Commuters become crypto users, as DOVU signs loyalty deal with rail service

While blockchain emerged first as a platform for currency and value, its employment in the tokenization of data and information has become recognized as being of at least, if not more, underlying value. You could perhaps even use it to track movements on a grid associated with mobility. That was the underlying idea behind the launch a couple of years ago of DOVU, a London-based startup that aims to become “the global marketplace for transport data.” DOVU is backed by seed funding from InMotion Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s investment arm, and Creative England, a fund backed by the U.K. government.

Founder and CEO Irfon Watkins aims to use blockchain to provide trust for corporates or individuals in data sets for public and enterprise use. The DOVU system works by creating a distributed marketplace for transport data. That would mean vehicle hire, insurance companies, ridesharing and others could be connected to create a network of transport-related data resources.

This shared data becomes more valuable because it’s shared, not because it’s locked into one platform.

The startup will now begin work with FTSE 250-listed rail company Go-Ahead, to improve the experience for their rail customers.

Go-Ahead will use DOVU’s blockchain-powered reward platform to learn more about its customers and to incentivize changes in passenger behavior.

The rail firm currently runs more than a billion passenger journeys each year on their bus and rail services.

DOVU’s project will first be rolled out on Go-Ahead’s Thameslink and Southern Rail services.

Users will be able to “earn” cryptocurrency when they share their travel data; this then will help Go-Ahead better understand travel habits and better communicate with customers. But of course, when I say earn, I mean they will earn tokens as a sort of loyalty points.

It’s essentially a loyalty scheme running on a blockchain platform, where the token becomes the loyalty tracking device.

If data is “the oil of the new economy,” as the consultants like to call it, then it’s clear that transport users are poised to become the new oil miners.