Pieter Buikema’s Twende app aims to coordinate vast numbers of drivers to deliver a revamped service to citizens which is easy to use and pay for — all hinging on blockchain.
“The enthusiasm for the Twende is big in Kenya, and people begin to use the app, which is a good sign for a start-up,” he said in an interviewwith Dutch publication Oneworld.nl.
The Twende concept essentially brings the Uber element to “boda bodas” (motorcycle taxis) beginning in the capital Nairobi. Through the app, users can hail vetted drivers to increase safety and reliability. Then for the other party, distance-based incentives create willingness to drive more and gain good customer ratings.
Buikema notes that formalizing the trade provides much-needed job security for motorcycle owners and peace of mind for customers, given boda bodas’ poor safety record.
An additional source of interest in Twende from drivers could be coming from Uber’s decision to reduce fares in Kenya by 35%.
“We want a good relationship with the drivers. Because they get more work through us, they should be able to increase their income by a quarter.”
Prioritizing Cashless, Cardless Payment
Blockchain’s role in Buikema’s plan revolves around organization. Should the concept take off, thousands of drivers will need to be coordinated and incomes fairly distributed. This is in an economy where bank account penetration for such micro-entrepreneurs is extremely limited.
“Blockchain technology can make it possible,” he continued. “That’s what Bitcoin’s based on. What matters is that is no central point is greater; rather, users keep each other in check. In the long term, this can build a system where everyone is micro-shareholder.”
The app currently offers a 5% discount for fares paid with Kenya’s ubiquitous mobile money wallets. In this sector, Bitcoin is already active, with services such as BitPesa looking to get citizens paying for goods and services at home and abroad using their mobile wallets and Bitcoin.
“We’ve got some one-off grants, and last year we won a prize at Cordaid’s social adventure challenge, where we finished second,” Buikema added.
Twende’s future plans are ambitious, with expansion to neighboring countries on the cards. In the short term, the app is looking to include 400 drivers by the end of 2017.