Skedaddle, a company that calls itself the “Uber for buses,” has a radical new plan to eliminate tipping in the service sector. The company’s elevator pitch is to replace tips with customer-sourced ratings for service industry workers, including cab drivers, restaurant servers and even cashiers at supermarkets. These ratings can then be assigned a monetary value through a cryptocurrency.
The Kudos Project
Using ratings to replace traditional tipping is not the ultimate goal of Skedaddle’s project, however. They have a much more ambitious plan, one that involves both blockchain and cryptocurrency. These technologies have been very prominent in the tech industry lately, especially with bitcoin’s unprecedented eightfold price jump in 2017.
Blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies, with its first ever application being bitcoin in 2009. A blockchain is a publicly accessible ledger that tracks data over time. Skedaddle and many other startups have picked up the technology recently, all trying their best to solve existing problems across multiple industries.
The service, due to release on January 16, 2018, is called “The Kudos Project.” Like most Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) on the market today, Skedaddle has decided to run this project on the Ethereum blockchain. The ICO has already achieved $6 million of its funding target and hopes to raise up to $20 million when it launches.
Tangible Benefits on an Ethereum Platform
Despite running on the Ethereum blockchain, which is the second most popular cryptocurrency on the planet, Skedaddle believes that their tokens will be the first to offer tangible benefits, enough for real-world application.
They also claim that their cryptocurrency will go head-to-head with websites specializing in reviews, like Yelp and Facebook and even hope to overthrow them entirely sometime in the future.
It is no secret that customer ratings are a vastly unreliable metric for estimating the quality of work done. The fact that Skedaddle believes its new ICO could reliably use these ratings to any degree of accuracy will naturally be a point of fixation for many.
Grand Task Ahead
Furthermore, the core functionality that the Kudos Project hopes to deliver relies massively on collecting crowdsourced ratings for workers. It can then be understood that the blockchain would have a complete record of any given employee’s work history and performance, even after they have changed jobs multiple times.
It goes without saying that storing data of this scale – on a publicly accessible blockchain – is a nightmare for most people concerned about their privacy. On paper, the “Kudos Project” appears to have an innocuous expectation, that is, to get rid of tipping entirely.
But since that goal is virtually impossible to achieve without tracking millions of individuals and essentially controlling a part of the economy, it may never really succeed in its grand endeavor.
In the end, whether this new coin is a success or not, it is abundantly apparent that this is the direction that the world is headed. In the past, fictional projections of the future have depicted similar scenarios, and while most of those were intended as a sheer parody at the time, we are several steps closer to this dystopian society today.