When the car pays for itself

The lab lies hidden behind thick concrete walls, the path leads through gray security doors, past secure server rooms in Germany’s largest corporate data center. Toan Nguyen, his access card in his hand, opens the door, goes in, the noisy bubbles of the radiator fill the room. At the server blocks are the names of IT-sizes, IBM, Fujitsu and Oracle, in the corner stands a high table with red stools. For several months now, specialists from corporations and start-ups have regularly been there, united in their work on the future, in the search for applications for the blockchain .

Nguyen manages the business development and cloud platform at E-Shelter, which is well-known in the industry for its data centers and houses the digital secrets of hundreds of companies here in Frankfurt-Rödelheim. With the innovation lab, the company wants to provide a platform on which companies can try out new technologies in a protected area. Blockchain has long been much more than a buzzword in this place; it is a technology that will play a key role in the cross-linking of things. “We’re in the same phase with Blockchain as with the Internet before the millennium,” says Nguyen.

So much is possible with this type of database systems, which can be better described with the term “Distributed Ledger Technology” – short DLT – than with the related term Blockchain: Distributed cash books – a technique for networked computers that autonomously and forgery-proof the order of Determine transactions. Such systems can do without centralized authorities such as banks or notaries; Confidence results from the large number of computers that together verify transactions and database entries. Once an entry has been made, nobody can change it anymore.

This general definition makes it clear that in the tenth year after the invention of the crypto-currency Bitcoin, it is about much more than the money of the future or the speculation with virtual currencies in search of fast wealth.

It’s about shaping the digital transformation that is going to change factory production, supply chains and logistics plans, financial services and stock exchanges, and large parts of the economy forever.

Dominic Schiener is sure that DLT will play a central role in this. Three years ago, the entrepreneur from South Tyrol founded the digital payment system Iota with two partners, deposited with a cryptocurrency and so sought after by the industry that Bosch bought a substantial share months ago and companies such as Deutsche Telekom and Volkswagen belong to Schiener’s partners , He hopes to be able to set a standard with Iota for the Internet of Things, in which machines communicate autonomously, in which autonomously driving cars can pay tolls and collect fees or a networked container triggers a transfer as soon as it is on board stowed. “With DLT, I no longer need contracts for such things,” says Schiener, adding, ” We develop the technology for and with the industry. There is no other way.”

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