Although it is billed as a NextGen ride hailing platform, Firdosh calls it Taxi 3.0 for short. In her experience Taxi 1.0 was where people would book an unmetered taxi and agree the fare with the driver. Taxi 2.0 was where big tech got involved and everything moved to the platform. It was certainly technical disruption and people could book and find a taxi with a couple of taps on their mobile phone.
Taxi 3.0 is using blockchain to take this disruption to the next level, taking the drivers with it rather than abandoning them to a technology that enslaves them without profit or respect. As she points out, Taxi 2.0 was ultimately a win for big tech but a loss for the driver. Like most of the sharing economy, the middle man took the main haul.
“Here at Drife we want to take the best of both worlds – the traditional ecosystem where the driver gets the full fair without commissions being shaved off and using technology to help the users get access to drivers easily.”
Firdosh again compares Taxi 2.0 as where the system manipulated the value creators to create multibillion dollar companies but where the drivers struggled to make their livelihood.
“There is something essentially wrong with the model and we wanted to change that.”
When Firdosh first addressed this problem she knew she wanted to build a platform without a commission structure. Instead of using tech to monetise the platform, she wanted to use the tech to make the ride hailing system better.
“We began by using blockchain so that everything was transparent and then we thought we could use smart contracts to do fair calculations and driver allocation. The transparency also means everyone can see how fares are calculated – which is often cloaked and weighted invisibly on other platforms.”
Ultimately Firdosh sees the role of Drife to use blockchain to benefit both driver and rider community.
Firdosh started digging further and discovered while commissions are a problem, it is only the tip of the iceberg. She instinctively did not like the idea of a central entity that controls the ecosystem; this was how such inequality was derived.
“I didn’t want to be in control of everything – connection is great but not centralization. Instead we came up with an idea of a franchise so that each city could have a central point and where local operations can provide the point of validation.”
The Drife business model operates on a traditional subscription basis.
“Percentages sound fair on the outset but over time and volume they only work for the centralized entity. “
While Drife uses traditional subscription fees, it uses technology to innovate in the application of the system. For example, the platform does not set the price or fare. Drivers enter into an auction and riders decide how much they want to pay. This freedom of price haggling goes back to Taxi 1.0 where driver and rider had to reach a consensus directly.
“The market dictates the price, not the platform.”
Firdosh next turned her attention to tokenomics and the native DRF token which has two different utilities in the ecosystem. Riders can use DRF token to make payments directly to the driver, while drivers can use DRF to pay for their subscription fees. To be a franchise, you need to stake DFR on the system but you can also ask the community to stake their DRF in support of your application. So someone can win the franchise through the community delegating their tokens. Anyone who delegates their tokens will be rewarded also as well as supporting a popular or respected person in the community to manage local operations.
Firdosh is also using open governance to allow for each city to adhere to local rules or regulations. The franchise owner will run the operations but they will also be accountable to the community. Therefore if drivers feel that things are not being run correctly, they can propose a change, and if voted on, can affect changes.
“If the drivers are unhappy with any aspect of the operations they don’t have to go on strike to protect their rights, they can just vote together to implement change.”
Currently, there are 10,000 drivers registered in Bangalore in India but the second wave of COVID in the country has put back the launch. Brazil is also lining up as is Paris. In 2022 she has plans to open up franchise opportunities for other parts of the world, approaching it on a city by city basis. Drife received seed investment last year but the platform is largely bootstrapped by her and her team.
“It’s been a long journey as we have had to grow organically but next month we are planning an IDO and that will kick start real growth.”
Firdosh is very excited about Drife. She sees it as blockchain solving a real world problem, not just facilitating a crypto project.
“I also see blockchain as being an invisible enabler. No one knows what tech is under the Uber hood, same for Drife.”
For more information, please visit drife.io