Taxi unions (with their ever-attendant government backing) have unleashed oppression on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft around the world. Now it seems that they’ve brought upon themselves the same fate that Hollywood eventually met when it used the state to crush Napster: a decentralized version of their original target.
Announced today at the Inside Bitcoins conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, La’Zooz functions on its own native crypto tokens, aptly called Zooz. They’ll be housed on the Bitcoin Blockchain and—get this—mined by proof-of-movement.
Anyone can join the La’Zooz transportation web network. To join as a miner, you download the app, connect your phone’s global positioning system (GPS) and begin to earn Zooz tokens as you drive over 20 kmh. You could also earn Zooz by contributing code or design to the app’s development. You can even earn the ride-sharing crypto tokens just by getting your friends to join.
In this way, early supporters can lay the foundation as word spreads, until enough participants exist for the real ride-sharing to start. Drivers will be paid in Zooz, issued to them over either the Mastercoin or Counterparty protocols.
“It was only a matter of time before someone decided that two disruptive concepts — ride-sharing and digital currencies — were two great tastes that go great together,” said Eitan Katchka, one of over 50 La’Zooz contributors. “We use cryptocurrency technology to incentivize early adopters to create the critical mass of users needed for the ride-sharing service to work smoothly, as well as to create a truly decentralized transportation solution.”
The La’Zooz website features a map listing the regions in which participation has already begun: North America, Western Europe, and the Middle East. The app is now available for download on Android devices.
Token purchases will both support continued development and, of course, be useful to purchase rides once the transportation web gets off the ground.
Shay Zluf, another contributor to the project says:
“Humanity has gone to the Moon and back, but we’re still stuck in traffic. People the world over are realizing we can’t continue like this. Ridesharing businesses like Uber are a step in the right direction, but we believe in a system based on community power. . . [it] is really based on the same capitalist formula as its predecessor. La’Zooz is open-source, decentralized and community owned. . . Everyone is welcome.”
The La’Zooz development team won second place in the 2014 Mastercoin Hackathon this past May. Their Facebook page featured a quotation by Buckminster Fuller one week before the project launched in beta:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
With ride-sharing coordinated and executed through a community-maintained cryptoledger, it would seem that La’Zooz is on its way to do just that.