oBike buddies up with a blockchain company to launch its own cryptocurrency

Cashless payments are all the rage these days. And with Razer’s Tan Min-Liang delivering on his proposal of a new cashless system for Singapore to adopt, our country’s Smart Nation™ goals are here to stay.

And crypocurrencies are just a next step in cashless payments.

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the opening of Singapore’s first cryptocurrency café, Ducatus. And now, we have bike sharing app oBike partnering up with Chinese blockchain platform Tron to officially launch the company’s own cryptocurrency, oCoins, in the first quarter of 2018.

You would be forgiven for not having heard of Tron till now. In addition to running its blockchain platform, the China-based company has its own cryptocurrency, Tronix, or TRX for short. Currently ranked 19th on the cryptocurrencies list, it is still relatively undervalued in the world of alternative currencies. And no, it has no affiliation with Disney and its Tron franchise of movies.

Still more necessary than this film was.

The newly introduced virtual currency will have multiple uses. Similar to Ducatus’ model, you will be able to top up a virtual wallet with oCoins, and use them to pay for your rides. But their usefulness extends beyond oBike’s ride sharing app.

But why would a bike-sharing company want to have a cryptocurrency? Let’s explore the reasons why.

Why does oBike need a cryptocurrency?

Convenience across countries

Technically, this deal means that it will be easier than ever to get riding with oBike. oCoins can be used in every country oBike has a presence in, giving you access to a set of wheels in 20 countries across Europe, Asia and Australia without worrying about exchange rates.

Allows transactions to partner apps

As mentioned above, wielders of oCoin will be able to splash their virtual moolah on Tron’s suite of entertainment apps. Popular community apps frequently used in China, like Peiwo and Uplive, will allow their online content to be bought with the newly minted cryptocurrency. Users of any other app on Tron’s entertainment platform can enjoy the same benefits.

Although, to be fair, these are apps that have a majority of their userbase in China. If Tron doesn’t expand their range of entertainment options to spend on, it may be an option that goes largely unused in Singapore.

Make people use oBike more

These new oCoins can help you fulfill the new year’s resolution that you typically give up on before Chinese New Year comes around. oBike is apparently going to give riders oCoins for using their bikes, with more coins earned the longer they ride. Celebrate leg day more often and earn coins. Sounds like a win-win.

But we’ll choose to suspend our disbelief until the exact numbers are released.

Coming to a dystopian future near you

Forced exclusivity

Here’s where things start getting more sinister.

By forcing users to move to oCoins, oBike is indirectly forcing us to stick to them and their partner apps. If these partner apps only accept oCoins, then we’ll all have to own some oCoins just to use these services.

Which is why forced exclusivity sucks. It sucks for people who enjoy watching TV shows who have to subscribe to multiple Video on Demand services to keep up with their favourite shows. It sucks for gamers who have to purchase multiple consoles to play all the latest Game of the Year contenders. It sucks for the franchisee, the local provider, the customer and everyone who isn’t the host company. And I’m pretty darn sure Ofo and Mobike aren’t going to start accepting a competitor’s currency as a valid payment system.

So that leaves customers feeling locked to one bike sharing app because the currency they purchased is only valid with the company they purchased it from.


Cryptos are here for good

With the myriad of cashless options out there, it can get confusing for citizens to keep track. Keeping a deck of cards in your wallet can be as troublesome as storing a wad of cash.

FlashPay, anyone?

Furthermore, everything happens very quickly in the cryptocurrency world. It has to, when prices can rise and fall on an hourly basis without warning. Cryptocurrencies benefit greatly from news-driven demand, driven by a hype machine comprised of people encouraging each other to hold onto their coins in hopes of reaping greater rewards.

Buy the rumour, sell the news. This age-old investment adage encourages investors to quickly dump stock after speculations ring true in order to take advantage of the swelling bubble.

At least we’ll always have good old fashioned Ofo and Mobike to fall back on. Until the introduction of Oforium and MoCoin, that is. Mo coins, mo problems indeed.

Featured image from Twitter.