Singaporean ride-hailing app Ryde said Friday it will be launching the non-fungible token (NFT) project as part of its efforts to grow and strengthen its community of users.

The company said in a statement that it will also expand the range of crypto payment options for its users to top up their in-app Ryde wallets.

Dubbed RydePal NFTs, the NFT project will unlock exclusive in-app rewards and benefits for owners.

To be eligible for the chance to receive a RydePal NFT, the first 3,350 people must hold an active Ryde+ subscription by May 31, 2022.

Each RydePal will be built using generative art – a combination of different design elements such as gender and age, color, and accessories, representing the diversity of Ryde users in the Ryde community.

The RydePal NFTs have real-world utility which give NFT holders access to exclusive reward tiers in the Ryde app. Rarer NFTs represent access to even more exclusive, enhanced rewards.

Outside of this token sale, RydePal NFTs can only be earned through in-app activity like accumulating rides, or staking RydeCoins in the Ryde wallet. The RydePals can also be traded on secondary NFT exchanges like OpenSea.

“Since 2020, we have accepted crypto payments, but only in Bitcoin. Today, we are expanding the range of crypto payment options available to our users, thanks to an integration with web3 startup, Request Finance,” said Terence Zou, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ryde.

According to Request Finance Business Development Manager Ludovic Gilbert, Ryde will join many notable names in the web3 space like The Sandbox, AAVE, and MakerDAO who use Request Finance to manage over $190 million in enterprise cryptocurrency payments.

Launched in 2014, Ryde is a ride-hailing app that caters to the full suite of on-demand mobility services – private hire, carpool, taxis, delivery, and pets. It now boasts over 200,000 active users monthly.

In 2020, Ryde became the first ride-hailing company in Singapore to accept crypto payments through bitcoin. From the third quarter of 2022, Ryde users will have the flexibility to choose from a growing list of over 70+ different currencies, and 10+ different blockchain networks or to top up their in-app wallets.

According to the statement, the tremendous potential of NFTs in rallying online communities around exclusive social clubs, creator fanbases, and more led Ryde to think about how it could do the same for its community.

“But despite the promise the technology holds, few NFT projects today have real-world utility. 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,” said Terence Zou.

NFTs also offer greater operational efficiencies in administering a membership program than traditional systems. It does not rely on Ryde as a central authority to maintain a ledger of its members, and the Ryde community is free to trade the NFTs as they see fit.

The RydePals will be hosted on the Polygon blockchain network to ensure that everyday Ryde users can easily and cheaply mint their RydePals. In keeping with the ethos of web3, the NFT metadata will be content-addressed, and stored on the decentralized file storage platform, Filecoin using NFT.Storage.

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