Coral Gables chauffeur service drvn has just announced that users will be able to use cryptocurrencies to pay for their rides. Drvn will start by accepting Bitcoin, with plans to begin accepting other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin later this year. This move marks a first in the transportation industry, they say, which has typically relied on incumbent payment platforms to process rides.
“The world is moving towards a more decentralized environment,” drvn founder and CEO Mario Medina told Refresh Miami. “Lots of our clients are very tech-forward. And being a global company, many of our international clients prefer paying in cryptocurrency.”
Drvn began to experiment with accepting crypto payments last year. Currently, chauffeurs are paid in fiat. However, Medina reported that starting this week, drivers will have the option to accept payment in cryptocurrency as well.
Using the blockchain and cryptocurrencies eliminates a range of challenges associated with accepting payment by credit card, exchange rates, ACHs and wires. Typically the transaction costs are lower, especially for larger payments. They also make payment and settlement secure and discreet while also being transparent to and compliant with US and international laws.
At the moment, Drvn leverages OpenNode for its crypto payments. All transactions and settlements are done in-house. Looking forward, drvn expects to port all of their ride transactions on a blockchain-distributed ledger using Ethereum-powered smart contracts.
While the predecessor to drvn, Moveo, was originally founded in 2011, the drvn brand launched in 2019. Since then, drvn has made a name for itself by leveraging tech to disrupt this traditional industry.
“We started mostly in corporate ground transport,” explained Medina. It was his background in IT and telecommunications that empowered Medina to apply technology to the private transportation space.
“The industry has been archaic,” said Medina. “Prior to 2011, the industry was managed with faxes and Excel spreadsheets, which are prone to mistakes and logistical challenges.”
Drvn’s business model stands apart from rideshare services like Uber because the chauffeurs on drvn are only the highest-caliber, designed for their discerning user base.
“We have a rigorous vetting process for drivers,” said Medina. “They go through background checks, and we verify that they have insurance and any other local legal requirements and registrations.”
According to Medina, among drvn’s list of clients are high level executives, top athletes, and VIPs from the entertainment world. They are also a popular service for groups, corporations, and events.
Users can book a ride directly through drvn’s website. On the backend, these reservations are registered on a distributed ledger. The advantage of this use of blockchain is that records are tamper-proof and ensure to be accurate. They also give their rider’s entourage access to the car’s GPS at all times, making it easier to manage their schedules. Unified billing and communications systems help minimize the inevitable headaches that go with global logistics.
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