BMW partners with Blockchain startup to source ethical “clean” cobalt

BMW has reportedly partnered with a London-based Blockchain startup Circulor to source ethical “clean” cobalt.

The German automotive giant is pushing for the batteries of its electric vehicles to only contain clean cobalt.

Almost two thirds of cobalt supplies come from the Democratic Republic of Congo – where it’s been reported that unregulated artisanal mines use child labor.BMW_BlockchainAccording to Reuters, the UK startup is working on a pilot for BMW to track cobalt supplies that are clean “from jurisdictions such as Australia and Canada or from industrial production in Congo.”

“We believe it makes economic sense to start with sources that aren’t a problem,” Circulor CEO Douglas Johnson-Poensgen told Reuters in an interview. “Once the system is proven and operating at scale, one can tackle the harder use cases like artisanal mines.”

Johnson-Poensgen said that the pilot makes it possible to give clean cobalt a barcode and track it on an immutable ledger using blockchain technology.

There’s not much additional information about the partnership and BMW has not officially confirmed it yet.

BMW is the latest German automaker embracing the use of Blockchain technology. Last week it was announced that BMW partnered with Chinese Blockchain-based supply chain enhancement platform VeChain. 

Porsche recently announced that it is testing blockchain applications in its vehicles. In a statement Porsche said that in collaboration with Berlin-based start-up XAIN it has become the “first automobile manufacturer to implement and successfully test blockchain in a car.”

What is a blockchain?

A blockchain is a list of records that is forever expanding. We call each record a ‘block.’ The blocks link to the blockchain thanks to cryptography, i.e., special codes.

Each block has a hash point plus a timestamp and transaction data.

Virtually all cryptocurrencies today use blockchain technology.

With blockchains, there is no central ledger that stores all the data. The data is distributed across the whole network, i.e., it is a distributed ledger system. In other words, each block holds all the data.

This makes it virtually impossible to hack into a blockchain network, manipulate data, or carry out an effective cyber attack.