hinterland of automotive technology. At present, most applications are only a means of operation. "Regardless of digital currency or related points, it still stays on operating incentives."

Han Han also said in an interview with the IT Times that there are still many challenges for blockchain to land:

"For example, the maturity of the technology is still relatively low. The blockchain technology at the level of tens of millions per second is likely to start trials this year and cannot support fast and high-frequency business scenarios. Second, the distributed characteristics of blockchains and traditional systems have It ’s a big difference. It takes a long time to connect to the original system. Third, the blockchain is currently looking for nails with a hammer, and its scene is not so irreplaceable, except for digital currencies. "

Gartner, an information technology research and consulting company, released the October 2019 blockchain technology maturity curve (Hype Cycle for Blockchain Technologies), showing that the blockchain has entered a trough period of bubble burst and will leave this stage in 2021. .

2019 blockchain technology maturity curve Source: Gartner

"Blockchain is still unable to enable digital business transformation in various business ecosystems, and it will not be possible at least until 2028," said Avivah Litan, analyst and vice president of research at Gartner. By 2028, blockchain technology and operations To achieve full expansion. Not only that, the blockchain technology, which is regarded as a “trust terminal”, is also facing a crisis of trust. According to China Automotive News, Xue Hongyan, director of the Internet Financial Center of Suning Financial Research Institute, once said that blockchain can solve the potential risks brought by traditional financial over-centralization. But after all, technology is just technology, and it cannot cope with the complexity of human society. For the traditional models and formats that have been adapted to this complexity, the blockchain can only temporarily implement optimization and improvement functions.

American information technology research and analysis Gartner also believes that if blockchain is to become mainstream, users must be able to safely choose the appropriate platform, smart contract language, system interface, and consensus algorithm algorithms). In addition, users must not worry about how to interact with partners using different blockchain platforms.

Source: Alphabet

In fact, not only the application of blockchain technology in the automotive field, but also technologies such as autonomous driving and connected cars have not yet matured. But the automotive industry is turning a corner and cannot give up any technology that has the potential to bring progress and breakthroughs, even if they are still a long way from the ultimate practical value.