Foam Turns to Token Grants to Build Out Decentralized Mapping Platform
Foam is accomplishing what few token issuers have: A consistently engaged community that actually uses its token beyond speculation.
Following a $16.5 million token sale in 2018, the geolocation data startup has launched a token-curated registry (TCR) with about 140 monthly participants in April and a scavenger hunt that garnered 500 user contributions to its open source map.
Foam takes the same type of data used by services like Google Maps and adds features for distributed storage and “proof of location” to make the data more reliable. This can be crucial for supply chain management and public services such as police and fire departments, whose tools malfunction when faulty data or connection issues disrupt network flows.
Starting today, CEO Ryan John King tells CoinDesk that Foam will also offer token grants worth up to $15,000, depending on the proposal, for developers to contribute to the mapping and data collection system. He said roughly 3 million tokens, or 10 percent of the total token supply, was set aside to fund community initiatives such as grants.
“We’re now seeing a lot more community-led initiatives and tools,” King said. “It’s open source and the stakeholders are going to be the ones driving it going forward.”
For example, supply chain management expert Coleman Moore recently organized and led the first Foam Community Proposal call. Moore told CoinDesk the call had roughly 20 participants and he is already planning a followup call. He said that in his profession companies rely on proprietary services or volunteer radio beckons for data. So he believes an open source tool with economic incentives to keep the data clean, via the TCR, offers an attractive alternative.
“On top of [incentives], Foam uses a blockchain, which really adds value because if you can imagine a world where everything is connected to the internet you don’t want that to be controlled by a centralized network server,” Moore said.
Highlighting Moore’s point about incentives, Microsoft engineer Cody Born collected Microsoft Azure tools to support the Foam scavenger hunt, which rewarded people for verifying location data with a custom non-fungible token (NFT) of the buildings they added to the map. Born himself won several NFTs through one of the online scavenger hunts.
“I liked that scavenger hunt so much because it combined a lot of my interests – which are blockchain, TCRs, incentivization and collecting things,” Born told CoinDesk. “That motivated me to get more engaged in the Foam community and participate in the various forums.”
Indeed, the Foam token price has remained unusually stable throughout 2019, close to $0.03 each, because holders who love maps and puzzles are using the token to vote on the quality of data or contribute to the map, rarely trading it.
Even though supply chain expert Moore admitted Foam is an ambitious project that will require continued community engagement in order for this open source mapping ecosystem to work, he optimistically concluded:
“It kind of combines cartography with gaming and finance.”
Foam co-founders image courtesy of the company (left to right: Ryan King, Katya Zavyalova and Kristoffer Joseffson)