I Learned How Much We Need Blockchain From A Falling Branch Destroying My Car

My car was safely parked in my driveway. A large branch broke off of a tree that had recently been checked by an arborist and declared healthy. Ignoring the arborist’s expert opinion, the branch broke off and fell anyway. My formerly sound, two-year-old car was towed to a repair shop, an estimate for repairs made, and my insurance company declared it not worth fixing. Totaled.

But this shocking event had a couple good outcomes. The first was that I ended up leasing a nice new car. The second outcome was some education that is hard to come by, and has serious implications – I learned how valuable Blockchain technology would be in helping to coordinate the information and efforts of my car insurance company, the repair shop, and the car rental company that supplied me with a car until I could get a new one.

Blockchain is the immutable distributed ledger technology, a kind of distributed database that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, whose promise is actively being pursued in many industries. What Blockchain is all about is enabling countless independent parties with independent computer systems to interact with each other in a fast, secure way, sharing information to reach a mutually desired outcome. That’s exactly what we have here, with loads of insurance companies, a number of car rental chains, and untold thousands of car repair shops – all of whom need to share information and coordinate their efforts to help the consumer with the damaged car. Perfect for Blockchain!

Think about the situation. Insurance companies are all about long documents with fine print, and long times on hold waiting to talk with someone who often can’t, in the end, do much but promise to send a form in the mail. You’ve probably driven by loads of auto repair shops. Which can handle the repair your car needs? How much will they charge? Will insurance pay for it? And then I’ll be without a car. Renting a car at the airport is…

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