The pendulum has swung indisputably toward electric vehicles and environmental regulation is accelerating momentum. For example, the European Union declared that at least 30 million electric vehicles (EVs) should be rolling onto the roads of the continent by 2030 (which would be roughly equivalent to 10% of all vehicles, based on current figures). China’s systematic 5 Year Plans continue to target greater production and sales of EVs, with a government target of 40% of EVs in the population of vehicles by 2030. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the EV-share of the entire global car market is likely to reach 60% by 2040 and these vehicles are markets on wheels.
In the services sector, the increasing popularity of ride sharing has signalled a willingness by consumers to change their habits in response to new market offerings. According to BusinessWire, ride-sharing is poised to grow at a rate of almost 20% until 2026. Analysts predict ride-sharing has opened the door to the idea of car-sharing, especially in urban areas, where consumers will save – or, at least, share – the high costs of shelter, maintenance, and insurance on a car.
Automobile manufacturers, already bleeding from a global shortage in semiconductor chips, have been working through the pandemic to find ways to retain brand loyalty. Already well down the path toward electric vehicles and connected cars, manufacturers have broadened their ideas of what consumers will want from whether a vehicle gets you from Point A to Point B. What will consumers want and how will it be possible to generate new revenue streams? Some consumers may want to be able to use the car’s interior space as a mobile office. Others may want a place to relax, or multi-task by taking care of their personal errands.
Taken together, there are clear signs that the inside of a car is being refashioned into a mobile marketplace, offering on-demand transportation services as well as introducing ancillary services. In the US, drivers spend about 160 million hours in traffic every day. Industry forecasters point out that autonomous vehicles will free up a lot of attention. For all these reasons and for the ability to offer new features before vehicles become fully autonomous, many top tier car manufacturers have had the development of infotainment and in-transit shopping services as part of their plan.
Car-Sharing Introduces New Payment Requirements
In a shared mobility future, each car may serve many customers. A future fleet of shared electric vehicles will require extensive charging infrastructure and convenient payment options. Groups of friends had trouble splitting the bill for dinner before modern cash apps like Venmo came along. How will strangers be able to coordinate payments?
The MOBI consortium has developed the idea of vehicle identities, enabling cars to pay road tolls or congestion charges on the fly, without human intervention. Payments at a charging station, however, are more difficult to solve. The point-of-sale (POS) use of credit cards is an insecure method of transacting: according to cybersecurity experts, millions of POS devices of the top two manufacturers have been affected by vulnerabilities that potentially exposed credit card information. And even when payment terminals are not compromised, using a payment intermediary such as a credit card clearinghouse incurs hefty charges. For instance, American Express charges processing fees up to 3.5% on each transaction.
Car- and ride-sharing lower the share of costs to the individual consumer. Rather than shoulder all the responsibility for the housing, fueling, maintenance and insurance for your car, these emerging markets must develop new payment methods. When individual payments decrease, percentage fees charged by intermediaries such as credit cards become more burdensome.
These new payment structures offer an excellent opportunity for a disintermediated payment technology. By eliminating intermediaries and their fees, prices for services will drop, encouraging demand for a market that must find ways to grow.
Car-Sharing Also Introduces Privacy Concerns
The image for this article sums up one vision of consumer-oriented connectivity. In the future, personal entertainment may be guaranteed even in a shared ride, as you can privately listen to your music stream or podcasts in a personal audio zone. On the way home you might choose from restaurants on an augmented reality (AR) screen, order your meal with the voice-activated control system, and have your dinner delivered on the curbside as you arrive. According to Deloitte, passenger time in vehicles converted to consuming media content will reach 52 billion hours annually by 2030, doubling today’s figure.
The payment hurdles from the previous section apply in these domains of infotainment and online shopping. With shared mobility-as-a-service, a problem looms: the moment you share a car, what you do will no longer stay between only you and your car. How will you feel if the next passenger is able to see your browsing or consumption history? In fact, passengers of car sharing services are likely to demand a securely private way of using and paying for infotainment experience.
Cryptocurrency as a Settlement Layer?
Distributed ledger technology promises to disintermediate payments, eliminating middlemen that pose security risks and skim off transactions. However, the volatility of transaction fees remains an obstacle on some of the largest existing blockchain networks. For example, the cost of payments on Ethereum has been well above $10 for most of this year — which would be clearly too high a fee to process a car-charging transaction or a podcast download. In addition, swings in the value of popular cryptocurrencies are too wide for most everyday transactions to be feasible. To fulfill its promise as a reliable method for regular payments, blockchain technology must keep transaction costs reliably low.
Another issue is the limited scalability of existing solutions. Ethereum, for instance, handles an average of roughly 19 transactions per second currently. While deploying side chains may improve scalability, such methods usually involve compromises in terms of the security of the ledger as well as latency, both necessary ingredients for reliable mobility systems. In addition, even though the immutable ledger offers superior data security compared to third-party cloud storage, with the passage of time popular blockchains will be increasingly exposed to well-funded cyberattacks.
The Potential for GeeqPay in the Future of Transportation
As customers and transportation providers become accustomed to markets on wheels, autonomously perform multiple transactions during their journeys, Geeq’s payment solutions offers the potential for low fees through disintermediation and decentralization, more privacy, and the assurance that customers and service providers will be able to make transactions securely. Geeq’s efficient validating networks makes full use of the available connectivity, while its unique tokens enable payment methods to meet the infrastructure where it is.
At Geeq, we have been working hard to prepare for the future, to develop a decentralized payments structure, capable of handling a massive volume of payments and micropayments, with high granularity at a low cost. Importantly, Geeq is not a unitary blockchain network. There is no mainchain. It is an ecosystem of bespoke decentralized networks which share a common validation layer based on its Proof of Honesty protocol.
Geeq’s architecture gives enterprise clients and developers a high degree of flexibility to design a genesis block and blockchain network tailored to their specific needs. Geeq provides a new set of tools for developers to work in a highly flexible, application-agnostic ecosystem which enables evolutionary principles to determine which implementations of blockchain are most useful.
As Geeq makes it easier for consumers to keep control of their payments in every situation, we align incentives across the emerging transportation smart-ecosystem: consumers may share their rides, while manufacturers can develop more options and do good at the same time by making vehicles and cities sustainable.