[ by Sterling Vernon ]
Cryptocurrency, blockchain, digital currency - other than the wild value swings that could theoretically fund auto purchases, why would Porsche be integrating blockchain into their products? I think it all comes down to trust. You trust all of the folks involved in car transactions, yes? Not usually. Used car salespeople have gained a pretty negative reputation. I've been swindled a few times, I'm not proud to say. How can blockchain help?
At it's core, blockchain is really just a way to document a chain of information such that you can't modify any of that information after the fact. You can't lose things. You can't fake a record. And you can quickly get the entire history of whatever is being documented. This might be a record of a piece of currency passing through many hands via transactions. It might be a car part traveling from the original OEM manufacturer through distributors and suppliers before it gets installed on your new GT3. All of these parts, the cars themselves, and, yes, the currency we use to buy the car - all have a rich history that is usually nearly impossible to know. And even harder to trust.
If you've ever bought or received a CarFax report, you know that it tries to create a sense of trust that you know a car's history. You also know that it can be wildly inaccurate. They miss many things - the mileage records are often incorrect. They report only the incidents that have been reported through insurance, et cetera, et cetera. Now imagine your car had a magic book in the glove compartment in which everything about your car was recorded and stored. Every oil change. Every repair. Maybe even ever time you started it. And none of that info could be altered. Someone wanting to buy your car would have a perfect record of the use of your car on which to make an informed purchasing decision. It's a huge change to how things are currently done.
It's not perfectly clear how Porsche will be rolling out and using this new blockchain (or DLT - distributed ledger technology), but I think they would be crazy not to include the service history of the car in the record. It will be interesting how much driver-related history gets stored in there, too. Privacy has been dead and buried for a long time, folks. I'm sorry to say that it isn't coming back anytime soon. We might as well get ready to embrace the new normal and try to share in the benefits. Porsche is clearly trying to do just that.
Don't really get blockchain yet? Here's a quick primer on bitcoin written by one of my favorite content writers (Dan and I used to work together at Sapient Corporation in Cambridge)