Fiat and crypto together at last thanks to new driver rewards system

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Crypto users no longer have to set up a complicated mining farm in their cars to earn tokens while on the road — in a bit of linguistic irony, Fiat has provided a solution.

According to an announcement from the Italian car manufacturer on Tuesday, Fiat’s parent company Stellantis has partnered with Kiri Technologies to reward drivers in cryptocurrency. People who use the latest model of Fiat’s 500 electric vehicle will now receive 1 KiriCoin — worth two euro cents, or roughly $0.024 at the time of publication — for each kilometer driven. Fiat users who drive more efficiently based on the car’s energy usage will also receive additional rewards.

“KiriCoins build up in a virtual wallet right inside the Fiat app,” said Stellantis e-Mobility program manager Gabriele Catacchio. “Driving data, such as distance and speed, get sent directly to [the] cloud, where it’s all converted into coins automatically. Calculation is immediate, and certified using a blockchain algorithm.”

Stellantis said drivers who take advantage of the system will be able to use the tokens for products and services in Kiri’s marketplace, which allows them to purchase gift cards to other retailers. As the company does not produce the 500 EV model in North America, only drivers in the European Union can earn crypto rewards.

The program is reportedly aimed at promoting an “eco-driving style,” in which people who drive more efficiently are given more crypto rewards. Catacchio said the company expected the number of similar eco-loyalty programs to triple by 2024.

Fiat’s namesake comes from the Italian phrase Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, roughly translated as “Italian automobile factory of Turin.” However, the term fiat as it applies to currency is from the Latin word of the same spelling, literally meaning “let it be done.”

Though this particular method of gaining digital rewards while driving is seemingly unique to Fiat, other users in the space have created innovative ways to earn crypto on the go. One industry enthusiast installed a small farm in the trunk of his BMV capable of mining both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).