La’Zooz

Ride sharing applications have taken the world by storm over the past few years. Uber and Lyft are two of the biggest, and Uber seems to be intent on world domination. Uber raked in 2 billion dollars in 2014 alone and is one of the fastest growing startups in the world. The premise is simple: take advantage of the ubiquity of smart phones to let users hail a ride from anywhere, to anywhere. Uber decentralizes the power of the taxi industry by making it possible for anyone to become a driver. Further, it lets anyone call a ride from anywhere with the push of a button using the phone’s GPS technology. With the advent of Uber, people are no longer forced to wait for a taxi to drive by, and drivers don’t need to wander until a rider is available.

Uber provides a matching service and apparently decentralizes it. P2P technology at its finest. Or is it? Several scandals have emerged out of Uber’s corporate culture as of late. Uber has become notorious both for its business practices, and for what it incentivizes and allows its drivers to do. Uber executive Emil Michael told the company to dig up dirt on a particular critical female reporter as well as other opponents. The power the company exerts over its drivers has grown from surveillance into possibly predatory lending practices. Uber’s “God Mode,” the ability to see all rides happening in any location in real time with all social data attached to each rider, has been the subject of controversy on multiple occasions. Drivers, meanwhile, have been known to hail Lyft cabs only to cancel them, so that riders would instead choose Uber. Despite these concerns, Uber has grown at an exponential rate over the past few years and is showing revenue numbers in the billions. It provides a useful service: people prefer using a location-aware app to hail a ride over calling a taxi, and it’s safe to say the demand for real-time ride-sharing isn’t going away anytime soon.

But privacy invasion and the vast imbalance of power between a billion-dollar corporation and its contractors are the negatives of Uber that riders must accept when they use its service. Riders will be able to spend Zooz tokens to get rides from La’Zooz drivers. Drivers have a different app that lets them “mine” Zooz just for driving around. La’Zooz implements what they call a proof-of-movement algorithm. It uses GPS triangulation data to track whether the driver is driving. If they are driving, they’ll be able to mine Zooz currency.

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