oBike to launch its own cryptocurrency

People who hire the two-wheelers of oBike can choose to pay with a cryptocurrency the local bike-sharing operator plans to introduce next year.

To be called oCoins, it will be launched in the first quarter of 2018 in a tie-up with blockchain platform Tron, the company said yesterday.

Describing the move as a world's first of its kind, its statement added that "users will soon be able to ride and earn, thanks to the new partnership".

The tie-up means oCoins can be used beyond just hiring the bicycles. These include using the cryptocurrency to buy online content or on any app found on Tron's platform, oBike said.

For instance, purchases can be made from audio content community Peiwo and live-streaming app Uplive. Also, oCoins can be used to top up an oBike user's account, or e-wallet. In addition, users can generate oCoins when they use oBikes, with more coins earned the longer they ride.

Tron is a decentralised online content entertainment ecosystem. Its cryptocurrency, called Tronix, or TRX for short, is ranked 18th worldwide in the list of cryptocurrencies, according to the statement.

TRX has a market capitalisation of US$2.6 billion (S$3.5 billion) and is currently trading at 4 US cents.

Tron's founder, Mr Justin Sun, said he is certain the Tron ecosystem would appeal to oBike users.

Similarly, oBike co-founder and chief marketing officer Edward Chen said he is confident oCoins will be "an attractive proposition for users to continue riding oBike in more ways than one".

Ng Huiwen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'oBike to launch its own cryptocurrency'. Print Edition | Subscribe