Car-pooling app Ryde rides NFT wave with new rewards plan

The RydePal NFTs will represent access to exclusive discounts and additional savings on selected rides. PHOTO: TAMIL MURASU

SINGAPORE - Singapore car-pooling app Ryde launched a non-fungible token (NFT) campaign on Friday (April 15) and expanded the range of crypto payment options on its in-app wallet as part of a strategy to expand its user base.

The campaign will make 3,350 members of the Ryde+ subscription plan as at May 31 eligible for a RydePal NFT.

The NFTs will be allocated and airdropped to members, with priority given to those with a three-month Ryde+ subscription.

Ryde+ was launched last December.

Unclaimed NFTs will be assigned to people on one-month subscription plans and others in the queue.

An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects such as art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency.

The RydePal NFTs will represent access to exclusive, in-app rewards for riders, including exclusive discounts and additional savings on selected rides.

Over the longer term, RydePal owners will be able to enjoy priority bookings and complimentary rides during promotional campaigns.

Riders who hit a certain number of trips can unlock a more valuable tier of NFTs and can also enjoy cash back in the form of RydeCoin tokens on new services.

Once the first 3,350 RydePals have been allotted, new NFTs can be earned only through in-app activity such as accumulating rides.

The RydePals can also be minted and traded on secondary NFT exchanges such as OpenSea.

The campaign is expected to create more loyalty among Ryde's community of riders and drivers, giving them compelling reasons to remain and contribute to the platform's growth, said Ryde founder and chief executive Terence Zou.

The move also comes at a time when NFTs and cryptocurrencies have gained some traction as utility tokens, which enable users to perform certain actions on a specific network.

Last year, beauty brand Clinique launched an online contest that awarded three contest winners with a branded digital collectible NFT that provided access to fan-favourite, out-of-stock products.

Other international brands such as Burger King and Marriott have also launched NFT rewards as part of loyalty programmes for customers.

"Despite the promise the technology holds, few NFT projects today have real-world utility," said Mr Zou.

"We want to deploy NFTs in a way that generates more real-world value, especially for the rapidly growing market segment of Singaporeans who hold crypto."

Ryde was launched in 2015 as one of Singapore's first car-pooling apps.

It has now expanded its offerings to include ride-hailing and deliveries.

In 2020, the app began accepting cryptocurrency payments in Bitcoin.

The platform has more than 200,000 monthly active users.

Last year, Ryde said it is eyeing an initial public offering on the Singapore Exchange's Catalist board in 2022.

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