HomeFinanceHivemapper desires to be a crypto-powered Google Maps, however insider tokenomics and...

Hivemapper desires to be a crypto-powered Google Maps, however insider tokenomics and product delays might foil the $18M plan | NEWSRUX

Phil first heard about Hivemapper after the corporate raised $18 million in April to make a crypto-powered model of Google Avenue View. Customers might purchase one among two dashcam fashions straight from the corporate, for both $549 or $649. In return for producing mapping knowledge, drivers could be rewarded with Hivemapper’s proprietary token, Honey. Phil ordered one that very same month. 

A 31-year-old electrician dwelling in Ontario who requested to not use his full title, Phil stated that there have been two causes he purchased in.

“I like the thought of normal Joes having the ability to be a part of a undertaking and conceivably assist construct it as nicely,” he stated. He’s participated in related corporations, together with the decentralized wi-fi community Helium—though his hotspots by no means arrived.

The opposite purpose, he instructed Fortune, was revenue. Regardless of getting burned by Helium, he knew that if Hivemapper took off and the Honey token soared, he might make a good-looking return as an early adopter.

After ordering his dashcam within the spring and being instructed it might ship in early summer time, Phil has obtained a collection of delay notifications from Hivemapper, which have additionally plagued different dashcam consumers. After launching in early November with 5,500 preorders, CEO Ariel Seidman stated Hivemapper has solely shipped 590 models. Solely about 200 are at the moment on-line and working, a determine mirrored within the Hivemapper explorer and confirmed by Seidman.

Hivemapper’s Dashcam and Dashcam S.

Courtesy of Hivemapper

Hivemapper’s Honey token additionally has confirmed opaque. After forking over as much as $649 for a dashcam, Hivemapper customers on social media have questioned the real-world worth of their rewards, which Seidman stated the corporate is unable to touch upon for authorized functions. Customers have additionally raised doubts over Honey’s skewed distribution construction, with 60% of the token’s whole provide pre-mined and allotted for insiders, together with staff and traders.

“I jumped the gun hoping to be an early adopter and went in a bit blind. It’s wonderful how greed can blind you.”  

Phil, an early Hivemapper dashcam purchaser

On Discord and Reddit, early clients are evaluating Hivemapper’s woes to these of Helium, a undertaking that promised to supply an actual use case for crypto—customers would obtain tokens for organising hotspots of their properties to create a wi-fi community for internet-of-things gadgets—however has struggled to seek out adoption amid accusations of insider profiteering. The connection is just not tough to make, with Helium CEO Amir Haleem collaborating as an investor and adviser in Hivemapper.

As with different crypto tasks that promise actual utility, the pervasive fear is that Hivemapper will show to be one other top-heavy scheme the place the insiders revenue and the customers are rug pulled—a concern exacerbated by the truth that 90% of the preordered dashcams have but to reach.  

“This has all began to appear scammy,” Phil instructed Fortune. “I jumped the gun hoping to be an early adopter and went in a bit blind. It’s wonderful how greed can blind you.”

Early setbacks 

Seidman, the CEO, stated such considerations couldn’t be farther from the reality. He spoke with Fortune only a week after Hivemapper’s early November launch, which additionally occurred to be the day after FTX halted buyer withdrawals. The collapse of the change despatched shockwaves by way of the crypto ecosystem, and Hivemapper was no totally different: The undertaking is constructed on high of the Solana blockchain, a favourite of FTX founder Sam Bankman Fried, and Hivemapper’s lead investor was Multicoin Capital, which might find yourself shedding over half its capital due to FTX.

However, Seidman stated he was assured. He had beforehand based the corporate Gigwalk, a variation on Taskrabbit’s crowdsourcing for fast jobs, and he believed that the mannequin of mass participation by customers—mixed with crypto rewards—might disrupt Google’s stranglehold over street-level imagery.  

CEO Ariel Seidman stated Hivemapper has solely shipped 590 models.

Courtesy of Hivemapper

As he defined it, hordes of Hivemapper customers would passively gather footage from their each day commutes, which might then be processed and offered to corporations like Redfin or Zillow. Not solely does Seidman declare that it might be extra inexpensive than Google Avenue View’s API, but additionally that the info could be refreshed consistently. Like Helium, the platform would make use of a burn-and-mint construction, the place the tokens earned by customers could possibly be bought by clients to spend on mapping knowledge.

By promoting a reported 5,500 preorders throughout 66 international locations, Hivemapper obtained off to a robust begin (and, with the dashcams’ hefty pricing, sizable early income as excessive as $3.5 million). At launch, the corporate shared that one among its early clients could be the town of Shreveport, Louisiana, which purchased dashcams for its rubbish vans and deliberate to make use of the rewards—in addition to an extra price range of $7,000—to purchase mapping imagery to raised reply to customer support points.

Seidman stated Hivemapper had two different clients onboard that might be solely utilizing the map picture API. He declined to call them, however did say they’re each logistics corporations.  

As with all market, Hivemapper faces the chicken-and-egg impediment the place it wants sufficient mapping knowledge to entice enterprise clients to buy the imagery, but it surely wants sufficient clients to make the Honey token useful and incentivize customers to spend a whole bunch of {dollars} on a dashcam. With Hivemapper going through logistics challenges in manufacturing and delivering the {hardware}, progress has been sluggish.

The value of a token

Additional complicating the matter is the truth that Seidman and Hivemapper can’t touch upon how a lot the Honey token could be price, or easy methods to really commerce it. On the official Hivemapper Discord, moderators delete messages concerning the monetary nature of the token and repeatedly warn that any dialogue about “change, worth, ROI, and shopping for/promoting” is just not allowed. Seidman stated that the Hivemapper Basis will set up an oracle to find out the worth of Honey, but it surely has but to take action. 

The value analytics platform Dextools does present some transactions valuing a Honey token at round 24 cents, with restricted liquidity of slightly below $4,000. 

Hivemapper began to distribute Honey to its 200-odd mappers on Nov. 10. Honey’s token explorer provides an early pattern of what customers may anticipate in return. In Hivemapper’s newest distribution, on Dec. 1, “protection” customers earned anyplace from 25,000 tokens to a single token, based mostly on the quantity of information they collected by driving. For high earners, this might show profitable in the event that they discover a purchaser within the low-liquidity market.  

The overwhelming majority of listed transactions have been for customers who accomplished map enhancing and high quality assurance work—a process that may be accomplished from a desktop laptop or smartphone—and have been usually rewarded with a tiny fraction of a token.


Approximate variety of energetic mappers on Hivemapper, regardless of over 5,500 dashcam preorders
Supply: Hivemapper CEO Ariel Seidman

One other critique has targeted on Hivemapper’s tokenomics, with 60% of the tokens pre-mined and allotted to insiders, together with 20% to staff, 15% to the corporate itself, and 5% to the affiliated basis answerable for governance. Seidman stated these tokens could be restricted over a two- to three-year interval, and that the long run capital raised from Honey tokens was essential to scale the undertaking. Nonetheless, it blows other crypto projects out of the water by way of insider allocation. 

Customers on the Hivemapper Discord questioned an incentive construction the place almost two-thirds of the tokens could be pre-mined, as one particular person wrote, “out of skinny air,” whereas the remainder finally would trickle out to customers. Because it at the moment stands, 4 wallets maintain over 99.7% of Honey tokens.

Phil, regardless of the undertaking’s setbacks, instructed Fortune he’s remaining optimistic. 

In early December, almost eight months after preordering his dashcam, he lastly obtained a notification that it had been shipped. Now, he’s extra involved concerning the Honey tokens and whether or not he’ll really have the ability to commerce them. He emailed the Hivemapper crew, which has been responsive up to now. 

“It provides me hope that this isn’t one other crypto shitcoin,” he stated.

The corporate responded to Phil’s electronic mail.

“Sadly,” the reply learn, “Hivemapper workers is just not permitted to invest on the worth of Honey or focus on itemizing or change info.”

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