A new proof-of-concept lets you lease a car in a matter of minutes thanks to a combination of Visa, DocuSign and blockchain technology
Visa and DocuSign have unveiled a new proof-of-concept that uses bitcoin blockchain technology to revolutionise the car leasing process, allowing people to rent a car without having to plough through reams of paperwork.
The project aims to digitise the whole process, from configuring the lease, insurance and other expenses like parking and tolls, to digitally signing and paying for the car itself.
“Leasing a new sports car – or any car for that matter – should be fun, it should be exciting. The problem is, the paperwork and process involved often diminish that experience,” said Ron Hirson, head of product at DocuSign in a blog post.
“So we wanted to find a way to reimagine the experience and bring the magic back. To make the moment special again. To ensure someone can literally walk in and drive out in a matter of minutes.”
To begin the process, the car is given a unique digital identity, which is registered on the blockchain – the secure ledger database used to record transactions over broadly-distributed computer networks.
This is linked to the customer’s DocuSign’s eSignature and integrated with Visa’s payment technology, so that they can pay for the lease and insurance, as well as in-car payments like tolls, maintenance services and parking, on the fly.
“From the driver’s seat, the customer then chooses the lease options for the car – low, mid or high mileage, for example and DocuSigns the leasing contract right there and then. This is all in turn updated on the blockchain,” said Mr Hirson.
“They then choose their insurance options in the familiar way – evaluating by coverage, deductible and other factors. They would again DocuSign the agreements, and the blockchain would again be updated.”
With the lease and insurance contracts signed and the credit card details integrated, the customer is ready to drive away. From there, the car can do many things automatically, like pay tolls, download music of even order a take-away pizza.
“Much like Visa put its card into the (Apple) Watch (providing on-wrist Apple Pay capability) this is just putting your card into your car. The vehicle becomes a smart asset that offers two-way communication that can benefit consumers,” Mr Hirson told USA Today.
DocuSign said this is just one of the projects it is working on with Visa. The two companies have a long history of collaboration, and Visa is also a strategic investor in DocuSign.
They claim that the concept can be applied not only to car leasing but to anything from renting or buying a new home to setting up new services and utilities.
Earlier this year, Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock MP told the Telegraph that blockchain could also have a role to play in the digital state of the future.
“Blockchain is itself a way of verifying the accuracy of data, and has all sorts of applications that we are only beginning to understand,” he said.
“In some cases it replaces the need for a central verification. Just because that has been a role for the government in the past, doesn’t mean new technology can’t do it more efficiently.”