Most car manufacturers turned to blockchain recently, applications here range from storing mileage to avoid false reporting to combination of blockchain with AI in self-driving cars, to solve the ‘who goes first at an intersection‘ issue. However, application of distributed ledgers to used cars is a novelty, but it is being implemented in Singapore already now. Our Editor-in-Chief talked with Daryl Arnold, Founder of the Ocean Protocol. This blockchain data firm has partnered with the major Singaporean used car site sgCarMart to build a consumer-facing verifiable ledger to store a used car’s history, the first of its kind in the world.
Q1: I have conducted many interviews on blockchain use cases but cannot imagine the application of blockchain to used cars. How exactly will it work? Can you please explain it from the point of view of every participant to this blockchain?
There’s a significant used car market in Singapore. However, because information about a particular car can be scarce, the experience of buying a used car is not always straightforward. Consumers often having to jump through hoops to gather adequate (but often unreliable) information about a vehicle.
This is why sgCarMart and Ocean Protocol partner to build a blockchain powered know-your-vehicle data marketplace that supplies reliable information about used cars can empower buyers to make better purchasing decisions.
Why blockchain? At the moment, consumers often have to rely on used car owners or used car dealers to obtain information about a car and the information may not be accurate. Car dealers and owners can easily withhold information about car defects.
By using Ocean Protocol’s blockchain technology, the origin of data, its flow and transaction can be recorded and traced. Since all datasets are registered on the Ocean network, the asset ID (unique identifiers for each data asset) and the transactions (who purchased the asset) leave an on-chain trail that can be verified. Hence, we can establish a data supply line. This doesn’t only provide consumers the knowledge of data source but ensures it’s reliable and the information is accurate and verifiable.
Data providers can register their dataset and establish ownership. Smart contracts and tokens ensure they get paid once the data is unlocked. This helps onboard data providers. In the future, tokens can also be used as an incentive mechanism to ensure the integrity of data assets and promote curation behavior that is beneficial to users.
Consumers can go to sgCarMart’s used car data marketplace, browse and search for information about a particular car that they are interested in. See where the information comes from and make a purchase with Ocean Tokens to see details.
Hence, sgCarMart’s know-your-vehicle data marketplace not only provides buyers with up-to-date information about the used cars available in the market but helps ensure that the information and its source are accurate and reliable.
Q2: Why do you think people will use the blockchain-based data in contrast to the one available now, from sellers or from independent inspection centers?
A2: It all boils down to trust. Blockchain removes the friction surrounding data sharing and automates trust and verification.
First and foremost, Ocean Protocol, with the immutable nature of blockchain, gives data an identity — one can think of it as an IP — so that it can be truly owned. Once ownership is established (via registering a data asset on Ocean), no one else can claim ownership for the same asset.
Second, it allows data providers to set pricing and trade data without losing control of their data assets. Smart contracts allow data owners to program the conditions of access, which are then executed with precision. This gives data owners and buyers transparency, security, and guarantees of payment and use.
Third, with data asset ID registered on-chain, data provenance is established and transactions are recorded. This allows for traceability and auditability, help all parties to ensure compliance.
What’s unique is that Ocean Protocol enables algorithms and models to travel to the data, get trained and then leave without exposing the data or taking a copy, thereby retaining privacy. This can help free up data to advance AI and solve problems for the economy and society.
Q3: How will it affect the safety of used vehicles and road safety?
A3: The Know-Your-Vehicle Data Marketplace can promote road safety for all by making sure consumers purchase cars that are roadworthy plus encouraging car owners to better maintain their cars and maximize resale value in the long-run.
Q4: How do you think your project will affect the carbon blueprint in car production?
A4: Since there are significant environmental costs to both manufacturing a new automobile and scrapping an old car, a thriving used-car market can reduce vehicles’ carbon impact on our environment. In fact, manufacturing makes up as much as 35 percent of a vehicle’s lifetime carbon emissions.
This means that every buyer who selects a used vehicle over a new one is helping to slow the build-up of greenhouse gases. However, it is important for consumers to choose used cars with good gas mileage and lower emissions and sgCarMart’s data marketplace can ensure buyers are getting this information and that the information is up-to-date, highly accurate, and reliable.
Q5: What is the monetization model in this project?
A5: When launched, consumers can purchase the data assets on the Know-your-vehicle Data Marketplace using Ocean tokens, guaranteeing payment to data providers and access to consumers.
Q6: Please tell us about the Ocean Protocol and its blockchain based platform.
A6: Ocean Protocol is the world’s first data sharing platform powered by blockchain technology that connects individuals, industries, startups, governments and data and AI experts. The Ocean network is a substrate that allows anyone to build data services and marketplaces on. Its mission is to unlock data for AI to solve industry and societal problems by enabling secure, privacy-preserving and borderless data sharing.
Ocean’s network is now live and it paves the ground for a series of private and public partnerships, like the one we established with sgCarMart, to deploy their Proof of Concept solutions on the platform. Our existing collaborators, including AI Singapore, sgCarMart, ConnectedLife, Aviva, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Roche, are all aiming at using Ocean Protocol to set standards and demonstrate how to share data safely and securely without compromising privacy and ownership.
Ocean Protocol is an open source project. Developers from around the world can run Ocean’s full stack and connect to the Ocean network. Data Scientists and engineers can leverage the underlying Ocean API to search, publish, and consume data assets. They can initiate personal JupyterLab instances running in local browsers, with Ocean Protocol pre-configured. There is a reference marketplace for free and public data, which serves as a meeting point for public health, sustainability, and environmental use cases.
Q7: You are launching this project in city-state Singapore, with only 9,000 cars change hands. Is your blockchain scalable? What and who else will you need to enter other, larger markets with this idea?
A7: Ocean Protocol is an open source project and a universal substrate for data services and marketplaces to build on and allowing for interoperability.
Our role is to ensure we have a solid foundation and environment for a vibrant data ecosystem to thrive. To kickstart the new data economy, we have forged multiple partnerships with startups and enterprises to demonstrate use cases. Our collaborators are across sectors — from retail to mobility to healthcare, etc..
The sgCarMart Know-your-vehicle data marketplace is a project that can be replicated in other markets. We want Ocean to be a fertile ground for data innovation and a prosperous environment for data marketplaces and related services to operate in.
Q8: You have done several major startups in the last six years, what are the major findings? What would be your advice to someone who wants to start a blockchain project now, in 2019?
A8: Among all the startups that I was involved in, data is the core and will continue to generate tremendous value for the businesses. Data, however, is currently sitting in silos.
In order for a new and open data economy to start where data is accessible and can be freed for good use, technology itself must change to remove the friction surrounding data sharing and default towards the ideal of data protection, democratizing data while retaining privacy-right. This is why we built Ocean Protocol.
A healthy and vibrant ecosystem is essential to the success of any open source blockchain project. My advice for anyone who wants to start a blockchain project is to focus on building a community that supports the project by helping to build the technology itself and to stimulate its adoption.
Daryl Arnold is Chairman of DEX and Founder of Ocean Protocol.
An entrepreneur experienced in data, marketing, technology and sustainability, Daryl is passionate about building businesses from the ground-up and had achieved hundred million dollars plus of sales from Asia, Europe and America. Following successful exits in the digital marketing space, Daryl now focuses on Smart Cities, Active Ageing, Civic Innovation, Open Data and Internet of Things.
His Singapore based startups in the last 6 years include:
• Newton Circus (Invention & Investment for Good)
• Ocean Protocol (Decentralised Data Exchange Protocol, Blockchain, Token)
• DEX (Open Source Software & Services for the Data Economy)
• ConnectedLife inc. Silverline Mobile (IoT, MedTech, Independent Living)
• Padang & Co (Open & Corporate Innovation, Start-up Match Making)
• Next Billion (Data Acquisition & Services, Emerging Markets)
• Datacraft Sciences (Advanced Data Science, AI, Data Analytics)
• Level 3 (Innovation and Co-working with Unilever)
Daryl lived and worked in the major world cities including Beijing, London, New York, Shanghai and Tokyo, and is now based in Singapore. Outside of business, Daryl is happily married, father of two boys and a girl, a keen snowboarder, and a competitive squash player.