Slock.it has created an Ethereum blockchain-based locking system to provide people with the opportunity for decentralized sharing of everyday objects

Country: Germany  slockit
Year: 2015

An insurance company could use this innovation in order to: 

  • Certification: an insurance company could act as a certifier of integrity for houses, cars or any other item lent through Slock.it, for example providing certifications before and after property / item lending.
  • Dispute resolution: an insurance company could be a third party enabler for dispute resolutions between Slock.it owners and renters (ex: if the house has been damaged).
  • Dedicated insurance: an insurance company could offer customized short-term insurances (for instance, driver responsibility insurance for the duration of a car rental).

Concepts

  • Slock.it designs locks controlled by smart contracts running on the Ethereum blockchain so that users can open them with money transfer via their smartphone. Slock.it has set up a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) to fund and operate its service.
  • Any object supporting ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi can be used with Slock.it. Smart plugs are being developed to apply smart contracts to other objects.
  • The owner of a Slock sets a deposit amount and a price for renting an item. Through a smartphone app, a random user pays that deposit with a transaction to the Ethereum blockchain, thereby getting permission to open and close the smart lock. The deposit is locked in the Ethereum blockchain until the user decides to return the virtual key by sending another transaction to the Ethereum blockchain. Then the deposit is sent back to the user minus the price for the rental, which is automatically sent to the owner of the lock.
  • Slock.it has also built a power outlet allowing users to switch power on and off down to the level of their home sockets, based on an Ethereum transaction (for example, users could allow people to charge their cars in front of their house and then charge them for the power).

Consumer Benefits

  • Completion of the contract: the entire process is automated and follows the exact instructions in the smart contract.
  • Easy to understand: each smart contract is only of 10 to 20 lines of code.
  • Power and Internet independent: smart locks do not open or close in case of power or internet shortage.

How to use

  • Slock.it is still at prototype level and will be released in 2017.
  • User buys a smart lock online, fixes it to an object and sets deposit and price (fixed or variable according to hours of use for instance).
  • Anyone can search for an object through the smartphone app, pays the deposit, rents the item, uses it then returns it to reclaim the deposit (minus the cost of the rental).
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