Published on December 16th, 2018 | by Saurabh Pandey

Can Blockchain Disrupt Uber & Ola?

I had this discussion sometime back with a few colleagues and I thought of sharing the key thoughts from there

Most of know a bit about blockchain and we use ola or uber regularly as well.

And interestingly cab hailing service is one of the industries that have a huge potential to get disrupted

Not just Uber and Ola but companies like Oyo or  Urban Clap etc. also work on a platform model of business, wherein they facilitate an exchange of value between 2 parties. In the case of cab-hailing companies- rider and driver become the 2 parties.

While doing this, they create and locks-in immense value for both parties in terms of driver and rider reputation, safe payments, easiness of finding cabs and customers, remembering your music playlist and so on.

This is why the riders and drivers eventually become dependent on the platform and the platform charges a premium through surge pricing, transaction cuts etc. means. which make your ride more expensive and less profitable for drivers.

We will understand Platform businesses in detail in one of the coming episodes.

Now, imagine if riders were to find and connect with drivers directly, without any platform in the middle to make the match and yet enjoy all or most valuable benefits that a platform gives them.

Of course, the rides will be cheaper and earnings for drivers would be better. There would be more privacy and data accuracy as well.

How is this possible?  Blockchain OR A decentralised platform can makes this possible

So, imagine that we have a suite of distributed applications all connected to a decentralised platform, let’s name it SMART.

All a driver has to do simply is access this suite of applications: one to verify insurance, one for background checks, one for licensing, etc. These apps are provided by certified vendors. Once all these boxes are checked, the driver appears on the network as “available.”

ride-hailing process decentralisedSource: DACSEE

Riders need a coin wallet. The rider appears instantly on the other end of the SMART network and is matched with a driver automatically.

There are no commissions or premium charges, but just a one-to-one transaction. Driver and rider both are happy.

This is not fantasy when we talk about Bitcoin, there is no one in charge there, and it works in a similar way. So there is a good use case for blockchain already.

Having said that, we still may have to give a very small fraction of each transaction to a few entities for marketing, validation and support activities, but I guess this will still be a very efficient system than what we have now.

This would also be interesting because I see that instead of one or two big platforms we may see many such platforms and this would usher in a different type of platform dynamics and competition at play.

So looking forward to meeting you again with a topic that has an impact on our businesses and lives. Till then keep tuned in.

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