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When trends collide - dockless bike share operator launches its own cryptocurrency

Singapore-based oBike, which launched in Oxford and London this year, says users will be able to earn its oCoins while they ride

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.

> London council's 'abandoned Obike' removal boast backfires

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.

Launched in Singapore in February this year, oBike has since expanded to countries including Australia, Belgium, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and the UK.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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