Little did we know, our lives would forever change when Uber burst onto the scene in 2009; at the time it was an innovative transportation solution, marking a new era of carpooling. Fast-forward nine years later, and Uber’s presence is ubiquitous across almost every major city on the globe. If you want further proof indicating the power Uber has amassed in less than a decade, its name has essentially become a verb in popular colloquialism.
But, beyond its convenience factor, Uber left another indelible mark on daily life: its commencement legitimized the rise of the sharing economy. Now, there is a sharing solution for almost every need; from home-sharing to desk-sharing and even, the exchange of everyday household tasks, people are willing to open their lives up to strangers willing to provide a temporary product or service.
The notion of sharing a product or service, rather than purchasing it outright has resonated with consumers across the globe, creating a shift in consumer mentalities and spending habits.
With the rise of blockchain-based solutions, the sharing economy is poised to expand and affect almost every significant vertical.
Blockchain and the sharing economy go hand-in-hand.
The definition of blockchain is “a digitized, decentralized public ledger for all cryptocurrency transactions.” Every transaction, or transfer of information, is recorded chronologically and is accessible to everyone on the blockchain–without a specified intermediary facilitating the transactions. A blockchain effectively eliminates the control of governing bodies and allows individual to transact peer-to-peer. This peer-to-peer ethos is congruent with the foundation of the shared economy. Across both the blockchain and the shared economy, individual participation is vital, and subsequently, individuals have the chance to work directly with one another. The blockchain is essentially the next step in the evolution of sharing services. Immutable, binding smart contracts that hold parties accountable power the blockchain; these contracts define and enforce the rules of an agreement, which means they operate as the substitute referees within peer-to-peer transactions.
These companies are the future of blockchain-based sharing.
Several organizations are emerging as disruptors to the already disruptive sharing industry. Here is a round-up of a few companies poised to make an impact on daily consumer life:
Like Uber did within the transportation industry, Airbnb has forever changed the hospitality world. The company’s quick ascent to prominence indicates a global penchant for the immersive cultural experiences that homestays offer. But Airbnb has had its fair share of issues, especially when it comes to providing users with safe and transparent experiences. Bee Token is an emerging crypto home sharing solution. Bee Tokens’ decentralized network runs on the blockchain and is powered by cryptocurrency to increase the security, accountability, and safety of direct exchanges between home providers and renters.
OPP Open WiFi
Smartphone users across the globe attest to the frustration of not being able to access WiFi in public spaces or, worse, being forced to pay for access. WiFi providing platform, OPP Open Wifi is creating a peer-to-peer network that aims to solve internet inaccessibility and eliminate pay-for-WiFi plans. The platform–which is paid for by advertising dollars–incentivizes smartphone owners who do not use all of their monthly bandwidth to join the network as HotSpot Hosts. Hosts are paid via cryptocurrency when they activate the OPP Open Wifi mobile application and make their excess bandwidth accessible to people nearby. Because the OPP platform taps into advertising dollars, individuals in need of WiFi are not required to pay to access the OPP Open Wifi Hotspot; this means free and open WiFi access for everyone that needs it!
Origin is another blockchain-based organization aiming to take decentralized sharing to the next level. The company’s protocol is designed to serve as the foundation for peer-to-peer marketplaces. Building decentralized markets on the Origin protocol creates an environment where exchanges between buyers and sellers are governed by smart contracts rather than centralized authoritative figures. The protocol allows organizations to build new marketplaces devoid of the overhead fees and red tape that clog existing shared economy marketplaces.
People want to transact with other people, however, until recently, intermediaries have controlled these interactions. But blockchain technology has the potential to remove these middle-men from the equation and build true peer-to-peer marketplaces.