A BRIT firm is to launch the world’s first ‘Crypto ebike’ – an electric bicycle which turns miles pedalled into digital cash.
The two-wheeled ‘TOBA’ is being unveiled by forward-thinking company 50cycles, the UK’s longest-running ebike retailer.
And it’ll reward tech-savvy riders for hitting the road by generating unique cryptocurrency tokens for every 1,000 miles they pedal.
Using the LoyalCoin platform, the TOBA’s coins can be redeemed across a number of brands and stores, or traded for popular digital tokens such as Litecoin, Bitcoin, XEM and Digibytes.
Scott Snaith, founder and CEO of 50cycles, says the ebike essentially acts as a mobile ‘crypto miner’ – mining being the process used to release digital currency.
Instead of being dished-out automatically, Bitcoin and other similar cryptos have to be unlocked by completing complex mathematical equations.
Here each turn of the TOBA bike’s wheel will unlock new tokens.
And the TOBA, which costs £2,595 to buy, is also an electrically-powered bike – featuring an electric motor used to add a boost to human pedal power, making it much easier to cover big distances.
Snaith explains: “This is not only the first electric bike of its kind, but it will be the first product ever to be tokenised and which will issue rewards for use.
“As soon as they start pedalling, riders will be on the way to producing cryptocurrency — and every 1,000 miles should be enough to unlock a set amount to the equivalent of around £20, giving each of our customers an incentive to get on their bikes.
“It is a way of rewarding our customers and riders who are fully-committed to green transportation.”
Keen cyclists in the UK regularly cover around 4,000 to 5,000 miles a year, through a mix of commuting and leisure rides.
Snaith adds: “We have always been a company that moves ahead of the times by embracing the latest technology.
“Just like we saw the potential in electric bikes in Tokyo 15 years ago, we now see the promise and future in blockchain technology, cryptocurrency and product tokenisation.
“At the moment we are working with LoyalCoin to reward our customers but eventually the TOBA bikes will have their own digital coin which will become one of thousands of currencies of the future.
“And the TOBA will allow riders to become an integral part of its growth – as they earn rewards simply for using the product they choose to own.”
TOBA users will be able to monitor how many tokens they are generating through a mobile app which communicates with the ebike.
Each bike will hold its own private key as a proof of ownership and data record.
The TOBA is due to hit the streets in September this year – to coincide with 50cycles’ 15-year anniversary.
Discounts will also be offered to people who buy a TOBA using cryptocurrency, with 50cycles leading the way when it comes to accepting digital payments like Bitcoin.
Snaith added: “We are looking forward to developing this new business model with LoyalCoin.
“We want to make sure that we give our customers a life-changing experience, with a tangible product, for the commitment they make to the new TOBA tokenized electric bike.”
Snaith’s 50cycles is one of an increasing number of businesses to spot the potential in cryptocurrency — joining many of the world’s biggest firms, like Starbucks, Microsoft, Subway and Amazon.
Meanwhile ebikes are experiencing a popularity surge in the UK.
According to the latest stats from HMRC, released last month, imports of ebikes have jumped from 50,000 to 62,500 in the last year alone.
Ebikes accounted for just 5 per cent of the UK bike market in 2015, but that accelerated to 12 per cent in 2016.
More recently, Halfords described a 220 per cent e-bike sales increase in 2017.
In 2015, 1.2 million were sold in Europe, and it is estimated that this number will triple in 2022.
Snaith adds: “Getting back on two wheels in adulthood can be a fairly daunting experience, but it needn’t be with an ebike. They act as a gateway to riding and for exercising in general.
“We should do all we can to make it an enjoyable and safe form of transport.”
For more information, please visit www.50cycles.com