China Mobile telecommunications giant is trying to show everyday consumers the value of blockchain by incorporating technology into a standard domestic product.
The Internet of Things (IoT) unit of the company has developed a water purifier with an integrated computing chip and an IoT module. Like other IoT-related devices, it will collect data on user behavior, which will be valuable to manufacturers and suppliers.
But according to Xiao Yi, director of China Mobile IoT's product market, this smart device will stand out from most consumers by giving consumers something in return for their data – and that's where blockchain comes in.
Depending on the duration and frequency with which consumers use the product, they will earn a blockchain token called PWMC, which can then redeem for substitute filters or purchase other assets.
This reward system will provide an incentive for use that is lacking in other IoT products, said Xiao, while at the same time making the blockchain relatively to the average person who does not spend all day trading cryptocurrency.
"Our goal is to attract those who are not in the cryptocurrency or in the blockchain community, who may have heard of this technology but do not necessarily understand it," he told CoinDesk, adding:
"To embrace more traditional adoption, we have to turn something that looks professional into something that is very common."
To be sure, the water purifier is far from a mass market product. At the moment, it is only available for one month crowdfunding campaign on the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, with the goal of raising 200,000 yuan or $ 30,000 by January 21 (buyers will only receive the device, tokens must be earned using it).
The sale is conducted by Chain Infinity, a company based in Guangzhou jointly created by the IoT division of China Mobile, as well as Jingtum and MOAC, two blockchain startups based in China.
The project was launched towards the end of 2017. In addition to encouraging user participation in tokens, Xiao said that a key purpose for China Mobile IoT to move to blockchain is the unique feature of the technology to record data in a test-proof manner. of tampering.
The devices have both computing chips and IoT modules so that they are connected to the Internet without relying on wi-fi and can be run as individual nodes so that information on the use of consumers can be transferred and recorded on a distributed network.
According to Xiao, these data will be recorded SWTC, a public blockchain based on the Byzantine error tolerance consent algorithm launched by China Mobile Jingtum's technical partner.
But wait, there's more …
Water purifiers follow a blockchain-enabled line televisions that China Mobile was launched for sale through Chain Infinity on November 11th, the Chinese equivalent of the sale of Black Friday Thanksgiving in the United States.
Likewise, televisions incorporate IoT modules and calculation chips that connect to the SWTC network as individual nodes for recording information about user behavior.
In addition, by installing the televisions, consumers activate a cloud mining contract for the bitcoin network that Chain Infinity has signed with the mining farms. Depending on the model, the contract period could last from two to three years, after which a certain amount of bitcoin is promised to the owner of the TV as a return.
And because all the resources will be stored in cryptographic portfolios created by the accounts registered on Chain Infinity, Xiao said that they can be used to purchase other consumer goods available in the store or to be exchanged against one another.
"Based on existing laws, the exchange of tokens for tokens or tangible assets is not illegal, provided they do not trade them in cash," Xiao said. "And China Mobile has SIM cards, prepaid packages and other consumer goods – you can use tokens directly or participate in a flexible but compliant barter."
In September 2017, the People's Bank of China issued a ban on initial coin-supplying activities and fiat-t-crypto spot trading. However, since then, over-the-counter and crypto-to-crypto trading is still accessible to Chinese investors.
China Mobile is one of the three large state-owned telecommunications companies in China. Founded in 2006, China Mobile IoT is a subsidiary of properties that has implemented various consumer modules and business solutions to enable mobile connectivity for home products such as cars and cameras.
Xiao said the water purifier and TV are the first steps of his blockchain experiment. In addition, China Mobile has also signed a partnership agreement with MOAC, another public blockchain project that launched its network in April 2018, to launch a standardized business solution to combine IoT modules and blockchain computing chips.
The goal, according to Xiao, would be to license this technology to other companies that are interested in launching blockchain-like IoT products.
That said, he added that, depending on the user's habits, this concept may not apply to all types of IoT devices. Xiao concluded:
"In general, it is more suitable for larger household objects that have a higher and continuous application on a daily and regular basis."
China Mobile image via Shutterstock