Fiat’s ‘sustainable driving’ cryptocurrency is utter bollocks

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*Sigh*

I thought we’d gone from stuff like that. It’s not 2017 anymore, but obscure and useless cryptocurrencies are still trying as they could A thing. Over the past few weeks, you may have seen the headlines touting Fiat’s new cryptocurrency partnership with KiriCoin – but please don’t get carried away by how new it is.

According to a press release from Fiat owner Stellantis, KiriCoin is integrated into the ever adorable Fiat 500 companion app. Safe and economical drivers will, in theory, be rewarded with KiriCoin which can then be ‘spent’ on KiriMarket, the own cryptocurrency market. (FYI: I was going to link to the digital storefront, but the url is flagged by my browser as a security risk, take this for what you want).

In the press release, Stellantis said that drivers will be rewarded with Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Zalando gift cards, but none of these are appearing in the Kiri Marketplace yet.

However, as CNET’s Road Show points out, there is virtually nothing of value in the store right now. While that may change in the future, don’t expect it to change.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain startups have a habit of wooing well-known large companies to join their revolutionary Technology. They make big promises, use a lot of buzzwords, and ultimately offer big companies terms that don’t really come with any inherent risk.

But they don’t have any intrinsic value either.

At worst, well-known companies will look a little silly, at worst, if things don’t go well. In that case, if KiriCoin turns out to be overlaid, which it likely will, Fiat can simply remove the functionality of the app or find another way to reward its drivers.

In reality, if Fiat really wanted to, it could develop its own database of drivers and arbitrarily reward them with points that give them discounts on useful items like tires, maintenance, fuel, etc.

Instead, the partnership with KiriCoin gives Stellantis a quick way to say that it is the “first automaker to reward its customers for sustainable driving behavior”. At first glance, it looks like a very honorable pursuit.

There really is no reason for Fiat to partner with a company like Kiri Technologies other than to get the platform up and running quickly and make some sassy, ​​semi-substantiated statements in a press release.

Plus, you’ll also have to drive a lot to earn something worth spending.

The ad says that a kilometer of driving around town is equivalent to around one KiriCoin, which itself is worth around two euro cents. Thus, to earn 150 €, you will have to cover 10,000 km of city driving in one year.

In a weird way, it actually makes people drive in cities, which isn’t the most sustainable choice to begin with. By driving less each year, you could quite easily save € 150 in fuel. So I’m not sure the logic here is fully verified.

Other similar programs, implemented in England’s West Midlands, instead reward drivers for not using their cars, which appears to be a much more sustainable option.

Although it appears to be the first to get it off the ground, Stellantis isn’t the first automaker to offer a cryptocurrency rewards program.

Jaguar Land Rover has reportedly been in talks with IOTA to use the blockchain startup’s technology to reward drivers for sharing data on their journeys. That was a few years ago, and yet we still have nothing, and we don’t know where those conversations are leading.

In 2019, a new app launched for Product Hunt called Lympo Squat. He would use your phone’s camera to track your movements as you do squats, then he would reward you with Lym tokens for each successful squat.

I did the math, and you should do 5,000 squats to make $ 8. As with Fiat and KiriCoin, there is a lot you need to do to make it worth it. And if you really care about sustainability and the environment, you shouldn’t need a poxy cryptocurrency to allow you to drive sensibly. If you do, you deserve nothing for your efforts.

At the moment, Fiat’s KiriCoin partnership is only available in 13 European countries, but I wouldn’t mind if you feel like you’re missing out – you really aren’t.


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Published March 23, 2021 – 09:47 UTC


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