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Hivemapper pushes web3 model to challenge Google Maps

TechCrunch | Manish Singh | Apr 5, 2022

Hivemapper - Hivemapper pushes web3 model to challenge Google MapsOver a decade ago, a group of employees at Yahoo were struggling to compete with Google Maps as the younger firm aggressively outspent its rivals and scaled its offering with a grand vision and unmatched risk-appetite.

“We didn’t have the same kind of budget and they ultimately won. But as a competitive person that was deeply frustrating to me,” said Ariel Seidman, who served as a product manager at Yahoo.

Google Maps’ remarkable price hike four years ago came as a surprise to countless businesses relying on the Android-maker’s offering. It upset many of them and drove some to try alternatives.  There’s also an antitrust investigation looming over Google Maps, according to Reuters, which reported last month that the DOJ had “breathed new life into an investigation of Google Maps to determine if bundling the service together with other Google software illegally stifles competition.”

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And then there’s the whole web3 push.  A lot has changed in recent years that has Siedman convinced again that it’s now the right time to take another stab at fulfilling his long-lasting dream of building a global mapping infrastructure.

On Tuesday, Hivemapper, Siedman’s new startup, announced it has raised $18 million to make further inroads with its attempt.  Hivemapper is building a decentralized, blockchain-based mapping network. It is relying on dashcams, and maps contributors and drivers, to capture 4K, street-level imagery. This data is then processed, tweaked for quality assurance, and annotated.

For their contribution, Hivemapper says it is rewarding both drivers and editors with the startup’s native token called HONEY.

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Tushar Jain, Managing Partner of Multicoin Capital said:

Using dashcams has its own advantages [which] allows drivers and the firm to avoid spending on expensive mapping vehicles, “nor does it have to pay people to drive those cars around.”

“Instead, the network can simply identify regions that need to be mapped and put bounties on them, which are then claimed by a vast community of map contributors who are eager to claim those rewards for simply driving their daily commutes. As a result, Hivemapper creates unprecedented coverage, freshness, and quality in a radically more cost effective way,” he said.

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