Is Hivemapper ($HONEY) Driving the Crypto Solution to Google Maps?

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One crypto community that is under the radar — but absolutely on the map — is the Hivemapper Network (HONEY).

This project uses crypto incentives to attract contributors to map the world and may be one of the most innovative mapping expeditions since Google Maps first entered the world.

The cryptocurrency industry is powered by decentralized communities that work together towards a common objective. When that power is harnessed, it is one of the few ways tech giants like Google can be competed with (without a billion dollars in your back pocket).

In this article, we explore the Hivemapper Network and learn how it is using cryptocurrencies to build a mapping network to compete with established players such as Google Maps and Waze.

Key Takeaways

  • Hivemapper rewards contributors with a digital token called HONEY for mapping their surroundings.
  • Hivemapper’s latest dashcam hardware was priced at $489 for a WiFi-only model and $589 for a WiFi-plus-cellular model.
  • Within eight months of launch, Hivemapper’s community mapped 50 million kilometers — a journey that took Google five years.
  • The HONEY token launched in November 2022. It exists on the Solana blockchain.
  • HONEY was the 370th largest crypto with a market cap of $467 million.
  • In May 2024, Hivemapper said it mapped 12 million “unique” kilometers accounting for 20% of global roads.

What is Hivemapper?

Hivemapper is a decentralized mapping network that rewards contributors with a digital token called HONEY for mapping their surroundings.

Contributors map their surroundings by installing an internet-connected Hivemapper dashcam to their car. They can also map with their smartphones and provide real-time updates such as construction work, traffic congestions, etc.

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In order to start earning Hivemapper rewards, users need to invest in a Hivemapper dashcam. As of June 12, 2024, Hivemapper’s latest dashcam hardware, called “Hivemapper Bee”, was priced at $489 for a WiFi-only model and $589 for a WiFi-plus-cellular model.

Contributor rewards are distributed on a weekly basis. The amount of HONEY tokens a contributor receives depends on factors such as coverage, freshness, quality, map saturation, global map progress, and regional weighting.

Can Hivemapper Compete with Google Maps?

Hivemapper is experimenting with a novel drive-to-earn strategy to create a decentralized and permissionless mapping database that anyone can leverage by paying for it.

At the moment, Google dominates the global mapping industry. According to data firm Statista, Google owned the top two most downloaded map and navigation apps in the U.S. in 2023: Google Maps and Waze.

Launched in November 2022 and over 18 months old at the time of writing, Hivemapper is trying to accomplish what numerous startups can’t — breaking Google’s dominance over the mapping industry.

Google Maps vs Hivemapper

Hivemapper’s crypto-incentivized community is its biggest weapon in this ‘David vs. Goliath’ battle.

“Today’s standard mapmaking techniques, such as deploying dedicated vehicles to collect road-level imagery, are incredibly expensive.

“As a result, mapmaking is consolidated among the few companies with the capital to map roads at global scale. Even their maps lack the freshest data,” said Hivemapper.

“And yet, most roads are driven every day. In the United States alone, humans drove 3.26 trillion miles in 2022, or 8.9 billion miles per day. So why can’t we collect the map data as a community?”

Within eight months of its launch, Hivemapper’s community mapped 50 million kilometers. For context, Google took over five years to map its first 8 million kilometers.

By the first year anniversary of Hivemapper in November 2023, the project had mapped over 80 million kilometers across 90 countries. By May 2024, Hivemapper reported that it mapped 12 million “unique” kilometers accounting for 20% of global roads.

Can Hivemapper’s Map be Used by Autonomous Vehicles?

Additionally, Hivemapper’s crowdsourced mechanism enables the project to provide frequent updates to keep its maps fresher than those provided by slower competitors.

Hivemapper said its ability to continuously update its map is its “main competitive advantage.” Hivemapper’s up-to-date maps are expected to attract clients from the autonomous vehicle market, which as an industry is expected to create $300 billion to $400 billion in revenue by 2035, according to consulting firm McKinsey.

“The ever-changing environment and road structures means that keeping maps updated remain a challenge.

“For example, Pauls et al. (2018) reviewed 80km of German highways, showing that 41% containing outdated information. Changes included new lane markings, guardrails, whole road surfaces as well as complete reconstruction,” wrote Kelvin Wong, Yanlei Gu and Shunsuke Kamijo in the report Mapping for Autonomous Driving: Opportunities and Challenges.

“Near-real time crowdsourcing of update information could potentially provide the solution … Unlike traditional map making, the maintenance and update of autonomous driving maps will become a continuous and on-going process. It is vital that any changes in the real environment are reflected in the map as soon as possible to avoid vehicular errors derived from inaccurate mapping,” added the trio.

Tokenomics of HONEY

In this section, we study the tokenomics of Hivemapper’s reward token HONEY.

The HONEY token exists on the Solana (SOL) blockchain.

According to Michael Nadeau, author of The DeFi Report newsletter, Hivemapper uses Solana only for issuance and accounting of HONEY tokens and for payouts to contributors.

The HONEY token is distributed as rewards for:

  • Mapping using Hivemapper’s dashcam
  • Mapping with their smartphones
  • Training the Map AI by labeling and editing data

Hivemapper has a burn mechanism that burns HONEY tokens whenever map consumers access services on the network. 25% of burned HONEY is reissued to contributors, while 75% is permanently removed from circulation.

Note that Hivemapper users have to purchase a US dollar-pegged token called map credits to use map data. As demand for map credits increases, more HONEY is burned.

The maximum supply of HONEY is capped at 10 billion tokens. They are allocated as follows:

Allocated to Percentage of total supply
Contributors 40%
Investors 20%
Employees of Hivemapper Inc 20%
Hivemapper Inc. for providing R&D and operational support 15%
Hivemapper Foundation 5%

As of June 11, 2024, HONEY was the 370th largest crypto with a market cap of $467 million. The current circulating supply stands at over 1.8 billion tokens (18% of total supply).

HONEY has lost 50% of its value since launch, CoinMarketCap data showed on June 11, 2024.

The Bottom Line

Hivemapper has introduced a novel way to map the world. Drivers can earn HONEY tokens by simplying installing an internet-connected Hivemapper dash cam.

The project’s crowdsourced approach has helped it grow at an incredible pace since its November 2022 launch. Could this be the solution that finally breaks Google’s hold on the mapping business?

If you are interested in investing in Hivemapper’s HONEY token, we would like to remind readers that cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and risky. Always do your own research before investing and note that past performance is no guarantee of future returns.

This article should not be considered investment advice and is for information purposes only.

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Mensholong Lepcha
Crypto & Blockchain Writer
Mensholong Lepcha
Crypto & Blockchain Writer

Mensholong is an experienced crypto and blockchain journalist, now a full-time writer at Techopedia. He has previously contributed news coverage and in-depth market analysis to Capital.com, StockTwits, XBO, and other publications. He started his writing career at Reuters in 2017, covering global equity markets. In his free time, Mensholong loves watching football, finding new music, and buying BTC and ETH for his crypto portfolio.