Mapzen shuts down. Randy Meech (Mapzen CEO) and Diana Shkolnikov (Mapzen Director, Search Engineering) start thinking about what’s next. Mapzen’s open-source software and data projects survive as the team splinters into mini-acquihires. Randy spends a lot of time on the phone helping a developer network of 70K move to alternative services.
Randy & Diana start thinking about how to create permanent mapping infrastructure as a decentralized project powered by a token economy. Could they build something that, unlike Mapzen, can’t be shut down? While interviewing at many companies working on digital maps, they notice that all have similar problems with points of interest (restaurants, shops, doctor’s offices, etc.) They decide to build StreetCred to solve the global POI problem.
StreetCred raises a seed round from Bowery Capital and Notation. Bowery focuses on business software and marketplaces, Notation focuses on early NYC companies with a focus on engineering, product, and crypto. It’s the perfect mix for what StreetCred is building.
Cassidy Rouse joins as Head of Business Development, hired to round out the technical co-founders to focus on the business problem early.
Tyler Gaw joins as Lead Frontend Engineer, adding great design and engineering to the mix. The team starts building a way to test how users might interact with crypto-incentivized mapping.
MapNYC launches! Our first pre-launch data collection contest tested a few things:
Will users do this for cryptocurrency?
How do our planned consensus mechanisms work in practice, before we encode them into a smart contract?
Can we build a fun experience that a diverse group of users enjoy?
Do partners care and want to engage with us in this work?
Overall the test was a success, collecting over 20,000 places in a month. We learned a lot about consensus and validation, and think it’s a good idea to test assumptions early and often. And we’re glad to say that partners were interested!
At the end of the contest, we held a community event for those who participated. Great news: our contributors are not traditional folks from the crypto, mapping, or tech spaces. We believe that only a wide, diverse group can represent the world on a map.
Diana spoke at State of the Map in Detroit in October, about some of our work on POI data coverage. If you’re going to build incentives around POI data creation, you need to know how many are likely to exist!
StreetCred signs it’s first commercial partnership to fund MapAustin, another data collection test to be held in March. This is a significant demand indicator as we’re building something of widespread business use. The StreetCred protocol will eventually allow data consumers to specify regional and vertical data collection, and early tests allow us to onboard future customers now to test things out.
Ben Chodoroff joins the StreetCred team from Steemit, to help with our growing backend APIs and frontends.
Mapzen joins the Linux Foundation. StreetCred will be involved in a permanent, ongoing software and data foundation around mapping, and may contribute its own work someday.
StreetCred will run MapAustin, it’s first partner-sponsored data collection event through the entire month of March. Check it out if you’re in town!
Several things have changed since MapNYC:
Improved validation to better test our assumptions on consensus mechanisms
Editing data that other users have created
Data imports from open-source web crawler projects
Indoor mapping with geofenced floor selectors and wall data
Watch our blog for updates on this event, it’s going to be awesome!
Here are our goals and a rough timeline through next year:
Launch our final off-chain data collection event with multiple partners in multiple cities. Test whether multiple companies will sponsor data together, and test the dynamics of a few different city types. Our goal is to have a strong understanding of our consensus mechanisms after the last test.
Publish initial draft whitepaper, and continue to iterate on it through the rest of the year.
StreetCred testnet launch and further data collection events, augmented by commercial partner participation.
Achieve commercial-quality POI dataset for the United States.
Publish final whitepaper version, followed by Streetcred protocol and token launch. StreetCred seeds genesis dataset with all data collected so far, and finds ways for top data contributors to participate meaningfully in the protocol launch.