Nathan Blecharczyk, one of the co-founders of the accommodations platform giant Airbnb, has revealed that the company could potentially look at blockchain applications to help establish user reputation and trust.
Airbnb co-founder and chief technology officer Nathan Blecharczyk has, in an interview that discussed the company’s areas of focus in 2016 and a tech-enabled future, spoken about the possibility of integrating blockchain technology into the company’s engine.
The executive was speaking in an interview to City AM, where he hinted that blockchain or distributed ledger technology principles could help in quickly establishing reputation and consequently trust that is often sought by users of the rent-enabling platform.
He opined that reputation is “everything” in a business like AirBnB, noting that visitors might need a certain minimum standard of reputation in order to have access to certain accommodation. He added:
[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 engine.
The platform’s current method of verification and establishing trust with reputation is through a mixture of official identification scans and social network profiles. Users have a specific tab called “Trust and Verification” included among their profiles.
In a further nod to embracing technology for an even wider audience –including those who are unbanked – Airbnb could look at innovative microfinance concepts like Mpesa in the future, although such endeavors aren’t pinned down just yet.
“It’s too early to say what will be on our roadmap,” the co-founder said of Mpesa helping the company in Africa while adding “...but eventually we may.”
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