In the US, BMW Group Financial Services is running its first BMW Financial Services Collaboration Lab for ten weeks in Ohio. Two blockchain startups were amongst the group of six selected.
The first startup is Supermoney a UK digital payments company. Their solution enables payments by scanning a QR code in a digital wallet. The purpose is to manage counterparty risk for buyers and sellers. The startup intends to make payments to merchants faster, cheaper, and safer.
Supermoney appears to plan to compete with the likes of Stripe, but it works for in-store payments as well. So instead of taking credit card or debit card payments where merchant accounts can be expensive for the seller, Supermoney enables payments using a customer’s digital wallet. The seller can withdraw cash into their bank account.
The second blockchain company is Bloom. Their product allows customers to go through the credit checking process, without relinquishing control over the data. So the customer stores the data on their phone, verifies their identity, and applies for credit without putting their data at risk.
Bloom is based on Ethereum and raised $41 million in an ICO that ended on January 1st. Rather amusingly their token name is BLT.
Their system has three pillars. Firstly there’s a Bloom identity which enables them to verify who you are without you losing control of your personal information. Banks and third-party data providers vouch for your identity and creditworthiness. Presumably, as Bloom grows, in the future, they will rely less on third-party credit data companies. BloomIQ tracks your current and historical debt obligations. The third pillar is a Bloom’s credit score.
The platform aims to address four issues with the current credit scoring environment. It’s global, whereas currently if you move country getting credit is hard. Secondly, they claim they will end overly exclusive credit assessments. This refers to people who have not had debt in the past and hence don’t have a debt history, find it harder to get credit. Thirdly Bloom claims to reduce or avoid identity theft risks. Finally, they came to have a better credit scoring system.
During the launch of the partnership, Ian Smith, CEO of BMW Group Financial Services USA, stated that BMW is “looking to examine any and all methods of how blockchain ledgers could support the transformation of current data warehousing, payment, and customer information tracking. Ultimately, our goal is to enable BMW to automate a lot of processing and increase the tracking and security of information.”
Auto blockchain activity
Other automative blockchain applications include Daimler experimenting internally with tokens for environmentally friendly driving as is BYD in China. Porsche is exploring blockchain enabled cars and several automative companies are part of the MOBI alliance.