Wanxiang said that it will invest $30 billion in a project that will integrate blockchain technologies with smart city innovations. The project will involve the purchase of 83 million square feet of land in Hangzhou, where Wanxiang is headquartered.
Industry pundits predict that blockchain technology could revolutionize the Internet of Things (IoT), as it is capable of verifying a device’s every transaction, communication and change.
This type of verification will become crucially important in smart cities where increasing numbers of connected devices will begin spouting data from all corners of the urban environment.
“We want to use blockchain to manage IoT, and use it help devices to interact with each other,” said Feng Xiao, vice chairman of Wanxiang. “Smart appliances can be managed with blockchain.”
In a similar vein, the government of Dubai announced earlier this year that its innovation department will be integrating blockchain into its smart city strategy.
How Wanxiang will integrate blockchain with smart city projects is still being formulated, but company representatives are in talks with Microsoft and IBM on future collaboration.
The project is expected to develop innovations at the intersection of cars, smart cities and blockchain. One example given was how the cost of electric cars could be reduced by using blockchain to confirm and enforce property rights in urban environments of the future.
Wanxiang already launched a blockchain lab
Wanxiang has already proven keen on blockchain technology with its launch of its $50 million Wanxiang Blockchain Labs. As well in $500,000 of ether cryptocurrency was purchased by a Wanxiang subsidiary in 2015.
And as part of the project, the company will be actively looking to finance blockchain entrepreneurs who may be developing innovations that will align with Wanxiang’s initiative.
“We can’t tackle all the use cases that might arise from the smart city project,” said Feng. “That’s why we’re opening it up to use cases from all over the world.”
Wanxiang owns the American electric car manufacturer Karma and is planning to build a $375 million plant for making battery-powered vehicles.