It looks like the big banks aren’t the only ones finding new uses for blockchain technology more than a year after the great crypto bubble of 2017 ended in tears for thousands of investors.
In an announcement that came as a pleasant surprise to crypto bulls, British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover announced that it was testing technology to incorporate IOTA wallets into the software of its cars, part of a plan to use the cryptocurrency in a rewards program.
The program would reward drivers with cryptocurrency for sharing data, such as traffic congestion or potholes, with navigation providers and local authorities, while also incentivizing them to participate in ride-sharing programs.
Courtesy of Coin Telegraph
Earned tokens could be used to pay tolls, parking, as well as charging for electric cars. The overall goal was to “achieve zero emissions, zero accidents, and zero congestion,” the company said.
Jaguar doesn’t have a timeline for when the program will see a wide-release; currently, it’s testing the technology with software engineers in Shannon, Ireland.
The British car company is testing the technology at the new Jaguar Land Rover software engineering base in Shannon, Ireland, where engineers have already equipped several vehicles, including the Jaguar F-PACE and Range Rover Velar, with “smart wallet” features, the company said.
It does not yet have a timetable for when it will be commercially available, said Jaguar, a subsidiary of Tata Motors.
The IOTA token is based on a distributed ledger technology that enables people and machines to transfer money and data without any transaction fees. IOTA trades on digital asset exchanges and was last at 27 U.S. cents per token.
During an otherwise mixed period for cryptocurrencies, IOTA surged more than 20% to peak at 32.5 cents per token at around 1 am Eastern Time.
On Twitter, reactions varied. Blockchain true-believers celebrated their ‘vindication’ after last year’s bruising year for crypto. Recent news out of JP Morgan and Jaguar suggests that companies really are looking to permanently integrate blockchain technology into their operations, suggesting that it wasn’t ‘just a fad’.
BREAKING: Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with IOTA to enable car owners & drivers to earn cryptocurrency.
We’re talking digital wallets, tokens, and an entire ecosystem.
THE VIRUS IS SPREADING 🚀
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) April 28, 2019
Though some were more skeptical…questioning why Jaguar didn’t simply opt to reward its customers with bitcoin, the closest thing to ‘hard money’ in the cryptoverse.
Jaguar will start giving $IOTA as rewards to its drivers…
Then they’ll figure out that IOTA is vaporware…
And instead will do what they should have done all along…
Reward their drivers with Bitcoin
— Josh Rager 📈 (@Josh_Rager) April 29, 2019
As @saifedean likes to say “Easy Money exists to be printed & given away” obviously @Jaguar & @LandRover can’t give away #Bitcoin cause it’s “Hard Money” but going w/ the shitcoin $IOTA #IOTA is like believing a #Blockhain can prevent accidents & congestion… Ohh… WAIT… pic.twitter.com/sosS0C0sO3
— Tone Vays [#UnderstandBit] (@ToneVays) April 29, 2019
Jaguar Land Rover and IOTA jointly announced the program late Sunday. Though, to be sure, the program is still in its testing phase. However, IOTA insiders touted the program as the first step toward establishing IOTA as the ‘smart wallet technology’ of choice for global automakers looking into these types of rewards programs.
“The smart wallet technology … can be easily adapted into all new vehicles,” Dominik Schiener, IOTA co-founder and co-chairman of its board, told Reuters on Friday. “IOTA wants to enable interoperability with all these different players. So there is no Jaguar coin, no BMW coin, but one universal token for this machine economy.”
In short: While this is a tremendous vote of confidence for IOTA, the program is still in its early phases and could still be abandoned.