Yesterday, Singapore-based blockchain firm MVL announced it raised $5 million in its Series A funding round led by South Koran venture capital firm SV Investment. MVL has a flagship product called TADA, a blockchain-based ride-hailing service.
South Korean car parts manufacturers, Central and SIMWON also participated in the funding round.
TADA translates to ‘ride’ in Korean and offers a zero-commission model. The TADA app is powered by MVL Chain, an ecosystem bringing automotive stakeholders onto a single platform. The MVL blockchain records the entire vehicle history such as maintenance, repairs, previous rides and rating of the driver to improve services to customers.
The system employs a rewards system for drivers, giving them MVL points for providing a good service to customers. These points are convertible into MVL cryptocurrency called MVL coins.
TADA says that more than 50,000 drivers and 500,000 passengers have used the drive hailing app in Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia. But it doesn’t provide monthly user figures. The firm participated in the Singapore government-backed Tribe Accelerator.
The Korean connection of the company is from its CEO Kay Woo and CTO Jaehwa Han; both are from South Korea. The company said it would use the funding amount to develop more products based on MVL’s blockchain.
“Building on the foundation of introducing TADA, the world’s first blockchain-based zero-commission ride-hailing service, we expect to be announcing many other first’s in the region in the coming months,” said Woo.
“They (MVL) were able to find a new way to build a strong connection between suppliers and consumers, as well as hardware and software in the midst of developing a mobility ecosystem,” said a spokesperson from SV Investment.
Some of the pressing issues with ride-hailing services are inaccurate information, fake driver identity and several intermediaries between the rider and the driver, which results in higher fees. Recently, Uber was stripped of its London license after the transport authority found many drivers had faked their identity on the firm’s app.
The MVL Chain has the potential to address such issues because the vehicle data and the driver data are both recorded by the blockchain, making it difficult to circumvent rules.
Another issue is that ride-hailing services connect the rider and driver through an internal algorithm. There is no way for the customer to know how the model works. A blockchain-based service could connect the passenger, and a driver using smart contracts and payment could potentially be made using cryptocurrency or token.
One slight issue is that there appears to be another ride-hailing firm in South Korea with the same name. The blockchain company is Tada.global, and the South Korean one is tadatada.com which has more than 1.2 million users. The latter is currently being prosecuted for operating without a government-issued license.
Another platform competing with TADA is Drife, which leverages blockchain to offer no-commission rides and incentivizes services by using its proprietary DRF tokens.