Home-rental and accommodations giant Airbnb has “acqui-hired” a number of engineers from the development team at ChangeCoin, the startup behind popular bitcoin micropayments service ChangeTip.
An undisclosed number of employees at ChangeCoin, the company behind bitcoin tipping service ChangeTip, have been hired by home-rental startup Airbnb.
The deal was first reported by Quartz , who cite four sources close to the deal who revealed that the accommodations provider, now worth $16 billion, has been studying bitcoin and blockchain startups for a while now.
It has been rumored that Airbnb has hired six or seven engineers from the bitcoin startup. Despite the sweeping hire, Airbnb’s acquisition does not include any intellectual property (IP) or code used by ChangeTip developers on any endeavors in the bitcoin industry.
The news comes only a month after Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk revealed in an interview that the company could be looking into blockchain applications. The objective in doing so would be to help establish user reputation and trust.
Currently, Airbnb uses a combination of official identification scans and social network profiles to establish credentials for an individual’s reputation, enabling trust.
Airbnb’s foray into looking into blockchain would help establish trust, thanks to the properties of a distributed ledger. A permanent, universally accessible record of transactions and data could prove to be hugely beneficial for a company like Airbnb.
Blecharczyk spoke about reputation being “everything” in a business like Airbnb, further noting that any solution wherein the reputation of a user can be established and accessed over different platforms by different companies, is what the industry needs.
“[T]hen the question is whether there’s a way to export that [reputation] and allow access elsewhere to help other sharing economy models really flourish.
“We’re looking for all different signals to tell us whether someone is reputable, and I could certainly see some of these more-novel types of signals being plugged into our [Airbnb] engine,” he said at the time.
ChangeTip, whilst a bitcoin tipping service, revealed a new wallet service earlier this year. Powered by blockchain-based decentralised platform, ChangeTip Wallet enables users to send and receive bitcoin without any formal verification or identification procedures. Notably, the wallet service also allows users to manage their own private keys. The service is currently in a closed beta.
A representative for Airbnb and ChangeCoin could not be immediately reached at the time of publishing.
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