California-based luxury electric car manufacturer Karma Automotive has begun accepting digital currency as a means of payment at one of its stores in Newport Beach.
Karma Newport Beach now enables customers to pay in Bitcoin (BTC) for new vehicle purchases and related services, according to a company press release on Oct. 15. Announcing the new offering, Karma CEO Lance Zhou said:
“We are opening our platform to serve as a test bed to help convert theoretical blockchain applications to practical use. Karma’s flagship store will support our efforts to prove emerging technology and provide the latest VVIP customer treatment offerings by accepting Bitcoin cryptocurrency.”
The Chinese Wanxiang Group bought Karma’s assets from Fisker Automotive in 2014 for $149.2 million. It began building its flagship Revero vehicle in 2016, the new model of which retails for over $135,000. The Revero can reportedly travel 37 miles before needing a recharge.
Crypto and luxury goods
Cryptocurrency has found its way into the luxury goods industry, both in forms of function and payment. In September 2018, Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot released its “Big Bang Blockchain” watch that could exclusively be purchased with Bitcoin.
Other high-end timepieces from Franck Muller have integrated cryptocurrency wallets. Franck Muller’s crypto wallet watches retail from $9,800 to $50,600.
Blockchain technology in the automotive industry
Car manufacturers around the world have been experimenting with crypto’s underlying blockchain technology, with the Ford Motor Company looking into blockchain and geofencing to accurately track the number of “green miles” driven by its energy-efficient vehicles. BMW, General Motors, Ford, Renault and Honda started testing a blockchain car identification and payment system in the United States.
In September, Indian automobile manufacturer Tata Motors announced plans to apply blockchain solutions in various aspects of the automotive industry, including the parking marketplace, demand prediction algorithms and real-time monitoring of fuel quality.