Melbourne startup ShareRing wants to change the car industry using blockchain

William West/AFP/Getty Images

Melbourne-based sharing economy startup ShareRing, fresh from a $3.8 million capital raise in March, has signed up for a global consortium that wants to explore how blockchain can transform transport.

MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative) is a not-for-profit foundation looking at applications for blockchain in what’s now known as a mobility sector, ranging from the car industry to public transport and even toll roads.

ShareRing, founded last year by Tim Bos, Rohan Le Page, Peter David and Neville Christie, is an on-demand platform that aims to centralise a fragmented sharing economy by bringing together services across industries and countries.

It already has form in the sector with founders Bos and David also responsible for Keaz, the asset sharing system that integrates telematics tracking and control systems for fleet operators and shared vehicle companies.

ShareRing’s remit with MOBI is projects involving everything from vehicle identity, to history and data tracking, supply chain tracking, autonomous machine and vehicle payments, and usage- based mobility pricing for vehicles — which also takes into account costs such as insurance, energy, congestion, pollution and infrastructure.

Bos, the company’s CEO, says their goal is to help define a safer, more secure, and more accessible set of standards for the mobility sector.

“Operating within the sharing economy, ShareRing is closely aligned with MOBI’s vision of utilising blockchain technology to create a pioneering ecosystem within a particular industry,” he said.

“It is vital that we continue to see collaborative initiatives such as the MOBI consortium, with the involvement of such reputable players, to ensure the ongoing implementation and application of blockchain technology far and wide.”

Meanwhile, MOBI is kicking its own goals, with Toyota’s former CFO and Director of Mobility Services, Chris Ballinger, signing on as chairman and CEO.

The organisation is now working with more the world’s biggest automotive brands including BMW, Ford, General Motors and Renault, accounting for more than 70% of global vehicle production in market share terms.

German multinational engineering firm Bosch, parts maker ZF, and the US arm of Japanese insurer Aioi Nissay Dowa are also part of the collaboration.

Ballinger says blockchain has the potential to redefine both the automotive industry and how consumers buy, insure and use vehicles.

“By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities,” he said.

MOBI is pushing for a more rapid and scalable adoption of the technology by other companies developing autonomous vehicle and mobility services and envisages a “minimum viable network” that spans manufacturers, public transport, toll road providers, tech firms, and government regulatory bodies tasked with legislating a rapidly changing market heading towards autonomous vehicles.

Meanwhile, ShareRing in the midst of its own push for more capital with an initial coin offering, or token generation event, with the Pre-Token Sharing Event (TSE) coming to a close and the TSE about to kick off on June 4.

The company plans to issue three billion tokens with a hard cap of $US38 million.

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