Where to Eat?: Munchee’s Blockchain-based Platform Gives the Answer
Munchee is the brand new visual food review mobile app, integrating blockchain technology to incentivize both the users and businesses through their use of the Ethereum-based MUN token. The MUN token will be available to the public on October 31 in a pre-sale. Munchee’s platform allows you to share your dining experience using photos or videos. Much like Instagram, you say? Well, you are quite right about that; this app is of a similar nature to Instagram but takes it much further.
The Issue at Hand: No Incentives on the Table
Current food review sites suffer from the issue of fake posts and thus resulting in low-quality listings. Consumers are made no better off as they attempt to process polarizing reviews. For instance, one study examined the implications of fake restaurant reviews in Boston, with Harvard professor Michael Luca finding that in this location, fake reviews tripled from 2006 to 2014.
It’s also important to note that professional food critics visit a restaurant three times in total before leaving a review whereas current platforms users are simply assessing a restaurant after one visit only. Therefore, these existing services give us a limited snapshot of restaurant’s actual service, atmosphere, and quality of food.
A further problem with the current platforms is that there no incentives for leaving an honest review. Much like the dopamine hit of calling someone out on their mistakes on social media, we tend to place more weight on the negatives and express our dissatisfaction, leaving worthy reviews hard to find. Google has improved on this marginally as they encourage users to add reviews to get the chance to participate in their local guides program. However is it good enough to incentivize participation by restricting consumer choice?
When users write a review and upload photos, Google simply rewards them with ‘points,’ which is only good for more Google stuff of course. A better incentive would be to provide a means of exchange that can be used more widely and permit greater consumer choice. Munchee tackles this element head-on with cryptocurrency.
Munchee’s App Brings the Blockchain to the Plate
What’s so interesting and what are the unique features of the Munchee platform in comparison to say their competition of food review websites such as Yelp, FourSquare, and Google Places?
Firstly, the most obvious is that Munchee is rewarding users for their input of food reviews with the use of blockchain technology, ensuring the reviews are immutable and verifiable by creating a crypto-token ecosystem.
To eliminate spammers and trolls, a combination of machine learning and a peer review process is used to filter the reviews and ensure their authenticity. The Ethereum blockchain keeps an immutable record of consensus of the majority of the platform users. While reviews are not stored on the blockchain, a digital fingerprint is hashed and publicly displays the timestamp of the review, the digital ID of the user and their digital signature.
Machine learning will be used to ensure user’s peer review the restaurants or dishes they are interested in, strengthening the ecosystem through active participation. Munchee will consequently attract first-time users as it becomes perceived as a trusted source and offers an incentive to participate.
Secondly, what all of you food lovers really want to know about is the about the taste and quality of the food itself and Munchee provides just that. Incumbent food review sites tend to focus on the entire dining experience, while this is great information to be exposed to, negative experiences with staff tell us little about the food and more about the service received. Granted, non-food factors do hold merit, but an overemphasis on these aspects tend to tarnish the food image of a particular restaurant.
Thirdly, Munchee is the only app that is empowering users to capitalize on their interest and to showcase their passion for food. While social channels enable community influencers, they do not provide an incentive to motivate fair and peer-reviewed evaluations. Additionally, restaurants are provided with a platform to advertise and provide promotional offerings to their customers, incentivising users to focus only on the food factors they experience.
That’s brilliant you say! Munchee provides instant visual searches of particular dishes, aside from restaurant searches. To assist the user to make informed decisions quickly, the app will provide; side by side information about price, reviews, and rating of dishes. If you love food and want to see their product in action, then why not download their app, have a go yourself and become a part of the community!
While the working product is functional on the Apple Store, Munchee will soon be available in the Google Play store too.
The Munchee ICO
While you can join the project by becoming a food influencer, you can also be a part of the Munchee ecosystem by investing in their upcoming token sale. But you may be asking what is the purpose of MUN tokens and why do we need them?
MUN tokens will provide restaurants with a meaningful tool to promote and advertise their business while rewarding reviewers for creating valuable content about the food and experiences. The total supply of MUN is fixed at 500 million, with 275 million held by the Munchee company in reserve. The remainder will be made available to the public as part of pre-sale and sale events.
The pre-sale starts October 31, 2017, at 13:00 UTC and will last for 72 hours. Bitcoin, ether and fiat currencies will be accepted in exchange for MUN, with a rate of exchange at 1 ETH = 5294.18 MUN. Once the token sale launches on November 7 (13:00 UTC), the discount will be removed, and the rate of exchange will be 1 ETH = 4500 MUN. The minimum investment is 0.1 ETH, and the token sale will last for one month.
To ensure liquidity, the MUN tokens will be listed on at least one US cryptocurrency exchange.
A virtuous cycle is anticipated as when restaurants use the MUN tokens to promote and advertise their brand within the Munchee app; they’ll attract users to join the platform. In turn, the quality of contribution increases which results in more businesses being enticed to join the Munchee platform to promote their products. The project will also work with partner restaurants to make MUN an accepted method of payment.
On the other hand, contributors will receive MUN tokens once their submissions have been peer reviewed and posted; high-quality contributors will be incentivized further with additional bonus tokens, which will be drawn from the Munchee company’s reserve.
In summary, whether you are a foodie or a cryptocurrency enthusiast, then you definitely want to keep a close eye on the Munchee project. Moreover, if you are an investor, this may be an ICO you do not want to miss. Addressing several pressing problems in the food sector, Munchee seems set to overcome the ever-increasing incidence of fake reviews and decentralize the food review process. By building an ecosystem that rewards restaurants and consumers, users of the app can have a more enjoyable time dining and earn something in return for their reviews.
To read more about the project, you can find Munchee’s whitepaper here.