BC: Arcade City just won the GTEC Blockchain Innovation Award. What’s your secret for this success considering you don’t have a market-ready product, a shoestring budget, and are basically a one-man team?
CD: Our proof-of-concept app saw rides given in 28 states and Australia and generated substantial interest around the world that overwhelmed our capacity to organize. Fortunately the jurors cared more about the traction of our model than some particular batch of code. Arcade City is unquestionably not a one-man team. We have embraced and successfully implemented the ‘Swarmwise’ model for organizing a broad-based movement of participants, out of which has coalesced a large team of organizers and a huge community of riders and drivers actively helping us design, test, and promote the decentralized rideshare service.
“Blockchain penetration throughout society is limited more by social issues than technical.”
The code of our platform is secondary, and not a close second, to the importance of our network and our community. It is a common mistake in the blockchain community to fetishize code above the social interactions that good code should support. Blockchain penetration throughout society is limited more by social issues than technical. We have solved the social issues around decentralized ridesharing. Thanks to months of testing and collecting feedback, it is now clear what our technical development roadmap should look like over the coming months.
BC: Can Arcade City prevent data breaches and hacking of customer accounts like those experienced by Uber?
CD: We’ll be integrating the Ethereum community’s best practices for decentralized identity and data management. Specifically we plan to implement ConsenSys’ uPort product as soon as it’s production-ready. Decentralized identity is the core building block for our gamified reputation system, which will be critical for the smooth operation of our decentralized marketplace, where users need trusted information about the other party to their peer-to-peer transaction. Users should have control of their own data, with fine-grained control over the people and circumstances under which they share that data.
For example, a driver should be able to easily join their local driver co-op DAO, share whichever data is relevant for communication and to satisfy that DAO’s policies for driver onboarding, then participate in that DAO by voting on policies, and withdraw data access whenever they want to leave. Not to say there won’t be new issues of safety and data security we’ll need to solve, but at least we’re approaching them in a context that doesn’t give some large central intermediary carte-blanche access to a mountain of user data that is easily hacked.
BC: Speaking of DAO…what are your thoughts on its record-setting crowdfunding campaign?
CD: It is remarkable to see such a revolutionary funding model burst onto the scene. More important than the specific dollar amount raised, the funds raised by the DAO represent the hopes of 15% of the Ethereum ecosystem: the pioneers among the pioneers. We want to deserve their support in funding and growing Arcade City.
BC: Do you think its approach of tapping the “wisdom of crowds” to fund Ethereum projects can compete with traditional VC firms who perform due diligence?
CD: Any institutions [like some traditional VCs], which aim to nurture the enterprises of the future while hoping to keep at arms’ length what they perceive as “unwashed masses,” or “a few thousand random nerds,” are doomed to fail. Blockchain technology has caught on so far thanks to the power of network effects. The future will be decentralized — and that means it will be crowd-sourced, drawing on the wisdom of crowds.
“It shouldn’t be too difficult for the DAO to develop its own investment thesis and a new type of due diligence.”
Specialized knowledge of the type that guides investment capital is no longer the sole province of Sand Hill Road and their ilk. It shouldn’t be too difficult for the DAO to develop its own investment thesis and a new type of due diligence. The Ethereum community is new but evolving fast, and I would never bet against it. Can this community, which has innovated so much in such a short period of time, also figure out how to properly evaluate how to wisely invest its money? Of course it can.
BC: Would you prefer to fund your project via The DAO or traditional crowdfunding methods? All of the above?
CD: We are strongly considering a proposal to the DAO. Perhaps more important than the money itself would be aligning the incentives for thousands of people on the cutting edge of decentralized technology.
BC: How do you envision the funding process?
CD: Our current thinking is that we will submit a DAO proposal that offers a percentage ride revenue in exchange for the funds, then later this year hold a token sale (aiming for Q4 of this year) where we issue Arcade tokens (ARC) that will be increasingly used for transactions on the platform, taking over from credit card payments over time. That token sale will likely be structured similarly to the original ETH token sale (and likely the same people who ran that will run ours).
“We plan to engage the DAO community similar to how we are currently engaging the ridesharing community.”
BC: What kind of approach would you choose to ensure your proposal receives enough votes on The DAO?
CD: We are planning to submit a proposal relatively early in the process. Out of respect for the Slock.it team, we’ll probably follow their lead and submit our formal proposal once theirs is accepted by the community. We are by no means experts in this realm, and want to take the time to learn from others and do things right. We plan to engage the DAO community similar to how we are currently engaging the ridesharing community in Austin and elsewhere, with constant contact and feedback along with a plan that rapidly iterates as necessary to incorporate new ideas.
Would you use a decentralized ridesharing platform over Uber and Lyft? Do you think The DAO will help it get off the ground? Let us know in the comments section below!