50,000 electric vehicle charging stations in Europe to offer crypto payments

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Two payments firms have partnered to roll out crypto payments across 50,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Europe.

The partnership is between Irish e-commerce and mobile payment solutions firm HIPS Payment Group Ltd and Vourity, a Swedish firm that specializes in unattended payment facilities such as EV charging stations.

The integration of crypto payments with charging stations will occur over the next three years starting from November 2021.

The firms haven’t revealed which cryptocurrencies will be supported yet, but Vourity has dropped a pretty strong hint that Ethereum is likely to be among the first after it released an image of a payment terminal with an ETH logo on it. Ethereum is moving to the much more energy efficient Proof-of Stake consensus mechanism in the next year, which could mitigate any backlash among environmentally conscious EV drivers.

“We are currently evaluating what cryptos/coins we will support. It will be converted to fiat,” stated Hans Nottehed, the CEO of Vourity.

Vourity payment terminal, with an ETH logo

Crypto payments will be integrated with Vourity’s EV charging stations by connecting to the blockchain via Hips Merchant Protocol’s native protocol token Merchant Token.

Back in May, HIPS Payment Group launched the HIPS Merchant Protocol, the HIPS Merchant Protocol Gateway, and its governing Merchant Token.

The protocol was built on Ethereum and Solana in May 2021 and plans to expand support to Cardano in the future.

“With near real-time transaction speeds, in addition, the Hips Merchant Blockchain is designed for merchant transactions regardless if they are mobile, instore or e-commerce and utilizes the interchange concept from the payment card industry,” HIPS noted in May.

Related: Blockchain-based EV charging trial gets $1M from Canadian government

EV crypto innovation

Tesla famously did a U-turn on accepting Bitcoin (BTC) payments for vehicles, with Elon Musk noting the firm won’t change course until the mining sector is at least 50% powered by clean energy. Other EV-focused firms have sought ways to innovate using  “clean” crypto mining and adoption.

At the beginning of this month, Canadian light EV manufacturer Daymak announced an upcoming EV set for 2023, that is fitted with a crypto mining rig that can mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies while it’s charging or parked.

In March, Stellantis, the parent company of European car manufacturer Fiat, partnered with Kiri Technologies, to promote an “eco-driving style,” by rewarding Fiat EV drivers in cryptocurrency via Kiri Technologies’ KiriCoin.

In that same month, Volkswagen Group Innovation, the research department of German car Volkswagen, announced a partnership with Energy Web, a non-profit organization focused on open source energy transition.

The duo teamed up to research methods of using EV’s and charging stations as part of the power grid using blockchain.

Jesse Morris, the chief commercial officer of Energy Web, spoke with Cointelegraph and emphasized the benefits of tracking the integration between EVs, charging stations, and power grids using blockchain.

Morris mentioned that during times of local grid congestion, Volkswagen drivers could be incentivized not to charge by being paid out in crypto or fiat. Additionally, utility providers could pay EV drivers to store energy during times of excess generation on the power grid.