Buying a second-hand car is rated as one of the scariest things consumers have to do, being rated somewhere down the line with going to the dentist. The thought of buying a car, often the second biggest purchase after a house, creates thoughts of distrust to the dealership, where prices are often non-consumer friendly and often with hidden fees at the end. There is a reason why second-hand car salesmen are rated as being one of the least trusted professions.
That’s not to say that there aren’t genuine and trustworthy car salesman, I’ve been working in the automotive industry for a while now and have seen very capable people, but it’s a simple fact that consumers see it that way.
And, predominately in the past, second-hand cars have been sold with all kinds of problems. Cars that needed critical repairs, fixer-uppers that are being sold as ready to go. Non-original parts being used in repairs and, one of the most well-known tricks, tinkering with the mileage. Just to name a few.
Add a lot of dealerships selling their cars without a warranty and it’s understandable that some wrong purchases have been made and a certain sentiment has crept up.
But it’s not only the consumer that can make a wrong purchase. Dealers themselves are also prone to buying cars that have a shady history. Cars can have hidden damages, lack the proper maintenance, or can even be stolen without them knowing about it.
It’s a problem that is at the forefront for OEMs as well and even goes as high as being on the agenda of the European Union. Stating that mileage fraud alone “costs an estimated €5.6- €9.6 billion a year to consumers, second-hand car dealers, leasing companies, insurers, and manufacturers.”
It’s vital that a car’s history is transparent and correct, but it has always been a challenge to guarantee the information that is delivered with the car is true. That is until blockchain technology entered the industry. The decentralized distributed ledger technology ensures data can be stored in a way that can’t be tampered with, making fraud almost impossible. There is a company that is working hard to make this a reality, and that is pioneering the market. That company is CarVertical, and we’ll tell you all about what they have done so far and what their future plans are in this DeepDIve!
What is car vertical
CarVertical launched in January 2018, and they mainly have a presence in (Eastern) Europe. Their HQ is based in Lithuania. Their product can be described as the first blockchain-based car history registry and their main goal is to give car buyers all the information they need before purchasing a vehicle. They offer a wide variety of important information regarding the vehicle and by using blockchain technology every customer can be certain that the information is not, and cannot be, tampered with. In essence, they are helping the automotive industry become more transparent and less fraudulent. The information isn’t limited to helping people buy cars though, it also includes car and service history.
The CarVertical platform is built in a way that data is retrieved from different sources and then bundled into one package. Information is gathered from classifieds sites, car dealers, GPS tracking companies, insurance companies, OEM car part websites, and official governmental institutions.
The ultimate goal is to build the first global and decentralized car history registry and they are making the right moves to make this a reality. In a relatively short time, they have been able to onboard over 20 countries, including the US, Russia, and a large part of Europe.
What information can be retrieved from a CarVertical Report?
The CarVertical reports deliver an impressive amount of information for every vehicle in its database. Buyers will receive the following:
Summary: A quick overview of the most important information CarVertical has acquired. Buyers can see if their car has been stolen, has been in an accident, has a tampered odometer, or any other important information at a glance.
Spotted Activity: At the spotted Activity overview buyers find information on where cars have been registered and if they have been registered as a special status vehicle such as a rental, driving school, or taxi vehicle.
Stolen Vehicle Check: All cars are checked if they have been reported stolen in any of the countries where CarVertical has this information available.
Mileage: Besides the estimated mileage, CarVertical also checks the odometer in a variety of ways to ensure it has not been tampered with if such information is available.
Maintenance: CarVertical shows both when the next maintenance has to be done, and what manufacturers recommended maintenance the car should have received in the past.
Damage: The report also includes all known damages the car has had in the past. It shows where the damage was located, the estimated repair costs, and the possible damage type.
Price: All prices that the vehicle has been listed for online previously can be found in this segment.
Specs & Equipment: This section shows general information about the car and all the equipment options that were installed in the factory.
Photo’s: If there are any known pictures available they are shown here
Checklist. CarVertical shows where on the car the VIN number can be found, and these should be identical. Furthermore, they inform buyers of model-specific issues. To top things off, they give a general standard checking procedure to ensure a good on-site inspection.
The reports are extensive and due to the information being untampered with can become invaluable for both dealerships and consumers before making a purchase. With information available that has been collected from different countries and containing the entire lifespan of the car CarVertical makes sure consumers can make an educated offer on the car they are interested in.
The reports are CarVerticals core business at this time, but they have a lot more future plans to change the automotive landscape for good.
For an overview check CarVerticals website for an example
So far CarVertical has been working primarily on their reports, making them more valuable and trying to fill them with as much information as possible. It’s imperative that they get access to data from other countries as well so their userbase can expand and the reports are interesting for cars changing borders as well. However, CarVertical is also working on creating new products. In their letter to investors, the 2 founders wrote about 2 different ideas.
Car ownership App
CarVertical is looking into the possibility of assigning a car to an owner via blockchain technology. If this is made possible the entire ordeal of changing owners will be a lot easier in the future. Simply by making a transaction the new owner will be recognized on the blockchain. Besides ownership, all kinds of information regarding the car can be stored and transferred. The car maintenance, mileage, insurance claims, etc. can all be visible and transparent.
The app itself will also be used as a personal advisor regarding your car, giving you updates on when it needs to get another check-up, and when certain parts should be renewed. When connected to the internet of things (read more in our Blockchain and automotive article) the app could also serve as a way to pay for toll booths, for parking places, and all other transportation-related fees. CarVerticals’ native token CV could be used for these transactions.
Besides the app, the team of CarVertical wants to build the first decentralized exchange where you can buy and sell your car’s data. This data can be generated by OEM’s and car dealers but also by the driver itself. Certain data can be collected while driving for example, and this can, later on, be sold on a marketplace using the CarVertical token for payments.
CarVertical and IOTA are already working together to retrieve data from moving vehicles. Its usage can increase with the next generation of connected cars in the not so distant future.
So far we have been fairly positive about CarVertical and what they are trying to achieve but there are a couple of issues regarding the company that we have to share with our readers. While we do believe that issuing all the cars’ data on the blockchain will become the standard, we aren’t necessarily sure that CarVertical is the company that will accomplish this big endeavor. The team remains focused on their own sector and there are signs of grandeur regarding its management and a lack of progress and seriousness.
Let’s address that first point. In an article that is still on their own site, the CEO talks about why CarVertical is going to be worth over $ 6 Billion dollars in 5 years. Billion with a B. That article was written in December 2017, and we are now halfway those 5 years. CarVerticals current market cap?
$1.7 Million dollars. Nothing to sneeze at but a Long way from $6 Billion.
And then there is the lack of progress. While it’s admirable that data can be retrieved from over 20 countries, there are a couple of really important ones missing. Especially in Western Europe where traditionally a large part of the manufacturers’ market share is found. And while writing this article it was pretty difficult to find some new and up to date information. The last 10 blog posts on their site are all about cars in general. Titles such as: “7 horrendous convertibles that are too ugly to die” and “9 tips for having sex in a car” again show the personality of its’ founders rather than giving the company the appearance a blockchain-data company should have. Furthermore, there hasn’t been an update on their Twitter for over a month, and when looking at the comments in their latest Tweets most are from frustrated investors that are done with waiting for some of the promises made to ever come to fruition.
It seems that CarVertical has a terrific idea but at the moment is lacking the leadership to make that idea a reality. Perhaps with a new injection of freshly motivated employees and investors the CarVertical team can continue putting their heads down and deliver on their vows.
With the backing and collaboration of large OEMs and even the European Union there is a possibility that they can make their dreams a reality, but if they don’t show signs of life and progress soon a competitor might just come along and take their dreams away from them.
We will continue with following CarVertical and similar companies in the future. If you want to stay up to date make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you will be notified when a new article is placed on our site!
Working towards a decentralized future,