Ofo, a leading bike rental company in China, has set up a research institute to tackle urban bike sharing management problems with blockchain technology, the company announced May 17. According to its press release, ofo’s blockchain research institute aims to use blockchain technology globally to further facilitate big data and IoT (Internet of Things).

The move is geared towards solving the mounting problems of left-behind bikes on China’s streets. Last year, regulators issued parking guidelines (in Chinese) to encourage bike users to park in an orderly manner, but the guidelines were not strictly imposed.

Local governments had already imposed bans on hire bike companies adding more bikes. Back in August 2017, Shanghai banned any more hire bikes (and by November 2017 ofo was reported to be deliberately making new bikes look dirty and old to sneak them onto the streets). In May this year, Beijing started reinforcing electronic fences for bike rentals.

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Masha Borak

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.