Christopher David on Arcade City and Ethereum Applications
Arcade City is the new ridesharing program that aims to be the opposite of large corporations like Uber and Lyft.
Christopher David, CEO and founder of Arcade City, answered a few of our questions about the upcoming app. He gave us the scoop on the big plans for Arcade City. To clarify, Arcade City has not integrated Ethereum within their model yet. However, they have provided ETHNews with a loose timeline of all their Ethereum integrated features that they have coming up.
Their September 1st app launch will see their support for Proof of Physical Address, which is a basic Ethereum “smart oracle” developed by ConsenSys. The testnet for their Ethereum-based reputation system will launch at the end of September. Their integration of issuing crypto-equity tokens and pulling more functionality to the Ethereum blockchain won’t happen until the December-January timeframe.
Q: In your words, what makes Arcade City different from other ridesharing programs like Uber or Lyft and how will the new app be different from their apps?
Christopher David: Uber and Lyft use a bastardized corporate version of what a true “sharing economy” platform should be. They manage their drivers centrally, tightly control rider/driver interactions, and don’t allow service providers the leeway to set their own pricing or terms of service. Their model is transitional: it fills the gap between the legacy transportation services of the past and the decentralized, stakeholder-owned marketplaces of the future. But it will soon be obsolete.
Arcade City is part of the new wave of true sharing economy platforms, owned and operated in a decentralized way by the service providers themselves. Drivers can set their own rates, contract directly with riders, and build their own recurring customer base that no corporate office can take away from them. Our app is not a singular interface through which all rider/driver interactions must take place; it’s a tool that helps to solve problems like identity, reputation, and trust, which are inherent to any decentralized marketplace.
Q: What made you decide to use Ethereum and has that been a push for user adoption or a hurdle?
CD: A decentralized, driver-owned marketplace needs to solve problems of identity, reputation, and trust, in ways that don’t rely on a central intermediary. The Ethereum community has been serious about building technical solutions for cutting-edge concepts like self-sovereign identity and crypto-equity and thinking holistically about what will be needed to support the decentralized future. Much of our Ethereum integration will be invisible to users, but many of even the ‘regular’ drivers who’ve heard of our plans have since studied up on cryptocurrency and Ethereum concepts and are excited about the possibilities.
Q: Can you name some of your roadblocks? Where do you see Arcade City in the next year, especially with its decentralized ideology?
CD: Our main difficulties have stemmed from trying to bridge the gap between the traditional tech startup world and to the decentralized Ethereum world we’re heading. People with both feet in the startup world or both feet in the blockchain space have been critical to Arcade City for having one foot in both worlds. We’ve been pressured to drop blockchain entirely, or to go “all-in” on blockchain now.
We have our reasons for drawing on the best of both worlds. We didn’t want to just throw up an Ethereum ridesharing Dapp to Github that no one would actually use. We decided to start by answering the burning issues facing today’s rideshare drivers, which we were able to quickly address by relying on social media and more traditional technologies, rapidly iterating to develop a model that works. Our Austin push taught us valuable lessons about how to structure our model going forward, for example- the power of community and group-forming networks.
Now, we’re integrating those lessons into our app, building out functionality on the Ethereum blockchain piece by piece until we have a totally decentralized marketplace—and with millions of users.
Q: Describe your crypto-equity model and do you think it will attract more drivers to your ecosystem?
CD: We think Ethereum-based crypto-equity can solve the labor problem facing companies like Uber and Lyft, who are engaged in exploitative relationships with their drivers and face numerous lawsuits about their labor practices. Instead of begrudgingly allowing drivers to organize after a court ordered Uber to do so, a newer rideshare should proactively encourage drivers to self-organize into groups and co-ops.
The goal is to create what computer scientist David P. Reed calls a “group-forming network”, a system where users can easily create and associate with a variety of groups. For example, driver co-ops and companies that can set their own rates and policies. Group leaders should be able to set their own rates for membership, pricing, referral commission, equity ownership, and more- all organized transparently on the blockchain. The value of that peer-to-peer, community-centric network will be a magnitude higher than the corporatized pseudo peer-to-peer networks of Uber and Lyft.
Q: Do you have any plans to support other currencies for payment in the future? (Such as BTC, ETH, DOGE?) Is that a supported framework of Arcade City or the drivers’ themselves?
We are starting with Bitcoin support via Airbitz. Every rider and driver automatically gets a Bitcoin wallet when they signup through our app. We expect to integrate with Shapeshift.io for other coin support probably sometime this fall, depending on user demand. And of course, drivers can always transact however they want, peer-to-peer.