I'm a computer programmer and long time bicycle enthusiast, and I love the onewheel product. Just ordered one yesterday. So I share some of these concerns.
Here's what I would propose, and I will even give you the architecture to do it.
Agreed with the opt in policy. Any solution for this will require users to give up a little privacy, so it can't be enabled by default. Same with most cell phone tracking solutions.
1.Each board should have a unique serial number set somewhere within its internal software. The app should also have a login associated with it that ties back to a onewheel cloud server.
2.Anytime a user connects a phone to the board for the first time, the app should require an internet connection. The app then does a silent security check to ensure the board is not stolen over the net. If verified, then proceed, and future checks are not required unless a different phone is paired to the board.
3.If the security check fails, grab the location of the phone. This can either be a GPS or cell based, but at least it will be something. Then brick the board. Location info can be sent to the email address of the user who's app was originally paired to the board.
4.Bricked boards can be restored at the factory only, after paying a small processing fee. Some kind of proof of order should be required, and would thus be matched to the serial of the board to ensure only an authorized party can restore they board.
5.Simple web interface to report a board stolen, or view the last logged in location of the board, or verify the unique serial of the board is "clean." Also a feature of the app that does not require a login (so people can check other peoples board on the used market), which of course would also brick the board if the check failed.
So basically, if the board is stolen, it will eventually be bricked, and can never be resold. Again, all of this would only be available on an opt-in basis. And yeah, I could probably build all of the above for you if you are serious about it.
Also someone in another thread mentioned putting the device into a lock mode. That would be good, but only if there is some indication outside the board that it is locked, so would be thieves know picking the board up would be useless to them.
But to be honest, I want a custom backpack for the board, or some other carrying solution. That way I can take it with me wherever I'm going and not have to lock it. Taking the board into an office within a custom backback that also has a little extra room for a laptop would be sick as hell.
Also a way to physically lock the board with bicycle chains / ubars would be easier to implement in the version 2 board.
8 weeks feels like forever :-)