IOTA (MIOTA)–At this point in the bear cycle, stories of adoption are being being met by investors with muffled grunts and outright frustration. Two years ago, cryptocurrency was starved for news of established companies developing partnerships with the coins, or at the very least drawing interest. Despite the downward spiral of pricing for currencies across the market, 2018 has been a year filled with high-profile partnerships and acceptance by companies that will drive real world use.
Among the list of companies to initiate pilot programs with cryptocurrency, IOTA’s partnership with German-based automaker Volkswagen has been one of the largest. While the actual implications of a partnership with a company whose assets total in excess of 480 billion USD has flown under the radar, it comes in part due to the publicity image of VW in the aftermath of 2015’s emissions scandal. The public outside of crypto may see Volkswagen’s partnership with a cryptocurrency that has built ties with the United Nations as an attempt to grab at straws: the language surrounding the most recent VW-IOTA press release slanted in heavy favor of “accountability” and “security.”
However, many within crypto see the natural progression of IOTA, a currency being built to unite the world of IoT devices, and the looming conundrum of fully-automated vehicles. The integration of a cryptocurrency into automobiles not only eases the transition into a driver-less car economy, but plays to the strength of ride sharing and decentralized transportation already made popular by Uber and Lyft.
IOTA’s position with Volkswagen looks good on paper and carries enough influence to constitute a presence at press events, but many investors are still asking the question, “so what?”. Has IOTA managed to capture genuine attention within the automobile world, and are they being taken seriously by their partners at the Volkswagen group, whose holding includes Audi, Porsche and (the ever popular) Lamborghini?
Reddit users would say yes.
One curious Redditor, u/4745454B, posed the above question on whether the average Volkswagen employee has been given any information about the 2019’s official roll out of IOTA functionality. It turns out, from the small anecdotal sample given, Volkswagen is apparently taking the integration of cryptocurrency very seriously, with the expectation of IOTA functionality to be a selling point in next year’s offering.
As outlined in the Reddit posts, VW is informing employees, particularly those on the sales side of business, about IOTA as an effort to boost branding for the car. While other car manufacturers have announced nascent partnerships with blockchain startups, clearly Volkswagen views its plunge into cryptocurrency via IOTA as an early mover advantage. Blockchain startups and other crypto-lite tech companies may bring some of the decentralized and security benefits popular within the industry, but they lack the established appeal of coins like IOTA. The IOTA Foundation brings mature development within the space, growing partnerships (UNOPS) and the potential for greater innovation, such as Qubic smart contracts announced at the beginning of June.
However, these currencies do come with reputation. The 70-90% plunge in valuation since last all-time high has given cryptocurrency, including IOTA, the appearance of extensive volatility and uncertain profit. But largely for investors. The VW Group loses nothing from the plunging price of IOTA; they gain all of the utility of cryptocurrency with none of the exposure to price. Remember that crypto may be made up of currencies, but they are technologies at their base which can be used like any other tool.
The volatile price of cryptocurrency can scare away the shareholders of an Amazon or Starbucks, but Volkswagen has everything to gain by partnering with the next stage of innovation to hit the automobile industry.