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Solana Summer: Maps.Me & MAPS explained

Maps.Me aims to be your ultimate travel companion and passport to a new and improved financial system. The travel and navigation mobile application has been around since 2012, particularly loved by travellers for its offline availability. Over the last 9 years it has built up a substantial user base of 140 million active users worldwide, and they are all about to feel the heat of the Solana Summer.

Early 2021, Maps.Me completed a $50 million seed funding round held to fund the integration of DeFi services onto the platform. The funding round was led by Sam Bankman-Fried of Alameda Research, and co-founder of crypto exchange FTX. The round also included other big names in the crypto world, such as Genesis Capital and CMS Holdings.

That move makes it one of the largest mainstream apps to pivot towards DeFi, on track to become one of the largest fintech players in the field in terms of userbase surpassing Robinhood (13M), Revolut (12M) and Wise (8M).

The DeFi-enabled Maps.Me runs on the Solana blockchain, and offers its users a number of financial services. In addition to the map and navigation features that the app has been providing for 9 years, the platform now also offers travel guides, direct hotel booking, and a wallet built for travelling: exchange over 35 currencies, access local pay-in and pay-out options, cashback promotions, global transfers, and annual interest rates of up to 8%.

Co-founder Alex Grebnev explained that the long-term vision is to create an embedded platform that combines a broad range of financial services that provide an easier way to invest, pay and travel. Ultimately Maps.Me will bundle things like foreign exchange, investing, credit card and peer-to-peer payment services, and common DeFi services like lending and borrowing.

The MAPS token

MAPS tokens are natively based on Solana blockchain, and holders of the token benefit from 100% of net-revenues that Maps.me generates: personalized rewards, discounts, and special services (akin to loyalty programs), lower trading fees, and voting on binding governance initiatives related to Maps.Me.

MAPS holders will be able to earn their share of the revenue from services provided by the platform. These include revenue out of trading fees, fees from credit card transactions, fees from currency conversions, advertising fees, referral commissions, and many other products. Frequent users of the application and those who promote listed locations on the platform are also able to earn MAPS tokens as a reward.

Another benefit of holding the native token is the opportunity to take part in the governance mechanism for the platform. This voting function allows users to take control of the application, especially on matters concerning upgrades, amendments to the reward structure and adding or modifying products and services, among others.

Business owners who also hold MAPS earn benefits from it as well. For one, holding the token will help them achieve better visibility as their locations are highlighted to users of the platform. This also means that they can be categorized into ‘premium listings,’ which gives them a good position in user searches.

To ensure the sustainability of the platform’s growth, it follows a deflationary token model. There are only 10 billion MAPS tokens in existence, and no more will be minted in the future. Its total supply will also continuously decrease over time as the tokens that are bought back are burned.

As for price performance, since its launch MAPS has surged 300% from $0.5131 in February to $2.06 in May. However, like the majority of all coins, the token was unable to escape the recent sell-off that hit the markets recently and it now trades in the $0.50 to $0.70 range. But the future for the both the app and token does look bright. Not only does it have a massive user base built up over the last decade, it is also one of the only players in the travel-meets-DeFi space.

Travel may be limited for some time still, but who knows what will happen when all the newly minted laser eyes fully start exploring new countries and cities again.

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