A global automotive consortium is leveraging blockchain-based “birth certificates” to track the purchase and maintenance history of secondhand vehicles.

By Samuel Haig

“The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, or MOBI, a non-profit consortium of the world’s top vehicle manufacturers including Ford and BMW, has launched an initiative to combat fraud in the secondhand markets with blockchain-powered “birth certificates.”

The initiative will leverage blockchain to track the registration and maintenance history of vehicles using MOBI’s second vehicle identification standard, “VID II.” The system will help reduce fraud in the used vehicle markets, with an announcement stating: “Vehicle registration on blockchain allows formerly disconnected vehicle registration systems between states and countries to connect using a secure, shared, and trusted ledger. Maintenance traceability will provide a tamper-proof history to buyers, regulators, and insurers, therefore reducing vehicle information asymmetry.”

MOBI’s VID II working group is co-chaired by BMW and Ford, with Honda, IBM, Hitachi America, and Quantstamp also supporting the initiative, among others.

The VID II standard builds on VID I, describing a variety of utilities for the group’s vehicle birth certificate. “A secure digital vehicle identity sets the foundation for a fully automatic network for usage-based transportation services,” said MOBI COO and Co-Founder, Tram Vo, adding:

“We expect this network for frictionless transfer of value in the New Economy of Movement to open up trillions of dollars of new opportunities to monetize vehicles, services, data, and infrastructure.”

The group also envisages application for the standard within the context of automotive financing, electric vehicle charging, and autonomous data exchange.

MOBI announced its formation in May 2018, stating its mission is to accelerate the adoption of blockchain in the automotive industry through adopting a collaborative, open-source approach to developing tools and standards.

In October, MOBI launched a global standard for integrating blockchain into decentralized electric vehicle charging networks. The standard detailed systems for “vehicle-to-grid integration” to allow vehicles to store excess renewable energy generated by wind and solar, in addition to “tokenized carbon credits,” and “peer-to-peer applications.”