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Paul's Vision for Decentralizing Rideshare with Teleport

By Unlayered

Published on 2023-06-06

Discover how Teleport is building a decentralized rideshare protocol on Solana to disrupt the industry and empower drivers and riders.

Introduction to Teleport and Paul Boehm

Teleport is an ambitious project aiming to revolutionize the rideshare industry through decentralization. Founded by Paul Boehm, a veteran of the tech industry with experience at Dropbox and deep roots in crypto since 2011, Teleport seeks to create an open protocol for ridesharing built on the Solana blockchain.

In this in-depth discussion, Paul Boehm shares his vision for Teleport and how it aims to disrupt the current oligopoly in the rideshare market. By leveraging blockchain technology and creating an open protocol, Teleport hopes to empower drivers, reduce costs for riders, and foster a more competitive and innovative ecosystem.

The Problem with Current Rideshare Giants

Paul Boehm identifies several key issues with the current rideshare landscape dominated by companies like Uber and Lyft:

  1. High take rates: Uber reportedly takes up to 44% of each ride's fare.
  2. Lack of competition: The market is controlled by a few large players, stifling innovation.
  3. Centralized control: Drivers and riders have little say in how the platforms operate.

As Boehm puts it: "I think the reason they can do that is because no one's developed the technology to move away from that. But if we show that it's possible to build this technology, if we show how this is done, I think we're going to see the next 10 years. Crypto might find its niche in just like that, I think the future. Search intermediaries that are no longer needed."

The Teleport Solution: A Decentralized Rideshare Protocol

At its core, Teleport is not just another rideshare company. Instead, it's building an open protocol called "trip" that will allow anyone to create and operate a rideshare service. This approach has several key advantages:

  1. Lower costs: By eliminating the need for a central authority, costs can be significantly reduced.
  2. Empowering local entrepreneurs: Anyone can start a transportation network company (TNC) using the Teleport protocol.
  3. Increased competition: Multiple companies can operate on the same protocol, fostering innovation and better service.
  4. Transparency: The open-source nature of the protocol ensures fairness and accountability.

How Teleport Works

The Teleport protocol is designed to be a comprehensive solution for ridesharing, covering everything from identity verification to payment processing. Here are some key components:

  1. Identity system: Mostly off-chain but leveraging blockchain public keys for identification.
  2. Background checks: Integrated into the protocol to ensure rider safety.
  3. Payment processing: Using USDC on the Solana blockchain for fast, low-cost transactions.
  4. Governance token: Used to incentivize network growth and align interests of all participants.

Importantly, Teleport is not trying to be a peer-to-peer system. As Boehm explains: "We're decidedly not peer to peer, right? Because I just like, by the way, blue sky, for example, another example for non-peer to peer protocol. It's actually more like, in the blue sky case, if you think about it, it's almost like Twitter had three data centers all owned, but a Twitter corporation or an ex-corporation or whatever."

Why Solana?

Teleport has chosen to build on the Solana blockchain for several reasons:

  1. High transaction speed and low costs
  2. Simple, monolithic architecture that's easy to reason about
  3. Strong USDC liquidity
  4. Vibrant builder community

Boehm elaborates: "I think Solana has a very engineering focused approach as well, where it's just like, I want to create this fast thing. It doesn't need to be what's already out there. It doesn't need to be a store of value. It doesn't need to be anything. It's just fast because there's certain applications that we can only do if it's fast and cheap."

The Teleport Team and Progress

Teleport has assembled a team of nearly 20 people, including veterans from companies like Cruise Automation, Uber, and Coinbase. They've been working heads-down on building the protocol and are now approaching launch.

Boehm shares: "We're a team of almost 20. I think we're holding steady here. We don't intend to add right now. We have fantastic people from X-Cruise automation, X-Oober, X-Coin-based."

Regulatory Compliance and Safety

One of the key differentiators for Teleport is its focus on regulatory compliance and safety. Unlike some crypto projects that try to sidestep regulations, Teleport is embracing them:

  1. Obtaining proper licenses in each jurisdiction
  2. Implementing comprehensive background checks
  3. Ensuring proper insurance coverage
  4. Working with regulators to create a fair and safe system

Boehm emphasizes: "Every part of what we do is both letter and spirit of the law, meaning, you know, we're not fintech, we're not quite crypto I see as a wreck tech, like we're regulatory technology in the sense that we're actually doing something that regulators love us to do, which is opening this market up to many, many small competitors."

The Governance Token and Incentive Structure

While many crypto projects focus heavily on their token economics, Teleport is taking a different approach. Their governance token is not designed to be an investment vehicle or speculative asset. Instead, it serves several key functions:

  1. Aligning incentives of all network participants
  2. Rewarding early adopters and contributors
  3. Enabling decentralized governance of the protocol

Boehm explains: "We're not selling our token to anyone. We're not using our token to fund operations. The token is just the governance token of the network."

Launch Strategy and Growth Plans

Teleport is taking a measured approach to its launch:

  1. Obtaining licenses in select US states
  2. Launching with a minimal viable product
  3. Gradually opening up the protocol to more operators and drivers

Boehm shares: "We vary deliberately, and I think a lot of people are going to tell us we're doing the wrong thing here. Very deliberately, don't do a classical rollout plan where we are trying to run a right-chair business. We are not. We're not going to bring all the drivers, we're not going to bring all the riders, we're just turning the thing on, and we're creating the tools and incentives for other people to bring the drivers and riders."

The Future of Decentralized Protocols

Paul Boehm sees Teleport as just the beginning of a larger trend towards decentralized protocols replacing centralized intermediaries. He envisions a future where:

  1. Multiple industries are disrupted by open protocols
  2. Innovation flourishes as barriers to entry are lowered
  3. Users have more choice and control over their data and interactions

Boehm predicts: "Five, 10 years from now, I think we're going to be in an interesting situation where whichever chain, I do think there is, not entirely sure on it, but I think there's some possibility that whichever chain attract these protocol tokens. And right now Solana is obviously in the lead here very clearly, but I think there will be a race because people will realize that's the real game here."

Challenges and Potential Obstacles

While the vision for Teleport is compelling, there are several challenges the project will need to overcome:

  1. Network effects: Competing with established players like Uber and Lyft
  2. Regulatory hurdles: Navigating the complex landscape of transportation regulations
  3. User adoption: Convincing drivers and riders to switch to a new platform
  4. Technical challenges: Ensuring the protocol can handle the scale and complexity of ridesharing

The Importance of Open Source

A key aspect of Teleport's strategy is its commitment to open source. By making the entire protocol open source, Teleport aims to:

  1. Foster innovation and improvements from the community
  2. Increase trust and transparency in the system
  3. Allow for easy forking if the community disagrees with the direction

Boehm explains: "We're planning to open source everything we do. So that's going to make it a lot easier. But then you still have this problem, you don't actually have drivers and riders."

The Role of Crypto in Consumer Applications

Teleport represents a new wave of crypto projects that are focused on real-world utility rather than speculation. By using blockchain technology to solve actual problems in the rideshare industry, Teleport is demonstrating the potential for crypto to disrupt traditional business models.

Boehm sees this as a broader trend: "I think we're going to see the next 10 years, crypto might find its niche in just like taking down large intermediaries that are no longer needed. That's I think the future."

User Experience and Adoption Strategy

One of the key challenges for any crypto project is user adoption, especially when targeting mainstream users. Teleport is taking a pragmatic approach to this:

  1. Allowing credit card payments in addition to crypto
  2. Creating a user interface that's familiar to existing rideshare users
  3. Gradually introducing more crypto-native features over time

Boehm shares: "I think initially, I expect most people to just use a credit card and the drivers are getting USDC, but I expect a lot of them just to want to use a debit card to access their funds instantly or to use the ACH withdrawal, which takes a little bit longer."

The Potential Impact on the Rideshare Industry

If successful, Teleport could have a significant impact on the rideshare industry:

  1. Lower prices for riders due to reduced fees
  2. Higher earnings for drivers
  3. Increased competition and innovation in the market
  4. More localized and community-oriented rideshare services

Boehm envisions: "Seven years from now, like from the launch date where we turn the key, it's possible for this network to grow at a speed where 50% of global right share volume will run on this network."

Expanding Beyond Rideshare

While Teleport is initially focused on ridesharing, the team sees potential for the protocol to expand into other areas:

  1. Food delivery
  2. Courier services
  3. Other on-demand services

Boehm hints at these possibilities: "If our focus, and that's going to be really the hard part, if our focus allows us to, we're going to try to do food delivery as well."

The Role of AI and Future Technologies

While not the primary focus of Teleport, Paul Boehm acknowledges the potential synergies between blockchain technology and AI:

"I think AI is actually pushing crypto, crypto is pushing AI. These things go very much hand in hand, more so than people think. We're always jumping on one hype train and think we can abandon the other, but really, like technology just goes hand in hand."

This suggests that future iterations of the Teleport protocol could potentially incorporate AI technologies to further improve the rideshare experience.

Community Involvement and Governance

A key aspect of Teleport's vision is the involvement of the community in the ongoing development and governance of the protocol. This includes:

  1. Open-source development allowing anyone to contribute
  2. A governance token that gives users a say in protocol decisions
  3. Incentives for early adopters and contributors

Boehm emphasizes the importance of this approach: "The moment people see this working, like literally with an app they can use, and reading the light paper how it works, I think people will understand why it took so much to pull this off."

The Importance of Simulations and Modeling

To ensure the stability and effectiveness of the Teleport protocol, the team is putting significant effort into simulations and modeling:

"We're doing agent based modeling in like a scientific computing language called Julia, where we're simulating like a whole right share models. We have like we can very quickly create a map of any city in the world. We download it from Open Street map and then we put, you know, drivers and riders based on, you know, some assumptions around, you know, traffic patterns, people drive to the office in the morning and then they go back to their homes to the more residential areas."

This approach allows the team to test different scenarios and optimize the protocol before launch.

The Role of Decentralized Engineering Corporation

The Decentralized Engineering Corporation, which is developing Teleport, sees itself not as a rideshare company, but as a protocol builder. Boehm explains:

"We are protocol builders. So the moment this protocol runs, it should be open source and we want to contribute like as just yet another contributor. And also we want to actually look forward. The moment this thing is actually being developed on by a thriving ecosystem for us. It's actually the question, what's the next protocol we should be building?"

This suggests that Teleport could be just the first of many decentralized protocols developed by the team.

The Potential for a New Economic Paradigm

If successful, Teleport and similar projects could usher in a new economic paradigm where open protocols replace centralized intermediaries across various industries. Boehm envisions:

"These protocol tokens will generate massive amounts of revenue that float through the system, meaning the need high transaction volume, composability is important because, you know, like the identity needs to be compatible with, with the right sharing needs to be compatible with the food delivery, you can't just be off on your own chains to do that and use like complicated worm holes if you're doing something other than trading."

Conclusion: A Glimpse into the Future of Decentralized Services

Teleport represents a bold vision for the future of ridesharing and beyond. By leveraging the power of blockchain technology, specifically the Solana network, Teleport aims to create a more equitable, efficient, and innovative ecosystem for transportation services.

While challenges remain, the potential impact of such a system is significant. If successful, Teleport could serve as a model for how decentralized protocols can disrupt traditional industries, empowering users and fostering innovation in the process.

As the project nears launch, all eyes will be on Teleport to see if it can deliver on its ambitious promises and potentially reshape the rideshare industry as we know it.

Facts + Figures

  • Teleport is building a decentralized rideshare protocol on the Solana blockchain
  • The project has a team of almost 20 people, including veterans from Cruise Automation, Uber, and Coinbase
  • Uber reportedly takes up to 44% of each ride's fare
  • Teleport aims to capture 50% of global rideshare volume within 7 years of launch
  • The annual revenue of the rideshare industry is projected to be around $300 billion by 2030
  • Teleport is not selling its governance token; it can only be earned through participation in the network
  • The project is focusing on the US market initially, with plans to expand to other services like food delivery
  • Teleport is using USDC for payments on the Solana blockchain
  • The project is conducting simulations using agent-based modeling in the Julia programming language
  • Teleport's founder, Paul Boehm, has been involved in crypto since 2011 and was an early employee at Dropbox
  • The project is aiming to launch in select US states within the next couple of months
  • Teleport is fully compliant with regulations and is obtaining proper licenses in each jurisdiction
  • The project is open-source, allowing anyone to contribute or fork the code
  • Teleport is using a non-peer-to-peer model, unlike some earlier attempts at decentralized ridesharing
  • The project sees potential synergies between blockchain technology and AI in the future

Questions Answered

What is Teleport?

Teleport is a decentralized rideshare protocol being built on the Solana blockchain. It aims to create an open system where anyone can operate a rideshare service, reducing costs for riders and increasing earnings for drivers. The protocol handles everything from identity verification to payment processing, all while ensuring regulatory compliance and safety.

How does Teleport differ from traditional rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft?

Teleport is fundamentally different because it's not a rideshare company itself, but rather a protocol that enables anyone to start and operate a rideshare service. This open approach allows for more competition, lower fees, and greater innovation in the industry. Additionally, Teleport uses blockchain technology to ensure transparency and fairness, and its governance token gives users a say in how the protocol evolves.

Why did Teleport choose to build on Solana?

Teleport chose Solana for several reasons: its high transaction speed and low costs, simple monolithic architecture that's easy to work with, strong USDC liquidity, and vibrant builder community. These features make Solana ideal for building a consumer-facing application that requires fast and cheap transactions, which is crucial for a rideshare service.

How does Teleport plan to ensure safety and regulatory compliance?

Teleport is taking a proactive approach to safety and regulatory compliance. They are obtaining proper licenses in each jurisdiction they operate in, implementing comprehensive background checks for drivers, ensuring proper insurance coverage, and working closely with regulators. The team sees this as a key differentiator and believes that embracing regulations will help them succeed where other crypto projects have struggled.

What is the role of the Teleport governance token?

The Teleport governance token is not designed as an investment vehicle or speculative asset. Instead, it serves to align the incentives of all network participants, reward early adopters and contributors, and enable decentralized governance of the protocol. The token can only be earned through participation in the network, not purchased, which helps ensure that those with a stake in the system are the ones making decisions about its future.

How does Teleport plan to compete with established rideshare giants?

Teleport's strategy for competing with established players is multifaceted. By creating an open protocol, they aim to foster innovation and allow multiple companies to compete on the same network. This increased competition should lead to better service and lower prices. Additionally, their lower fee structure should attract both drivers and riders. Finally, by embracing regulatory compliance, they hope to avoid the legal challenges that have plagued other rideshare companies.

What are Teleport's plans for expansion beyond ridesharing?

While Teleport is initially focused on ridesharing, they see potential for the protocol to expand into other areas such as food delivery and courier services. The team views Teleport as potentially the first of many decentralized protocols they could develop, with the goal of disrupting various industries currently dominated by centralized intermediaries.

How does Teleport plan to onboard non-crypto native users?

Teleport is taking a pragmatic approach to user adoption. They will allow credit card payments in addition to crypto, create a user interface that's familiar to existing rideshare users, and gradually introduce more crypto-native features over time. This approach should help ease the transition for users who are not familiar with cryptocurrency or blockchain technology.

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