Chris Ballinger is the CFO and Head of Mobility Services at Toyota. Specifically, within the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) which leads Toyota’s efforts around autonomous vehicle technology – self-driving cars.

Chris previously worked at the White House and was a Senior Vice President at Bank of America.

He is also a formally trained monetary economist (which made for quite an interesting conversation).

In this episode, we discuss:

– How Toyota plans on using Blockchain, AI, and Machine Learning to make its vision of fully autonomous vehicles, a reality

– The different functional areas where Blockchain would play a pivotal role

– How Nick Szabo’s 1998 paper on smart contracts, was the perfect primer for Chris



[01:00] – Who is Chris Ballinger and what is the Toyota Research Institute (TRI)? Introduction and overview

[07:20] – How Chris stumbled across Bitcoin and Blockchain

[11:23] – How Marc Andreessen, Nick Szabo, and Mike Hearn changed Chris’s perspective on Bitcoin and Blockchain

[14:17] – Chris Ballinger’s “aha” moment – how cryptocurrency acts as a bearer instrument

[18:15] – How is Toyota using Blockchain to make fully autonomous vehicles a reality?

[20:00] – The move from private automobile ownership to “Mobility-as-a-Service”

[21:21] – Toyota joins the R3 consortium

[23:15] – The big challenge: creating a marketplace for automobile driving/accident data

[31:33] – How far away are we from a truly autonomous vehicle?

[36:21] – Chris’s thoughts on other areas (besides autonomous vehicles) where Blockchain can be implemented

[35:01] – Does Blockchain have a “killer app” or company?

[47:56] – The importance of developing an ecosystem for Blockchain use cases

[52:09] – Has “Blockchain” (and AI and Machine Learning) been overhyped?

[54:41] – Chris’s 10-year prediction for Bitcoin and Ethereum

[57:06] – Chris Ballinger’s advice to other large corporations looking to leverage Blockchain

[59:29] – Where to get more information about the Toyota Research Institute

[1:00:00] – Conclusion



Autonomous Vehicles

Monetary economics

Marc Andreessen – “Why Bitcoin Matters

Nick Szabo – “The Idea of Smart Contracts

Mike Hearn

Bitcoin whitepaper


R3 consortium


OECD countries

Intel’s report on the autonomous vehicle economy

Uber self-driving taxi experiments

NuTonomy in Singapore

Gem (usage-based insurance using Blockchain)

Commuterz (peer-to-peer carpooling)

Oaken Innovations (peer-to-peer car-sharing)

The Gartner “hype cycle”



– Toyota Research Institute website



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