Blockchain in mobility | what does the future hold?

Image credit: SmartContract

In the financial sector, blockchain is getting more and more embraced. It is widely known as the technology behind Bitcoin, but it’s also applicable in other areas. What are the opportunities for the field of mobility? Let’s take a closer look at how this technology could help and improve the future of mobility.

Evolution in mobility

More and more people are moving from vehicle ownership to vehicle usage. Whereas before, there was a habit of owning the vehicle which got you from point A to B, we’ve shifted towards a trend which stimulates vehicle usage and the sharing economy. A rising amount of people are no longer willing to pay for the vehicle as such, but more so for the usage of the vehicle.

The sharing economy has already evolved from a “possible disruptive economy” to a trend which soon will find its way into how we pay for vehicle use.

Next to that, technological innovation causes vehicles to act more and more smart, being less dependent of actions of users. 
A smart contract is one of these technological innovations causing vehicles and mobility-as-a-service to be, well, smarter.

Smart contracts

As the blockchain implies, a smart contract is a piece of code stored within the blockchain network. As they aren’t stored centralized but distributed, all parties using this contract have to agree, before any transaction can take place. It tells you what to do after it gets its data feed. This peer to peer network allows trust and fast agreements.

Smart contracts, or blockchain contracts, define rules and consequences for transactions being made on the blockchain. Doing so, all parties involved know that specific rules have to be followed in order for the transaction to succeed.

Complicated much?

Not really. Let’s work with an example to show you how these smart contracts work.

Let’s say you want to use a car of bike for a specific ride or a specific amount of time. 
When renting, usually you pay upfront, and once the payment is validated, you will receive the keys for your vehicle. In this process, usually a third party is involved to control everything. This third party usually confirmes the transaction, allowing you the use of the vehicle.

When implementing the use of a smart contract, payments can be made immediately and every party involved in the chain can immediately confirm whether the payment has been made or not. It will hold the payment until the vehicle delivery is confirmed by the user. Upon agreement of the payment, the money is being transferred automatically and the user can immediately rent the vehicle, simplifying the whole process. 
Your smartphone will be the tool to verify yourself with in this process. It is connected to the distributed ledger, validating your digital identity and transactions that come with it.

Trust

Given every party involved has the same database with immutable data, trust can very easily be obtained, even when you are sharing your data with an external party you don’t know personally.

The whole blockchain system is tamper-proof, making it an ideal tool for transactions within the field of mobility. Machine to machine payments will become a regularity rather than an exception, allowing people to use the blockchain and smart contracts as the go-to system for vehicle usage and pay-per-use, the so-called micro-payments.

Conclusion

In the near future, blockchain and the use of smart contracts will radically change city life and the way urbanites move around in and outside of the city. 
This technology will open up new opportunities for decentralized businesses and will be a big stimulator for the sharing economy and mobility-as-a-service. 
At #MOTF18, we invite everyone to be a part of the future of mobility. As blockchain will be an important building block in mobility, we’ve also invited a thought leader who will elaborate on the role of blockchain in mobility. 
Join us during Mobility of the future and build the mobility revolution with us!

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