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Leaving Uber and Lyft Behind, Decentralized Ride-Sharing Is the Next Big Thing

In the last few years, ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have disrupted the travel industry, leaving traditional taxi cabs behind in a cloud of dust. 

While the model used by Uber and Lyft addresses most of the challenges faced by the traditional taxi riders, it has many issues of its own. And further decentralization of the peer-to-peer model already used by ride-sharing companies may be a solution.

Take Uber, for instance; the company has experienced numerous scandals, including a hack it didn't report that left 57 million users' private information exposed and an issue during which it misused users' data. Lyft has experienced its own scandals as well, such as being accused of spying on passengers several times.

However, with the entry of blockchain-driven ride-sharing, these challenges may soon be a thing of the past. Imagine a model similar to Uber but without centralized control. With this model, there is full transparency into data management and transactions, with the drivers taking home most of the profits and not the platform. This is what decentralized ride-sharing is all about.

This model isn't as far away from adoption as it seems, with some decentralized ride-sharing solutions already in development. A good example of this is the DAV Protocol, a project that allows anyone to buy and sell transportation services. The DAV platform enables parties within its ecosystem to transact with each other with full transparency and without any transactional costs.

Just like Uber, riders can discover drivers within their area and get a fare quote. The DAV app also allows drivers to discover charging stations nearby and compare prices. Another great thing about this platform is that it's open source, therefore enabling developers to introduce their own unique value to the network.

The project is currently exploring how ride-sharing can be integrated with autonomous cars. It appears that self-driving vehicles will eventually be a norm, with the old model of riders needing to communicate directly with drivers becoming obsolete. DAV is working on an infrastructure that allows riders to connect with autonomous cars and request services. Through the protocol, self-driving cars will also be able to identify and connect with other service providers such as charging stations. All the transactions within the DAV protocol will be facilitated through the DAV tokens.

Ridecoin is another company seeking to decentralize ride-sharing. Even though it is in its earliest stages, the project is picking up momentum quickly. Unlike the DAV Protocol, Ridecoin only focuses on connecting riders and drivers in a decentralized manner.

According to its white paper, the goal is to maximize profits for the drivers and lower costs for the riders. Also, the project seeks to ensure full transparency while protecting users’ data from hackers. Their ecosystem is powered by two tokens, one for transactions and the other for investment.

A project known as La’Zooz is also working on a solution to democratize the ride-sharing industry. Unlike DAV and Ridecoin, this project aims to help people get rides from drivers heading in the same direction as they are. 

As opposed to the traditional model where a driver is driving with the end goal of getting clients to their destinations, the La’Zooz approach connects private drivers with passengers looking for a lift. This means that any driver can offer to share a ride with travelers in need and get rewarded in the process. Given that multiple people can share one car and the drivers are heading in that direction anyway, the fees charged to each rider are much lower than that of the traditional ride-sharing taxi.

La’Zooz is also open source, so developers can introduce additions and improve the platform. All parties in the ecosystem including riders get rewarded through the platform's token, known as zooz.

There are a few other decentralized ride-sharing platforms, but those mentioned here are by far the best currently available. 

With the rate at which these new technologies are developing, there is no doubt that it is just a matter of time before the industry experiences explosive growth and major changes that will change the ride-sharing industry for the better.

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