In the wake of Uber’s exit from the Southeast Asian market, many startups are stepping up and trying to fill the gap left by the ridesharing leader. Grab, a Singapore ridesharing company and logistics services provider has managed to cement itself as a major force in Singapore; there is also news of Go-Jerk, a popular Indonesian ride-hailing startup planning to make its way into the market as well.
However, despite Uber’s frustrations and the entrance of new competitors, some companies like FILO Technologies and Ryde still feel they have a shot at succeeding in this sector. These late movers realize that innovation and creativity is the best way to beat the competition in this apparently overcrowded market, and some of them are now relying on blockchain technology to help achieve their goals.
This is precisely what Singaporean blockchain startup, MVL (Mass Vehicle Ledger) Foundation is doing. The company recently rolled out their ride-hailing service dubbed TADA which means “Let’s Ride” in Korean. TADA is a peer-to-peer on-demand service that differentiates itself from the competition by utilizing blockchain technology. The app was built on the MVL blockchain platform – an “incentive-based blockchain mobility ecosystem” which was specifically tailored to suit the needs of the automobile industry and other adjacent services.
The MVL ecosystem will serve as a platform for connecting riders, drivers, auto manufacturers, auto insurance companies, retailers, and other various stakeholders within the automobile space. Under the MVL umbrella, data is stored on the blockchain, which ensures secure storage, tracking and sharing of vehicle history data. This information can then be made available to partners in the ecosystem.
To stay true to its incentive-based ideology, the TADA app awards MVL points to drivers for picking up clients. The app offers additional points for driving longer distances, while riders earn points by writing reviews. The points earned can then be converted to MVL coins –the native cryptocurrency which governs the MVL ecosystem. MVL has stated that these coins can eventually be withdrawn or cashed out via a cryptocurrency exchange or could also be used to pay for other services within the ecosystem like car rentals, gas or vehicle repairs.
According to Kay Woo, chief executive and founder of MVL,
“The goal is to build a vertical mobility ecosystem in which the MVL token can be used for all sorts of transactions within the mobility industry.”
Unlike its competitors like Grab and FILO who charge 12-20% in commission fees, TADA is offering an attractive zero-commission service. MVL operates under a “not-for-profit model,” and will not charge its drivers for accessing its customer base. The platform instead charges a minor fee of 3.4% on transactions (credit card payments) within the MVL ecosystem; which will be used to maintain the platform.
Kay Woo has suggested that the ride-hailing service company can generate revenue for sustaining its operations through other means such as:
- Partnering with auto rental, car repair, and maintenance companies that will pay MVL for accessing its drivers and clients.
- Trading MVL coins, which are currently listed on IDEX – a decentralized exchange based on the Ethereum blockchain.
- Monetizing data of its drivers by selling to third party partners in the MVL ecosystem. Woo recognizes the sensitivity of selling data and other privacy concerns. He has stated that MVL will request permission from its drivers before selling their data.
Here is what he had to say regarding the matter:
“The data belongs to the drivers; we will first ask for their consent before we use their data. By providing the platform and service for drivers to collect driving data, MVL charges the external parties who use this data.”
MVL’s TADA has already gathered around 2,000 drivers in Singapore and is working with taxi companies to add drivers to its platform. The startup is also looking to raise funds next year by engaging major players in the automobile industry and forming strategic partnerships. Despite its very attractive offering, MVL has stated that it isn’t competing with Grab or Go-Jerk, and has claimed that it is open to working with them by layering its auto-based blockchain ecosystem on top of their platform.