Co-operative model could mark a new blockchain-based iteration of the sharing economy
One of the phrases most commonly touted by blockchain developers is “decentralization.” The team behind Eva, “a co-operative ride-sharing application” built on the EOSIO blockchain protocol, are certainly enthusiastic about that concept. But there’s another guiding principle that seems just as fundamental to Eva and that is “localization.”
Raphaël Gaudreault, Eva’s co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, explains how localization came to take center stage. “In late 2017, Uber threatened the government of Quebec, Canada, with leaving the province if its rules were not relaxed,” he says. Along with Dardan Isufi, a fellow student of Software Engineering and Political Science who is now Eva’s Chief Optimization Officer, he began pondering the issue. They came to the conclusion that “traditional ride-sharing companies aggregate the economy at cities’ expense and disregard local regulations.”
The problem as they saw it with this segment of the so-called sharing economy was that wealth was being extracted from local markets. “These companies capture around a quarter of market share versus standard taxis, but the money is invested in capitalization in other countries. They simply aggregate the economy and delocalize it.”
Buoyed by a sense of idealism, Gaudreault, who is Quebecois, and Isufi, whose roots are in Albania, quickly assembled a multinational team of development talent — including Max Gravitt, from the US, and Merouane Benthameur, from Algeria — to find innovative solutions that redressed these flaws in ways that might, so to speak, disrupt the sector’s earlier disruptors.
Eva is intended to work as a network of cooperatives based around a new relationship between driver and passenger members that removes the middleman. As the Eva website states: “The core of the project is its decentralized network, which uses blockchain technology in order to organize urban mobility on a global scale while ensuring a redistribution of the profits generated at the local scale.”
In the Eva model, 85% of each transaction goes to the driver, with the remainder being split between members of the co-operative, an ecosystem “treasury” and a foundation responsible for maintaining the network. Blockchain automates these allocations, and, according to Eva’s white paper, “improves the ability to integrate different modes of payment while ensuring an anonymous, immutable, and transparent technical protocol.”
“Eva deploys an immutable contract based on the EOS blockchain to offer an open ledger for mobility that keeps members’ data anonymous,” adds Gaudreault. By contrast, he is quick to point out, data harvested by traditional ride-sharing platforms has been notoriously leaky.
With the Eva smart contract finalized, a first Eva co-operative began operations in Montreal, in September, and a second is undergoing local registration in Toronto. The app was among those featured in the Block.one Village at the recent Blockchain Live event in London, Reddit forums have been ablaze with interest, and the team are hopeful of further launches in locations as diverse as Algiers, Pristina, Houston and New York in the near future. A new iteration of the sharing economy may well be upon us.
More information on the Eva app available on http://eva.coop
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-Developer Relations team