Robert Bosch Venture Capital makes first investment in distributed ledger technology

Move broadens the potential for new business models for the IoT in any number of verticals

Ramy Caspi
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The Stuttgart-based Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group, is joining forces with the IOTA Foundation, which is the central body of the altcoin.

RBVC has purchased a significant amount of IOTA tokens, one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world. In doing so it hopes to intensify the collaboration with the IOTA Foundation, an open-source non-profit foundation from Germany. RBVC also intends to elevate the technology to maturity by bringing it closer to Bosch’s global ecosystem and key partners.

Distributed ledger technology will play an important role in the industry of tomorrow,” said Dr. Ingo Ramesohl, Managing Director at RBVC. “Bosch is one of the pioneers actively driving the adoption of distributed ledger technology in the automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) industry. The investment in IOTA’s token, the first ever token investment of RBVC, will help us working closely with the IOTA Foundation to explore the industrialization of this exciting technology.”

RBVC’s investment broadens the potential for new business models for the IoT in any number of verticals and uniquely positions IOTA and Bosch to take on the challenges of IoT together. Dr. Hongquan Jiang, Partner at RBVC, will join the IOTA Foundation’s advisory board. The investment follows the successful launch of IOTA’s data marketplace, with more than 30 leading companies worldwide participating.

IOTA, which is the first distributed ledger technology to go beyond a Blockchain, enables machines to securely transact data and money with each other. This is the stepping stone to new innovative IoT based applications and business models such as mobility, energy or industry 4.0. The IOTA technology has already enabled more than 10 billion dollars to be transacted, and has been utilized for use cases including transparent value chains, secure over-the-air updates and feeless micropayment-based electric vehicle charging or parking.

The news follows the successful launch of IOTA’s data marketplace, with more than 30 participants such as Accenture Labs, Deutsche Telekom, Fujitsu, Orange, Samsung Artik, TINE and many more.

Established in 2015, the IOTA protocol is an open-source distributed ledger protocol for the Internet of Things, enabling scalable and machine-to-machine payments as well as the secure data transfer of sensors.

The IOTA technology has already enabled more than $10 billion to be transacted and has been utilized for user cases including transparent value chains, secure Over-the-Air updates and 'feeless' micropayment-based electric vehicle charging, parking and more

IOTA and other distributed ledger solutions could help manage large enterprise IoT deployments because of their ability to automate back-end functions. Jiang said that, while IOTA is still in its early stages, RBVC sees it being able to help IoT projects scale up while reducing transaction costs. A use case for the IOTA platform could involve, for instance, a machine that identifies when it needs a replacement part, and then automatically orders that part and pays for it directly through the platform. This is a significant innovation because most other IoT predictive maintenance applications typically only alert a human worker when a replacement part needs to be ordered. Using the IOTA platform instead could save companies time and money by limiting the involvement of a human technician.

Distributed ledgers can also help secure IoT implementations by providing a tamper-proof ledger for data produced by connected devices.

In doing so, RBVC wants to intensify the collaboration with IOTA and help accelerate the technology to maturity by bringing it closer to Bosch’s global ecosystem and key partners.

Synergies between Bosch and IOTA Foundation expected; “We have been working with the IOTA team for more than one year. I'm very excited about IOTA's innovative tangle technology, which could potentially become the standard underlying technology for trustless machine to machine communication, security and payment in the IoT space,” said Dr. Hongquan Jiang. “There will be much synergy between Bosch and the IOTA Foundation, and I'm looking forward to seeing more industrial adoptions of this technology in the near future.”

The purchase of IOTA tokens by RBVC is a strong vote of confidence for the technology and the ecosystem we have built over the years,” said Dominik Schiener, Co-Founder of IOTA. ”Distributed ledgers are the future when it comes to truly unleashing the IoT, and with IOTA we see the potential of becoming the backbone of this emerging Machine Economy. We will continue to intensify our collaboration with leading IoT companies and hope to have the first go-to-market solutions ready by the end of 2018.”

Bosch and IOTA have been in contact since 2015 and are working together on multiple fronts, including the Trusted IoT Alliance (TIOTA) and other projects,” said David Sønstebø, Co-Founder of IOTA.

The decision by RBVC to acquire a significant amount of iota tokens solidifies the idea of the Machine Economy and how significant leaders in this space share our vision.”