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Mercedes-Benz Puts Beijing Beaters On The Blockchain

If you’ve ever had to buy a used car, you know how easy it is to be taken for a ride. Between rolled-over odometers and new cars that have never seen a drop of oil, secondary markets are a rusty minefield of hidden problems and iffy maintenance.

Now, one of the leading auto giants is exploring blockchain solutions for China’s used car market. The Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Company (BMBS) is leveraging a blockchain-based “Vehicle Residual Value Management Platform” for used cars in the Chinese capital.

The management platform was developed by PlatON, a startup which specializes in privacy-preserving computing, to store data over the course of a car’s life-cycle in order to provide accurate information to new buyers. The collaboration is expected to bring greater efficiencies and auditing control to Beijing’s billion-dollar secondary auto market.

Although developed for BMBS, the PlatON platform will be available to all relevant parties, from Mercedez-Benz and authorized dealerships to owners and vehicle inspection firms. The ability to monitor and audit vehicle values is expected to improve confidence in the secondhand car market, while PlatON’s privacy-protecting features will ensure that sensitive data are not exposed.

“From electric vehicles to driverless cars, emerging technologies have come to rapidly shape the trajectory of innovation in the automotive industry to a model that champions greater security and sustainability,” explained PlatON CSO Ada Xiao.

The collaboration is the result of PlatON’s participation in Startup Autobahn 3, an innovation platform launched by Daimler Innovation Technology (China). Over the course of a 100-day accelerator program, Startup Autobahn provides technical mentorship and expertise to help projects like PlatON develop solutions for the auto industry.

That expertise and mentorship may have helped PlatON realize its partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Xiao added.  “With over 6.5 million used cars in China traded in the first half of the year alone,” she said, “[W]e hope that our collaboration with BMBS will highlight the need for more sophisticated data collection systems to accurately monitor the value of the vehicles comprising China’s substantial used car market.”

This isn’t the first time Mercedes-Benz took a test drive on the blockchain. Earlier this year the company developed a blockchain prototype with Icertis, to ensure consistent documentation of contracts throughout their supply chain.

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