BMW, Ford and GM want to bring blockchain to your car

The alliance hopes to use the technology for payments and car-to-car data.

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Roberto Baldwin/Engadget
Roberto Baldwin/Engadget

Seemingly every company is determined to hop on the blockchain bandwagon, and that includes automakers. BMW, Ford, GM, Renault and and a string of tech partners (including Bosch and IBM) have formed the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, a group that hopes to use blockchain's distributed, decentralized ledger technology across many aspects of your experience, even when you're not driving. They hope to create standards that allow for secure payments for everything from autonomous car hailing to congestion charges to ridesharing.

It could be useful for car-to-car data sharing, too. And behind the scenes, blockchain should be useful for vehicle ID (such as tracing stolen cars or collision histories) and bolstering the supply chain.

The move is undoubtedly super-trendy, and there's no firm timeline for when any blockchain technology might show up in cars. However, this could have some very tangible real-world benefits. As there would be fewer (if any) gatekeepers, this could reduce the cost of the services you use without compromising on security -- a trip in a self-driving taxi might be slightly more affordable.

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