Hivemapper starts issuing crypto tokens for vehicle dashcam footage as means to help build their brand.
Beginning on Thursday, drivers all around the world will be able to generate cryptocurrency by installing a dashcam and sharing their photographs with a San Francisco firm that wants to capture some of Google’s street-level imagery.
Hivemapper Inc. said in April that it had raised $18 million from investors and that it had already sold more than 5,500 dashcams in 66 countries. Drivers generate tokens that Hivemapper calls Honey as they record storefronts and road signs.
Ariel Seidman, the chief executive of Hivemapper, said that he was unable to clarify how and when Honey can be spent used due to U.S. regulations.
He said, “I wish I could tell you. There’s real value that’s being created, and it will be reflected in the token.”
The project is similar to initiatives like cellular data provider Helium that aim to promote widespread participation by leveraging blockchains or other Web3 technologies, as proponents call them. While some investors, including Multicoin Capital, a supporter of Hivemapper, are optimistic about Web3 initiatives, skeptics are worried about fraud and currency speculation.
Hivemapper’s network of cameras raises privacy issues as well. According to Seidman, the business encrypts location data, anonymizes users, blurs faces and license plates, and swears off surveillance.
An organized fleet of cars with cameras provides Google with imagery under permission. Hivemapper aims to provide quality on par with Google while billing less.
In contrast, Mapillary, which Meta Platforms Inc. bought in 2020, encourages individuals to take pictures with their phones and dashcams without compensation.
Hivemapper’s imagery is being evaluated by mapmaker HERE, which is partially owned by German manufacturers, for future usage, including for the most recent speed limit data. Speeding warnings must be placed inside vehicles under European regulations as of July.
Hivemapper updated 75% of data monthly during tests in Manila, covering 95% of the roads in six months.
Shreveport, Louisiana, is an early customer, paying around $7,000 for complete coverage in its bounds from dashcams on garbage trucks, according to Keith Hanson, the city’s chief technology officer. He regarded it as a low-cost strategy for responding to resident complaints.