At the VeChain Summit 2019 on April 18, 2019 in San
Francisco, Cihan Albay, the IT leader at BMW Group Asia’s Tech Office in
the firm’s VerifyCar app, a “vehicle digital passport on the blockchain” which
it developed in collaboration with VeChain, a blockchain startup focusing
primarily on supply chain management.
VerifyCar aims to address odometer fraud, a widespread issue
in Germany where 33% of second hand cars have manipulated odometers. The
estimated average economical impact of the practice adds up to 3,000 EUR per
car resulting in a total damage of around 6 billion EUR yearly.
“What we tried to do here is to build a digital passport
that verifies datasets and allows people to know if what a seller says is
really true,” Albay told the audience.
The VerifyCar app has already been tested with internal
vehicles, Albay said, adding that BMW is currently determining how to roll the product
“Blockchain is still a sensitive topic. People in Germany
currently don’t know how to react about blockchain [especially] when they hear
that [information] stored on a blockchain cannot be deleted afterwards,” he
said. “We really need to have a look at our business strategy and how to roll
out. But we have proven that it works and we are keen to continue further.”
VeChain was part of BMW Startup Garage, a four-month collaboration
program focusing on developing relevant solutions for the German car
manufacturer. Albay said the two companies have been working together for over
a year now.
The VerifyCar app is one of the numerous blockchain
initiatives BMW has been involved in. Last year, it launched
the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) with more than 30 other
automakers, startups and tech companies. Today, the consortium counts more than
100 companies and organizations, and is actively involved in working groups,
events and hackathons.