The newly created platform addresses rising passenger safety concerns in China, as the ride-hailing giant Didi struggles with the fallout from a second passenger killed in three months, South China Morning Post reported.
Chinese Ride-Hailing Pioneer Returns
Andy Chen Weixing
(Source: South China Morning Post)
Andy Chen Weixing, a Chinese ride-hailing pioneer, is launching a new blockchain-based app called VV Go that seeks to improve passenger safety and increase the income of drivers, the South China Morning Post reported.
Chen is the co-founder of Kuaidi Dache, the company which later merged with competitor Didi Dache to form a larger service provider, Didi Chuxing and end a ruinous price war that raged between the companies.
After leaving Didi, Chen focused on other hi-tech projects, investing in Bytedance, owner of mobile news aggregator app operator Jinri Toutiao, and NetMind Financial Holdings, a company shifting from mining to e-logistics. Chen has also earmarked about one-fifth of his total investments (around $150 million USD) into blockchain-related startups, including cryptocurrency exchanges Bitnance and Huobi and the ride-hailing platform VV Go.
A Lesson in Safety
(Source: The Verge)
According to the August 30 report, the newly created blockchain-powered ride-hailing platform will be able to share information about drivers and rides among all users in a timely and transparent manner.
“I think a good design of rules can definitely help improve safety, and blockchain is the very thing to design better rules,” Chen said in an interview.
He explained that if a passenger sent out an emergency call, the shared network would enable other drivers and even the police to respond quickly and resolve the issue.
The feature seems to be a direct response to the tragedy that occurred in one of Didi’s vehicles, where a young woman was murdered on Didi’s carpool-like Hitch service. According to SCMP, the victim had sent out a message for help after getting onto the ride, but Didi failed to share ride details due to privacy concerns.
The death of the 20-year-old woman in China’s Zhejiang province is the second murder in the past three months, and fourth in the past two years.
The latest tragedy prompted users of China’s top rideshare app to delete it en masse, with the hashtag #BoycottDidi garnering more than 1 million views on Weibo.
The main goal of Chen’s VV Go app is to address the passenger safety concerns in China’s ride-hailing market, hoping that creating a shared economy would improve the experience both for the users and drivers. It’s the first time Chen’s non-profit enterprise called VV Share attempted to create such a project.
VV Go’s sharing economy will involve the creation of 100 billion VVS tokens, which will be used on VV Go and other blockchain-based on-demand services the firm is looking to develop.
Around 80 percent of the tokens will be distributed to VV Go’s users, while the rest will be used as a reward to VV Share’s core team and advisers.
Chen’s plan was to allow the drivers, as users, to essentially own the blockchain ride-hailing platform through tokens. That way, protecting the passengers and maintaining the platform’s security would become their own business.
“That’s more effective than letting just one company take responsibility [for any issues],” he told the South China Morning Post.
When asked about the future of VV Go, Chen said that he looks forward to eventually competing with Uber and Didi.
“I’m not afraid of competition. If my experiment is successful, their model will become problematic,” he added.