WheelCoin: In the Eye of the Mobility Storm

Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. CEO IoMob
Coinmonks

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It’s becoming increasingly lonely to be in the climate denialist business. The science, the trends and observations of all humans living on planet earth make it clear that we are indeed living in a climate emergency.

One of the sectors of our economy which has struggled mightily to get to zero has been transport and logistics. While estimates vary greatly, transport is responsible for at least 7 gigatons of annual emissions, representing at least 13% of annual global emissions.

What is frustrating about the snail pace of zero carbon mobility in our cities is that we have most of the solutions already in many of our cities. Shifting from private car journeys to multimodal shared and electric mobility is possible for many living in urban and suburban areas but out of reach for many still in rural areas.

But just in the past decade we have witnessed an absolute explosion of greener shared and greener mobility services such as scooter and bike sharing, EV carsharing, e-bike and EV subscription services and rapidly increasing amounts of EV vehicles and charging networks. In some countries we are witnessing renewed interest and commitment to investing in high speed rail and public transit systems too.

So what’s the hold up? In larger part we have major challenges with 20th century thinking focused on legacy and Web 2 walled gardens and a lack of coordination amongst the services that are available.

How many mobility related apps do you have on your phone today? And how many of those apps are useful at all when you travel to another city in your country, let alone another country altogether? Also the holy grail of Mobility as a Service which was supposed to bring seamless, shared and sustainable mutlimodal mobility to users in one app has proven all but impossible to scale (in part due to the walled garden mentality of web 2 companies and legacy transit operators too).

What will it take for transport to become a meaningful part of our needed accelerated path to zero carbon? There is no magic bullet (which is what many of us had hoped MaaS would be).

The Role of WheelCoin to help support lighter coordination and nudge green mobility

At Iomob, we believe strongly in the power of nudging, leveraging behavioural economics, and crypto rails via our latest product offering, WheelCoin to be a meaningful part of the solution.

Let me explain.

What is WheelCoin first of all?

WheelCoin is the world’s first Move2Earn (M2E) app that rewards users for making greener mobility choices. WheelCoin, live in the app stores since October 2022, detects the users’ movements and if they are moving in a mode that is greener than taking a private, gas-powered (ICE) vehicle for the same distance. 1WHL reward token is equal to 1kg of avoided emissions comparing the emissions of the mode chosen versus a normal private car.

How does this help with fragmentation of green mobility?

One of the principal aims we have with WheelCoin is to solve the information asymmetry for users regarding what green mobility services are available to them AND to help reduce the cost of using them. As of today we have signed commercial deals with more than 15 green mobility operators, primarily in Europe who are already offering discounts to services from EV carsharing and rental to electric boat taxis to subscriptions to e-bikes and EV leasing. This has a multi-sided win outcome as it is a win for WheelCoin users who discover new green services and get discounts on them, a win for the mobility services who acquire new highly values aligned users at a fraction of their normal CAQ. And of course it is a win for the planet by helping grow the adoption of green mobility services?

Some of the current WheelCoin Green Mobility Partners

What role does WheelCoin play in addressing emissions from employee mobility?

Yes there are roughly 8 billion people living on planet earth who move around for personal reasons on a regular basis. But a substantial contributor to transport emissions comes from companies, both from logistics of goods as well as the mobility of employees to and from work and on business travel.

Increasingly companies are being legally required to engage in carbon accounting to track and reduce their carbon emissions. Carbon accounting for companies has three focus areas: Scope 1 are associated with direct emissions from producing goods or services, Scope 2 represent the emission from the energy required to execute the business while Scope 3 reflect “indirect” externalities from operations (e.g. supply chain, support services and both employee commuting and business travel).

Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (Source)

While the methodologies for accurate tracking of Scope 1 and 2 emissions are fairly robust, many of the Scope 3 emissions sources are really difficult for companies to track and monitor and reduce. We have discovered emissions from employee commuting in particular are generally a black box to companies as well as the carbon consultancies that try to assist them. Companies today rely mostly on annual or biannual surveys of employees to get an approximation of commuting emissions.

Yet employee surveys are fraught with all kinds of problems: bias in terms of who responds (i.e. employees driving their SUV to work every day are less likely to report this in a voluntary employee survey than are employees who take transit every day); the impossibility for employees to have accurate memory of which modes they used more frequently and how many times throughout the year, etc.

WheelCoin takes the hassle out of this entirely for companies by allowing the employees to just turn on the app, let it run passively in the background and then the company receives ANONYMIZED commuting emissions monthly (even weekly if desired) from any employee using the app.

One more major benefit of WheelCoin for Business. Employees download the same app everyone else uses in the app store. That app, WheelCoin, has an entire team of people at Iomob working to make fun and engaging so that users value the WHL they acquire because it has real utility (e.g. for discounts on green mobility, access to digital collectibles and more). Thus WheelCoin is focused on making it worthwhile for users AND employees to download and use the app and earn WHL, which helps nudge employees towards making greener choices.

Therefore, WheelCoin not only solves a major data collection challenge, but it also directly aims to help employees embrace sustainable modal shift, resulting in reduced Scope 3 employee commuting emissions over time.

Conclusion

We are in a climate emergency with no time to spare. Transportation needs to be part of the solution, now! Thankfully many of the solutions we need already exist, and what is missing (besides more political will to invest further in public transit and rail infrastructure) is a pathway to solve the coordination and fragmentation issues while helping to incentivize better choices. We believe WheelCoin can be a meaningful part of the solution and are doing our best to be part of bringing the next hundred million to crypto and ReFi.

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Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. CEO IoMob
Coinmonks

Boyd is a researcher and entrepreneur in smart, sustainable & entrepreneurial cities, He´s authored 3 books & is CEO of IoMob. boydcohen.impress.ly