In an unprecedented move, homegrown bike-sharing company oBike has announced that it will launch its own cryptocurrency called oCoins, to be used exclusively with the company’s bikes. Starting from the first quarter of 2018, oBike users will be able to pay for their rides and top up their oBike wallets using oCoins. Every ride will generate oCoins; so the longer you ride, the more oCoins you earn; which basically means oBike is paying you to use them.
The mysterious oCoins are created in partnership with Tron, a blockchain-based decentralized protocol. The platform, which allows users to freely store and own data in decentralized forms, has its own cryptocurrency called Tronix, ranked 18 worldwide in the list of cryptocurrencies. With oCoins, however, oBike users can use them to purchase apps and online content on Tron’s platform, on top of paying for the bicycles.
It’s all fun and games, until the risks of cryptocurrency come kicking in. While the allure of cryptocurrency may have ricocheted in recent months, given the now infamous Bitcoin’s surge in value this year alone, experts have warned against investing overconfidently in the cryptocurrency. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has stressed that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, and hence come with no regulatory safety nets. Blindly placing faith in it can instead come with hefty repercussions (the current value of a single Bitcoin stands at approximately $20,860).
Still, the cryptocurrency bubble continues to grow uncertainly, and where there is money, people will follow. Tread cautiously, oBikers, but don’t be too shocked when you’ll have to start unlocking your bikes with
imaginary virtual coins.