The Stablest Token on the Las Vegas Strip
(or: Indoor Mapping at CES)
The world has changed since we wrapped up MapNYC, a test to map NYC for Bitcoin. For one, the price of Bitcoin has plummeted (fortunately after we paid most of our winners, whew). We were prepared for price rises and drops, and noted it with appropriate gravity in our FAQ last September:
We were testing four things with MapNYC:
Would people do this at all for cryptocurrency? Yes.
Did our protocol roles work as expected in the real world? Not quite, but we learned a lot.
Would this be fun for people outside the tech/mapping/crypto bubbles? Yes.
Would potential partners care about the data enough to engage with us on future tests? Yes, we’ve been excited by the response!
Our plan is to run a total of four tests before a full launch. Future tests will build on the lessons learned from previous tests, so that by the time we launch we’ll have the right technology and a reasonable understanding of human behavior acquired from real-world users.
So we’re going to CES in a few weeks, where we’ll test a few more things:
Will users add to and edit previously created (or imported) point-of-interest data? MapNYC started with a blank slate, but in reality there’s a lot of old POI data out there in the world. Can we improve it?
Handling indoor location is critical to many geographies. It’s also very, very difficult to pull off. Can we build something to work well in a mainly indoor environment like CES?
We already know that users will do this for cryptocurrency, but given everything that’s happened in the last couple months, we wanted to try something new. We wanted more… stability.
Map Vegas, Earn USDC!
Following the news about stablecoins, it occurred to us that the good old Las Vegas casino chip is actually quite similar: a token with an authority backing it with US dollars in order to make transactions easier. For a day or so, we thought about offering casino chips as prizes as a joke (we didn’t for a large number of very good reasons). But we wanted something simple, clear, and more likely to focus attention on the game at hand rather than crypto prices.
So! For MapCES, we’ll run a three-day contest with the same prize offered each day: 1,000 USD coins. You can read more about these here, but basically each coin is backed by a US dollar, and the reserves are publicly audited. If you win, we’ll transfer it to you through Coinbase, just like we did with Bitcoin for MapNYC.
In advance of CES, you can meditate on the zen-like tranquility of the USDC price chart: