Airbnb acquires a team of blockchain techies

Home rental giant Airbnb has acquired several top employees of ChangeCoin, a startup that created a micro-payments platform based on blockchain technology.

The news was first reported by Quartz and confirmed by CoinDesk and London newspaper City A.M..

The handful of employees will join Airbnb’s engineering team. The ChangeCoin company will continue on, under its own ownership.

Blockchain is the computer network underpinning Bitcoin, but you don’t have to use Bitcoin to take advantage of it. Airbnb told City A.M. it would not start accepting Bitcoin payments.

Blockchain is touted as a way to save airlines, hotel groups, agencies, and other travel companies large sums of money by streamlining bank payments and settlements and offering a single secure ledger that doesn’t require a centralized authority.

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk told City A.M. that he thought blockchain technology could prove useful to his startup.

“I think that, within the context of Airbnb, your reputation is everything, and I can see it being even more so in the future, whereby you might need a certain reputation in order to have access to certain types of homes.”

He said blockchain technology could help the company exchange those details with other platforms.

Quartz suggests one possible example: Airbnb could share data on how a user has a clean record of being a good guest at properties. That reputational information — similar to a credit score — could be valuable to companies that are trying to evaluate if someone is trustworthy.

Full story at City A.M. and at Quartz.

For context, see Tnooz’s earlier article: Blockchain technology has payments promise for travel companies

NB: Image courtesy opengridscheduler/Flickr/Creative Commons

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.



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