BMW ‘Is Working With’ Another Blockchain Firm, This Time To Track Cobalt, Report Says

German[1] car manufacturer BMW has allegedly closed a second partnership with a Blockchain[2] startup, this time to source ethical cobalt for its products, Reuters reports[3] March 5, citing the startup’s CEO.

Just a week after the automotive giant unveiled a deal with Chinese Blockchain supply firm VEChain[4], Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, the CEO of little-known UK-based startup Circulor, told Reuters they are collaborating with BMW to track so-called ‘clean’ cobalt supplies in order to ensure their ethical provenance.

Cobalt is sourced overwhelmingly from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, where some supplies are reported to involve the use of child labor and informal setups known as ‘artisanal’ mines, Reuters notes.

Blockchain tech, Circulor’s CEO says, is the auto giant’s ticket to ensuring a sustainable supply chain.

“We believe it makes economic sense to start with sources that aren’t a problem,” Johnson-Poensgen told Reuters.

“Once the system is proven and operating at scale, one can tackle the harder use cases like artisanal mines.”

Almost no further information has surfaced regarding Circulor or their alleged partnership, which has to be officially acknowledged by BMW.  Additionally, Circulor appears not to have an official website, with their London registration[5] and incorporation as a Private limited Company in November 2017 their only publicly-available information.  

The latest move continues the trend in the automotive industry, specifically in Germany, focusing on the use of Blockchain to foster innovation and cut costs.

On March 5 Cointelegraph reported that Mercedes Benz owner Daimler[6] had launched a brand new cryptocurrency. Known as MobiCoin, the currency is designed to reward drivers for safe and eco-friendly driving and is currently in a three-month test phase with 500 car owners.

In late February, Cointelegraph reported that Porsche[7] had successfully implemented and tested Blockchain tech in cooperation with Berlin-based startup XAIN.