Why has Daimler launched a crypto car wallet?

It stores everything that you do with your car, just like a blackbox in an airplane.
24 July 2019

Daimler, owner of Mercedes Benz, is behind the new crypto wallet partnership. Source: Shutterstock

Blockchain technology is increasingly showing its potential in today’s business environment – and the automotive industry is no different.

Dalmier, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz (which is no stranger to pushing the envelope with next-gen vehicle technology) recently partnered with the blockchain firm Riddle & Code in a bid to produce a hardware “wallet” for automobiles; and the result was the Crypto Car Wallet.

Resembling a rigid box that’s easily stored inside the car, the Crypto Car Wallet is Dalmier’s latest technology aimed at making vehicle identification more secure and simplified. 

Blockchain for vehicles

The idea behind the technology is to make transactions easier on the move. For example, commuters would no longer be required to pay for parking at machines, or fork out cash for toll booths. 

But for businesses, the technology has big potential in fleet management. Since the wallet also records the vehicle’s performance– such as mileage, fuel consumption and parts’ wear–  it could help companies ensure proper maintenance is carried out, which could have utility within logistics firms, and transportation, such as a buses and taxis.

The car wallet looks like it will fit any vehicle in today’s market. Source: Riddle & Code

The technology could eventually be transferred to insurance companies too. According to Ben Schwarz, Head of Communications for Riddle & Code, insurers and regulators may “mandate these technologies” to keep automotive data safe and secure. Like a blackbox in an airplane, the data taken from the blockchain can be used to investigate accidents in the event of an insurance claim. 

“Knowing which parameters were active at the time of an accident can help provide a trustworthy solution to understanding its cause,” Schwarz said.

How has blockchain been used in automobiles?

This isn’t the first time blockchain tech has been used in the automotive industry. Previously, Porsche partnered with XAIN (a blockchain startup) to create an app for owners to unlock their cars. Renault partnered with Microsoft to create a digital car maintenance book; also storing maintenance data in a blockchain.

The Crypto Car Wallet by Mercedes-Benz on the other hand is a rigid “wallet” made from plastic that stores all the vehicles’ information on a blockchain. The wallet is built on tech that provides vehicles with a protected blockchain identity; and it’s paired with the vehicle’s registration numbers, creating a secure and fool-proof ledger of vehicle data in the blockchain registry.

It also integrates with the vehicle’s telematic control unit (TCU) to process sensory data collected from the surrounding of the car – especially useful in autonomous cars where the wallet acts as a communication tool with other cars. 

With fleet management operating as part of a wider supply chain, or a system in its own right, blockchain has the ability to securely share vehicle information between all parties, instantly. With logistics and transportation businesses operating on thin margins and complex business models, any technology that can make processes more efficient, you’d expect, would be a welcome addition.