Blockchain-powered ride-hailing app to arrive in Vietnam

By Vien Thong   May 6, 2018 | 11:09 pm PT
Blockchain-powered ride-hailing app to arrive in Vietnam
CEO Kay Woo introduces MVL during a conference in HCMC last Saturday. Photo by VnExpress/Vien Thong
MVL says drivers will not have to pay commission, and the company will make a profit from selling data.

A blockchain-powered ride-hailing app which requires no commission fee from drivers will be arriving in Vietnam this July in the wake of Uber’s departure last month following Grab's acquisition of the firm’s Southeast Asian operations.

MVL from the Singapore-based startup MVLchain is going to recruit its first batch of drivers in Vietnam this month.

The upcoming app utilizes blockchain technology, and is the first ride-hailing app in Vietnam to do so, said CEO Kay Woo during a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City last Saturday.

Blockchain technology utilizes a growing list of digital records which are linked and secured using cryptography. That means a blockchain system can act as a secure, open and transparent distribution ledger to record transactions between two parties efficiently and verifiably. Blockchain technology can be applied to manage assets, contracts and global payments. 

“Our data is stored using blockchain technology. That means all data belong to all suppliers in the system, which provides transparency,” said Woo. Fellow ride-hailing apps Grab and Uber instead store all their data in servers, said Woo.

MVL will also not require its drivers to pay a commission. Instead, the firm will sell data generated from its daily operations to insurance and market survey companies to make a profit. 

The firm hopes to attract more drivers this way, aiming to eventually acquire 25 percent of all four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles currently operating in Vietnam. 

MVL will have to compete with Grab, the largest ride-hailing app currently operating in Vietnam. Once all the legal procedures are completed, MVL is expected to go live in Vietnam this July.

Grab has raised suspicions about creating a monopoly in Vietnam now that its biggest rival Uber is gone, despite an official from the Ministry of Transport saying Grab is unlikely to do so, considering how there are other apps competing with Grab, including ViVu, Mai Linh Bike and Go-Jek.

MVLchain was founded in 2012 by a group of Korean investors. It currently operates in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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