BloXmove’s Dr. Harry Behrens on Decentralizing Power & Mobility

For this edition of PAID XP, we’ve invited BloXmove CTO and co-Founder Harry Behrens, to talk to us about how the two main types of tokens - fungible, ERC20, and non-fungible, ERC721 and ERC1155, can be used to build sustainable commercial ecosystems. 
December 2, 2022

Decentralizing Power & Mobility -A Journey by Detours

by Dr. Harry Behrens

“Stop aggregating - Start collaborating” - Sophia Rödiger, CEO of bloXmove (2021)1

At BloXmove we are working on decentralizing transaction processing for power & mobility. 

We believe that technology should liberate creativity and reward creators rather than rent seekers. Also, as per our beliefs, monopolistic aggregation, which has been the underlying business models of all major Web 2.0 giants leads to very unhealthy business dynamics in which all added value accrues to one aggregating party at the direct cost of those whose work and creativity these aggregators sell and package - GAFA: Google, Amazon, facebook and Apple being some of the most prominent. 

We also believe that #crypto - blockchain, tokens and the Token Economy as well as self-sovereign identities and verifiable credentials provide tools to take back some of that power.

How to read this article:

“The root and source of all monetary evil is the government’s monopoly on money.” Friedrich Hayek  (1976)2

The bloXmove founders entered the Token Economy, coming from a background in big corporate business. This provides us with a clear understanding of the overall markets for mobility and the power industry. 

It also provides us with clear insights on how big government and corporations have become not creators but inhibitors of creativity, innovation and progress.

This made me write this articles on two parallel planes: 

  1. Explaining how the two main types of tokens - fungible, ERC20, and non-fungible, ERC721 and ERC1155, can be used to build sustainable commercial ecosystems.
    → Technical overview and explanation of the mechanics of using ERC20 and ERC721 tokens to create utility and manage ownership in the areas of Power & Mobility.
  2. Arguing that crypto technologies present powerful tools to liberate artists, developers, creators and entrepreneurs from the clutches of regulation, aggregation, quantitative easing and general governmental overreach.
    → Somewhat of a  philosophical rant here, of someone who sees modern societies developing into overreaching Leviathans with ever greater ambition to control and regulate every single aspect of our personal and economical lives.

BLXM and NFTicket - Tokenizing Power & Mobility

“Two sectors have the leverage to achieve a carbon neutral economy: Power & Mobility”3

With our background in Daimer (and thus Mercedes-Benz) and our long history in working with 50Hertz, the elia group and the Energy Web Foundation, we took it upon ourselves to decentralize Power & Mobility!

To bring decentralization to an industry we need an independent transaction platform as well as a secure token providing utility and the means to transfer as well as store value. In addition we need to certify and verify ownership of assets in a secure and trustless way - i.e. without custodians or middlemen with no value-add except that of enforcing the status quo.

Two important tools are fungible and non-fungible tokens.

  1. Fungible tokens, e.g. ERC20, are essentially privately issued pseudo-money. 
  2. Non-Fungible tokens, e.g. ERC721 NFTs, provide proof of ownership of non-divisible assets, e.g. a piece of art, a vehicle title or a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC).

Let’s get started: what does our technology provide?

Providing mobility, charging and certification of ownership as a service can be broken down to:

  1. Identification: of parties (user, driver, company and device such as scooter or car)
  2. Verification: verify a ticket and its validity, verify that both parties to a contract signed off on the terms and conditions with a signature we can trace to their verified identity.
  3. Contract execution: check-in and beginning of service delivery, keeping track of billable units and checkout, i.e. confirmation of service delivery.
  4. Settlement: ensure everyone gets paid.

Please note that all of this is in no way specific to bloXmove or mobility. Each of these 4 core functionalities MUST be provided for a commercial ecosystem to function. 

In addition: this set of 4 key capabilities is complete - in the sense nothing else is needed to ensure 

  • services are (only) provided by legitimate operators to validated and paying customers,
  • that everyone gets paid correctly,
  • there is consensus on all key facts and numbers.

Verification of Identity, Credentials and Ownership

Before web3 identity, ownership and the ability to pay could only be verified by regulated and government-approved intermediaries. Web3, and consensus protocols establishing trust through the stringent application of immutable and verifiable cryptographic transactions, have disrupted this monopoly.

Until Satoshi and the Vitalik set us free, we needed National ID documents and banks and the whole set of intermediaries whose sole justification for existence is that they have been given government approval to conduct business. Now all we need is a wallet, a token and a blockchain to ensure consensus on who owns what. And if we want to get fancy we add Self-Sovereign Identifiers (SSI), a.k.a Decentralized Identifiers (DID) and the associated protocol of Verifiable Credentials (VC), which add cross-chain interoperability to the mix.

If you break it down to the essentials, any commercial transaction is first 

(A) all about…

  1. Transferring Ownership (sale of an asset)
  2. Granting Ownership, e.g. in a rental or charging process

With that you have established subjects and objects of your business transactions.

(B) then…

  1. Presenting proof of service delivery, i.e. invoicing
  2. Settlement, e.g. payment in ERC20 or booking Accounts Receivable/AccountsPayable in a DLT

SSI: The Self-Sovereign Individual

Self-sovereignty: “Self-ownership, also known as sovereignty of the individual or individual sovereignty, is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity and be the exclusive controller of one's own body and life. Self-ownership is a central idea in several political philosophies that emphasize individualism, such as libertarianism, liberalism, and anarchism.

Modern society and its ever-extending tentacles of regulation, supervision and monitoring have hidden the actual simplicity of mechanisms needed to conduct commerce below an ever-thickening layer of bureaucracy, taxation and control.
Fact is however, that among sovereign individuals all that is needed is a coin, a handshake and a witness. That covers any and all business I would know about…

To return to this natural state, we must act as empowered individuals who build and use their own trust networks and rely on that in doing business and interacting with other parties.

Decentralized protocols provide the essential glue to ensure that statements or facts signed by any individual can not be tampered or falsified - thus scaling “a coin, a handshake and a witness” to the almost unlimited scale of web3 and the Internet.

Enter Self-Sovereign Identities, a.k.a. As Decentralized Identifiers and Non-Fungible Tokens, NFTs:

NFTicket and VCs for Ownership & Possession

For (A) Ownership and Possession, bloXmove has built a mechanism based on two interlocking protocols:

  1. Verifiable Credentials: issued by someone with a Decentralized Identifier (DID) to a recipient of the claim or asset (also a holder of a DID)  is based on the fact that a ticket, an invoice or any credential or certificate of ownership can be expressed both as an NFT as well as a Verified Credential (VC).
  2. NFTickets: an extension of the ERC721 to provide ticketing, access control and encapsulation of certificates of ownership.

The protocol, “NFTicket”,  acts as an issuer of VCs as well as a minter of NFTs. The protocol also serializes and deserializes between VC and NFT on all chains it is deployed to.

VCs issued and NFT minted by the protocol owners can be serialized and deserialized from VC to any chain which the protocol supports.

Both formats are based on cryptographic protocols and can be seen as unbreakably secure within the context of their verification context.

NFTicket - Verifiable, Cross-Chain NFTs for Ownership and Ticketing

The Mechanism

We will now propose a simple mechanism which is based on the concept that

1. The lifecycle of a credential begins by issuing it as a VC.

2. A VC can then be as an NFT by presenting it as a VP to the web3 Dapp provided by the protocol.

3. Once on-chain the NFT becomes part of the NFT ecosystem of that chain and can e.g. be traded through OpenSea.

4. bloXmove NFTickets are also valid tickets which can be sold, redeemed and settled through the bloXmove TicketMaster protocol.

5. NFTs can be serialized at any time:

a. At this point, a new VC with the rights described by the NFT in-token variables is issued.

b. The NFT is burnt.

When programming objects we oftentimes need to transfer them from one operating environment to the next. This is done by 

  1. Serialization: converting (serializing) a software object into readable, serialized text
  2. Deserialization: reading the serialized text and converting it back to an executable object.

We consider the VC a serialized form of the credential it represents while we consider an NFT as a deserialized software instantiation of that credential.

Serializing therefore means to express the credential as a VC, while deserializing means instantiating a credential as an NFT on-chain code.

Equivalence of Verifiable Credentials and NFTickets

There are two components to the system:

1. VC -> NFT (Deserialization): Presenting a VC as a Verified Presentation (VP) and instantiating NFT by deserializing the VC.

::then revoke VC

2. NFT-> VC (Serialization): Serializing the NFT and issuing the equivalent VC

::then burn NFT

Deserializing VCs to NFTickets

Cross-chain interoperability

Due to their compatibility with EVM, NFTickets can be deserialized to any of


2. Energy Web Foundation

3. Polygon

4. Binance Smart Chain (BSC)

5. Ethereum

Interoperability is achieved by using Verifiable Credentials as a layer-0 presentation of the digital asset, it’s “digital twin”.

The digital twin can then be instantiated, “deserialized”, as an NFTicket to any of the Blockchain networks the NFTicket chaincode has been deployed.

At any time, an NFTicket can 

  • be serialized
  • The original VC extracted
  • And the NFT burnt

To re-instantiate the original layer-0 Verifiable Credential.

Serializing NFTickets to Verifiable Credentials

Sources cited:
  1. Sophia Rödiger - BloXmove (2021) "Stop aggregating — start collaborating!",
  2.  Friedrich Hayek (1976) "The Denationalization of Money",
  3. Elia Group (2022) "Accelerating to net-zero: Redefining energy & mobility"

ABOUT bloXmove

bloXmove is a web3 solution provider working to create a worldwide decentralized and collaborative mobility alliance alongside an efficient green energy reality. By using blockchain components, bloXmove bridges innovative technology with industry solutions to increase security, automation and efficiency in cross-company transactions as well as contracts. Incubated with Mercedes, accelerated by 3 co-founders and supported by a diverse team from around the world, bloXmove continues to develop identification and settlement solutions as well as new protocol standards to improve the currently siloed operating systems of the sectors: Power and Mobility. The cities of Dublin, Bonn and Madrid are the office bases, but bloXmove is at home in the decentralized space, meaning our talents and partners are connected globally. We foster CO2 neutrality and green technology by using public blockchains powered with renewable energies, traveling CO2 neutral (signed Glasgow commitment) and applying the newest, sustainable standards to our blockchain layer 2.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are only a personal scenario from the speakers/writer/author and do not reflect the views or positions of any entities they represent, or that of PAID Network or its related entities. Furthermore, these statements do not constitute financial advice but should be treated only as personal opinions for educational purposes.

Harry Behrens
CTO & Co-Founder
Has been working in the software and internet industry for more than 20 years in startups to large corporations. He has been involved with the topic of blockchain and DLT since 2012. In 2017 he was able to incorporate his interest and knowledge which he privately acquired into his job as IT manager at Daimler Financial Services and later as the head of the Daimler Mobility Blockchain Factory. He is an expert and evangelist for technology and applications of Blockchain for finances, power and mobility.

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