Despite the impact of the global pandemic, RIDDLE&CODE has grown over the last year, providing innovative solutions through its digitisation strategy to create more efficient and secure business processes. In fact, it has illustrated the importance of automated and reliable payment processes to avoid contamination concerns.
With a strong relationship with Daimler Mobility AG, the company prides itself at providing critical infrastructures in the financial, mobility, energy and metals markets. Its systems are fully audited and have passed the tests of security and trust for the Swiss financial sector, meaning that RIDDLE&CODE can use this security and process know-how to enable other industries to build up transactional platforms and fulfil regulatory rules in a transparent way.
Its Car Wallet innovation is a ground breaking concept for transforming vehicles into a touch-free payment system wherever it goes, changing the way we purchase, sell and move.
To find out more, I speak with RIDDLE&CODE CCO, Sebastian Becker, and Head of The Blockchain Factory Daimler Mobility AG, Harry Behrens.
“The Car Wallet turns a vehicle into an autonomous economic agent,” explains Becker. “But it is not ‘only’ a wallet in the way we use this term commonly. The crypto chip module inside is tamper-proof and is registered on a blockchain. And we all know that blockchain data entries cannot be altered anymore. So we will have a Digital Twin of a car – or even several Digital Twins of its most relevant components.”
This basically means that the vehicle has a clear digital identity. Once this is achieved, RIDDLE&CODE can turn the car into a trusted source to automatically execute data or value transactions.
This solves new issues for the industry such as the software or firmware over-the-air upgrades, by linking the cryptographic identity of cars or software with tamper-proof entries in blockchain data registries.
Pay and Play
There are many different use cases for the Car Wallet, which will only improve as the connected car develops. From electric to autonomous vehicles, RIDDLE&CODE have a scalable product that will change the automotive industry forever.
“With a robotaxi, this will allow passengers to stay relaxed in the back of the car, while the vehicle is just interacting with the backend and the surrounding smart city infrastructure,” adds Becker. “If we talk about vehicle owners or drivers today, they might not see a lot, even if they are able to spot the wallet as an OBD dongle being plugged in.”
In addition, this will also impact car rental and new mobility services, by providing lower operation costs and insurance tariffs which, in turn, passes the savings down to the customer. The list goes on.
This is all possible thanks to technology developments in and around the automotive industry, such as blockchain and other important IT infrastructure. However, says Becker, it is vital that there are multiple systems in place to protect the car, driver and business.
“It is certainly true that the blockchain is a perfect technology to enable trust into data registries and to secure them with cryptography and by decentralizing the underlying IT hardware infrastructure,” he says. “This greatly enhances the security and governance structures, since there is no single point of systemic failure anymore. But all complex industrial projects will require the combination of various technologies – in this case the hardware part is using mainly cryptographic processes and mathematical procedures to guarantee the indisputable digital Identity of the vehicle.”
It may seem fairly straightforward that the RIDDLE&CODE team could simply insert a credit card chip into a car, but it needs blockchain technology to make the concept of a car wallet secure and the settlement of automated machine transactions really an option for the mass markets. This will become even more important as we approach the era of the autonomous car.
The Identity Triangle
At the core of all business transactions in the automotive and captive finance industry, there are three identities: the customer, car and company. This is what the Daimler Mobility AG calls the “Identity Triangle”
“What is the purpose of Blockchain-based business platforms?” questions Harry Behrens, Head of The Blockchain Factory Daimler Mobility AG. “We believe the answer is to provide a shared and decentralized infrastructure, which handles transactional and financial aspects for service offering, acceptance, delivery and overall settlement.”
This is only possible through a digital solution that can provide the appropriate parties with credentials, such as verifying a driving license or credit score, through a securely and verified authorisation.
RIDDLE&CODE can also add the capability for such a smart device to provide tamper-proof and irrefutable billing records. This forms conclusive proof of correct settlement reflecting the actually consumed services.
“For the device to act in this manner, the car or the charging station needs to be equipped with a digital identity supported by the necessary cryptographic protocols to sign off on data in a tamper-proof manner,” adds Behrens.
By developing the Mobility Blockchain Platform, the company identified a secure and tamper-proof vehicle identity as a key building block, which now lies at the center of all secure digital business transactions through RIDDLE&CODE’s Car Wallet.
The Blockchain Factory Daimler Mobility AG came across RIDDLE&CODE when it saw their profile at Startup Autobahn. Following some very positive discussions, they identified that the company understood the necessary strategic vision and technical competence to implement it.
“In terms of the partnership with Daimler Mobility AG, RIDDLE&CODE was selected by the team from Plug and Play that manages their Startup Autobahn accelerator program. In that time, it had various project discussions with both Daimler and Daimler Mobility AG,” adds Becker.
“Harry Behrens was the first who saw the potential of collaborating with the team and was keen to see the concept of bringing blockchain hardware and software together to create a highly secure vehicle wallet coming to life.”
“Of course it was not out of pure curiosity, but if you want to set up highly secure and efficient business backends using DLT, you do need a trusted data source on the other side. And thinking about odometer fraud, we have to state that the cars that are on the streets today are not necessarily trusted data sources for real-time data that has to be sent out of the car.”
So, when can we expect to see this rolled out? Well, Becker says that all company’s need to is “knock on our door,” with RIDDLE&CODE ready to go live in as soon as six to 12 months.
“If you look at the bigger trends in the industry, such as the Apollo operating system for connected vehicles, then you can imagine that it will be a lot easier to roll this out in the future,” he adds. “Take a taxi company, once they order new cars that are using open systems such as Apollo, then they can just call us and we can send them their car wallets, maybe also with a backend system integration. Then their whole business can run on blockchain tech within a few days or weeks.”