According to Reuters, German Automobile manufacturer BMW is working with a London-based blockchain startup to ensure the cobalt used in the batteries of their electric cars is from a clean and secure source.
The issue with Cobalt is that about two thirds of the world’s cobalt come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. One fifth of the cobalt mined in Congo is taken from unregulated artisanal mines, which represents a danger for the Congolese miners.
Circulor, the startup that is working with BMW, is developing a blockchain that will map the sources of the cobalt used by the automotive giant. They will ensure that the cobalt comes from Australia, Canada or industrial mining plants in Congo.
According to Circulor’s CEO, Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, “We believe it makes economic sense to start with sources that aren’t a problem, once the system is proven and operating at scale, one can tackle the harder use cases like artisanal mines.”
In the future, artisanal mines will be able to supply cobalt to BMW if they can prove on the blockchain that they are not exploiting children and that they follow certain security guidelines.