Why Blockchain Might Kill Uber

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Uber disrupted the taxi industry, now they will be disrupted.

The international ride-sharing service, Uber has fought tooth and nail to not consider its drivers as workers. The reason for this is that it is much cheaper to list someone as an independent contractor than as an employee. And if that were to change, it might make an unprofitable business model even more untenable.

However, that is precisely what is happening, as countries around the world are forcing the company to relist their drivers as company workers. This might be the kiss of death to a startup that had consistently depended on unrelenting investor enthusiasm to keep providing it with capital to burn through in a quest for profit.

A strong case can be made that a lot of this money was wasted on lavish corporate spending. For instance, two years ago, Uber told its office workers they’d no longer receive helium balloons on each anniversary of their joining the company as changing to stickers would save $200,000 a year!

In other words, the startup is top-heavy while undervaluing the efforts of its constituent revenue-generating members.  Yet, it is unlikely that the disruption of the industry will cease. Customers generally do not want to go back to the unvetted and expensive taxis of old, as they much prefer the current state of affairs where a cheap and comfortable ride is a press of the button away.

Hence, even if Uber were to go under, its market share wouldn’t be retaken by the mafia-style taxi conglomerates of old. The proposed middle-ground solution is multiple competing services that are driver owned. 

These could be run as DAOs, decentralized autonomous organizations, that operate on the blockchain and give their users control over governance policies. Through this, the voice of the drivers could be heard and logged without fear of backdoor manipulation. In other words, the central office of managers and decision-makers could be eliminated and profit channelled to the people that actually generate it.

Then, if there are competing DAOs, market forces would push prices downwards, until eventually we would reach an equilibrium wherein drivers get treated more humanely and customers still have access to cheap and easy transportation.
The future doesn’t lie with major corporations with unsustainable business models, but decentralized organizations run by normal everyday people that better the world through their collective action!

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