News about the BMW Group being interested in blockchain technology broke out last year, the Bavarian officials saying back then that this kind of tech could have varied uses, especially in securing customer data used on board of their cars. The company will be the host of the first European colloquium of the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, set to take place starting tomorrow at the BMW Group IT Center in Munich.

The colloquium will be bringing together members of the consortium co-founded by the BMW Group plus representatives of well-known technology companies from around the world and blockchain start-ups and specialists. The main goal of the two-day event will be to serve as a platform for sharing knowledge and experience and to promote and develop common standards for applying blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in the mobility industry.

“The hype surrounding blockchain has died down, and it is even met with occasional skepticism now. We are convinced, however, that blockchains represent a real opportunity and will eventually break up the established, centralized market by making it possible to create more decentralized platforms and so give consumers more control over their data,” explained Andre Luckow, who heads the department responsible for blockchain and distributed ledger technologies at the BMW Group.

Last year, BMW conducted a proof of concept that demonstrated how customers can use the VerifyCar app to keep track of their vehicle’s mileage, for example, verify it and share it with third parties – all driven by blockchain technology. Conceivable blockchain applications exist throughout the automotive value chain. Blockchains can be used in production and supply chain management to help improve traceability, security and operative efficiency.

In complex supply chains, for instance, complete transparency can be achieved with the help of blockchain technology allowing the origin of individual parts and components being traced back via the various partners involved. This principle was successfully tested by the BMW Group in an additional proof of concept, followed by a pilot project which has been launched at Plant Spartanburg (USA) to conduct a detailed examination of a multi-tiered international supply chain.

This project is due to deliver its first concrete results before the end of this year and could potentially underpin more extensive implementation in the BMW Group’s purchasing and supplier network. The long-term objective is to jointly develop an open, independent platform as part of the BMW Group’s consortium work that would enable industry-wide application. However, in order for all of this to be attainable, standards must be set up and put in place and that’s one of the goals of this colloquium.