Here’s why Solana-based Hivemapper thinks it can beat Google Maps

Here’s why Solana-based Hivemapper thinks it can beat Google Maps
DeFiPeople & culture
Hivemapper CEO Ariel Seidman has big ambition to surpass Google Maps. Credit: Osato Avan-Nomayo
  • Hivemapper aims to knock Google Maps off its perch.
  • The Solana DePIN project rewards users with its Honey token.
  • It has already mapped 20% of the world’s roads.

Hivemapper, a Solana-based mapping project, has big ambitions.

It wants to overtake Google Maps, the world’s biggest mapping service with more than a billion monthly active users.

The blockchain upstart says its crypto-based rewards system is central to its goal, because rewards create economic incentives necessary for the project’s success.

“Without an underlying incentive, participation becomes fragmented and aimless,” Hivemapper CEO Ariel Seidman told DL News.

Hivemapper rewards contributors with its Honey token, a $105 million crypto, for using the project’s dashcams to map roads.

Mappers aren’t the only participants who can earn Honey. Users who verify mapping data submitted by volunteers also get paid in Hivemapper’s cryptocurrency.

Web2 services like Google Maps don’t typically reward volunteers with monetary compensation but offer nonmonetary perks and benefits tied to their products and services.

DePIN projects

Hivemapper belongs to a class of blockchain projects called DePIN, short for decentralised physical infrastructure network ― a crypto market sector already $23 billion strong.

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DePIN projects try to use blockchain technology to offer an alternative to web2 companies whose services underpin the internet in sectors such as mapping, computing, and wireless.

Most DePIN projects offer token-based rewards.

Chris Newhouse, a DeFi analyst at crypto trading firm Cumberland Labs, says token incentives don’t mean the project will last.

“Several newer DePIN protocols struggle to truly align economic incentives in a way that demands a token,” Newhouse previously told DL News.

Seidman, however, says critics are missing the point of a decentralised reward system like Hivemapper uses.

The Hivemapper CEO explained that the system works with multiple drivers submitting vehicle-generated mapping data for the same region. The network then remaps and validates all that data in real time to provide “road intelligence” for companies.

“Hivemapper scales a self-regulating map ecosystem,” Seidman said.

“Trainers and drivers mint Honey rewards, and when a company purchases map data, it triggers a token burn, creating an equilibrium with incentives.”

In a recent report, asset-management giant Franklin Templeton said that Hivemapper is one of the early movers in the DePIN sector showing promise.

But the report noted lagging demand for its services.

Demand problem

“Hivemapper has had great success growing the number of contributors providing mapping data to the network, at over 60,000. However, the project has not seen the same relative growth in demand as on the supply side,” the report said.

Without significant demand for Hivemapper’s map data, contributors earning Honey tokens will only inflate the token’s supply.

As Kellen Blumberg, data scientist at crypto platform Flipside, previously told DL News, “Incentives are helpful for attracting initial users, but sustainability is crucial.”

Honey’s token price is down 85% from its December peak.

But Seidman says Hivemapper has the edge over traditional rivals like Google Maps in terms of cost.

Traditional mapping is expensive, and so big apps such as Google Maps struggle to refresh their maps at a global scale, he said

“In contrast, Hivemapper dashcams cost only a few hundred dollars and can produce street-level imagery 20 to 100 times fresher than Google’s,” Seidman said.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Osato Avan-Nomayo is our Nigeria-based DeFi correspondent. He covers DeFi and tech. To share tips or information about stories, please contact him at

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