One of the big stories in cycling in 2017 has been the spread worldwide of dockless bike hire schemes. Recent weeks have also seen a lot of attention paid by the mainstream media to so-called cryptocurrencies given the huge rise – and subsequent fall – in the value of Bitcoin in the run-up to Christmas.
Now, one of the main protagonists of the first of those trends, Singapore-based oBike, is looking to harness the interest in the latter by launching its own cryptocurrency called oCoins.
The company, which launched in the UK this year, deploying its bikes in Oxford and the London Boroughs of Wandsworth – where the local council subsequently removed them – has announced a partnership with blockchain platform Tron, reports The Straits Times.
In a statement issued yesterday, oBike said that oCoins will be launched in the first quarter of 2018 and that “in a world's first of its kind, users will soon be able to ride and earn, thanks to the new partnership.”
Users of oBikes will be able to top up their virtual wallets and pay for their rides using the cryptocurrency, which they will also generate when using the bicycles – earning more the longer they ride.
The company, which claims 10 million users worldwide, says Tron’s cryptocurrency Tronix, also known as TRX, is the 18th highest ranked cryptocurrency in the world.
Edward Chen, co-founder of oBike and its chief marketing officer, said: "As a tech company, we are dedicated to bringing better value and benefits to our users through constant innovation and mutually beneficial partnerships.”
According to Chen, oCoins are set to be "an attractive proposition for users to continue riding oBike in more ways than one."
Tron founder Justin Sun announced the partnership on Twitter on Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas! We are exciting to announce our partnership with Obike. Obike is one of the largest sharing economy companies active in 20 countries across Europe, Asia and Australia with 10 million users. Obike will launch sharing bike application and Ocoin based on #TRON #trx pic.twitter.com/dG60lo7iZb
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) December 24, 2017
Launched in Singapore in February this year, oBike has since expanded to countries including Australia, Belgium, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and the UK.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.