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Why do we even need a token?

While MobiFi is still an idea from the F10 incubator in Switzerland, we were challenged by our mentor Katie Richard on why do we need blockchain and a token. Therefore, we did an assignment, and it convinced us that if we don’t do it, someone else will. The world needs MobiFi and its FinTech solution to change the mobility industry.

Based on a research from BCG, they defined Mobility as a Service on four levels. 1) Planning, 2) Planning + Ticketing, 3) Planning + Ticketing + Pricing, 4) Fully integrated: Planning + Ticketing + Pricing + Incentives.

The four levels of mobility defined by BCG

What brought MobiFi’s attention is the incentive aspect on the fourth level. Yet, no one came up with a fully integrated solution to achieve this. Not to mention its critical factor to enter a more efficient and sustainable future for societies. The reason is that mobility is irrational; it sounds weird, but do you really think about it, or do you really care when you decide to drive instead of taking public transport? Most people don’t, and they might only regret driving their cars when they get stuck in traffic afterwards, and they will use their car again on the next day.

So how to change people’s behaviour? It is a complex question to answer, but one thing is certain, rewarding people has had a positive impact on shifting behaviour. By nature, incentives can be anything and everything such as money, a free service, a digital product, or even a badge can bind people with their daily travel behavior.

That’s why tokenization, its gamification aspect has the power to offer anything from money, to digital products such as NFTs to make mobility more than just moving around. It’s beyond your imagination.

  • The MobiFi token will be used to store wealth: it has its value, the value will attract people to hold it and trade it to make it interchangeable not only in the mobility industry but also beyond that.
  • It is initially the funding mechanism for the project and community growth that’s a key toward adoption.
  • As a means of reward, the token will be used to incentivize users to choose a more eco-friendly travel mode. Technically, the token will be used in governing the bridge between a private blockchain and a public blockchain in the future. E.g., stake in the bridge node.
  • It can’t be used as a payment method directly today due to the volatility, but as a means of utility links the investment (DeFi) services that can attract more people from using mobility services.
Do you really need a crypto token flow chart

Therefore, looking at the “Do you really need a crypto token” flowchart, we can’t find a reason to build such a product without the MobiFi token and its sister — the SMile stable token.

The role of SMile token is the key to link mobility services and DeFi. There is a possibility that we can use stable coins like USDT or USDC, but in the mobility case a transaction is not only a micro payment but also a high-frequency payment processing. In addition, most of stable coins are still based on Ethereum, which charges a high gas fee for each transaction. Although layer-2 project like Polygon has dramatically reduced costs, it still generates unnecessary transaction fees. Therefore, the best option today is to use a fit-for-purpose stable coin that doesn’t really need a high degree of consensus. In other words, we are looking for a balance between fully and partially decentralized.

As an end-user, there is no need to have a fully decentralized system to host the entire mobility industry. That’s for sure a waste of energy and over-reached consensus. But can we use a database instead? After our careful investigation and research, we believe that the answer is NO. Here are the reasons:

  1. Mobility service providers are competitors; data exchange is a huge barrier

Many companies that intend to build a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ecosystem, i.e., to link all mobility services and offer an all-in-one solution for everyone will struggle to create an equal and neutral architecture for everyone, simply because each party needs to defend its own data and value.

  1. Cross-system and the multi-party transaction is difficult

The best example is in the EU; there are 27 countries and some of them have different currencies. If you decide to travel from France to England, how is the revenue going to be evenly distributed across different companies? Not to mention that all transport associations that ensure all these multi-party transport services operate in a fairway.

  1. User data is poorly handled within a complex system

There is an obvious need to protect user data in a multi-party, cross-board mobility business as data breaches happen every day in all sizes of companies. The customer usually has no control over his own data, and it is often misused by businesses. The technology should serve not only the companies to increase collaboration efficiencies but also to ensure the control of customers’ data and their privacy.

That’s why we need a decentralized and well-designed technology that offers trust and convenience of data exchange on a need-to-know basis. We need an intermediate state between decentralization and centralization, a practical solution that solves today’s problem.


To summarize, MobiFi has two tokens that serve its vision of creating an efficient and sustainable future. Both tokens have their own responsibilities in this game, and it’s hard to achieve our goal without them.

An illustration of how MobiFi end to end mobility and financial service works

SMile token:

A stable token that is used as a payment method in the mobility ecosystem, which offers speed, zero transaction cost, and immutability through shared ledger systems for both end-user and mobility service providers.

MobiFi token:

It is the core of the financial tool of MobiFi, the yield token to incentive how people travel, and it will play an important role in ensuring the operation of the bridge and its governance in the future between permission ledger and public blockchain networks.



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Founder of Things Protocol, project lead of MobiFi, ex CTO advisor of Shell