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Blockchain, the technology that supports Bitcoin – a digital currency traded for goods and services, has revolutionized the financial sector. Thirty of the world’s largest banks are collectively building blockchain solutions and the technology powers millions of users. Blockchain is also making waves in the travel industry and at companies like Airbnb, blockchain could revolutionize day-to-day business practices. As well as providing a simplified, secure payment platform for airlines, hotels, and rental portals, the technology could transform the future of digital identity management.

What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a shared public ledger underlying the Bitcoin network. Transactions are chained together in blocks and then encrypted, which makes it difficult for hackers to access sensitive information. These chains create a permanent record of payments, providing buyers and sellers with a heap of benefits. As blockchains exist forever and can’t be removed, they provide an accurate, long-term record of a person’s transaction history, as well as other data such as credentials and reputation.

Who Uses Blockchain?

Blockchain technology is used by some of the world’s biggest brands. When two parties use blockchain, they can exchange payment information without counterparty risk. And, they can reduce transaction fees often associated with payment transfer and process transactions 24 hours a day. In a vacation rental context, blockchain lets guests check the authenticity of a host and vice versa. Unlike social media platforms, where negative information can be deleted, blockchain maintains a permanent record of a guest’s or host’s identity, managing risk and facilitating safety. While no vacation rental company has implemented the technology just yet, expect big changes in the near future. In April, Airbnb hired the bulk of staff at ChangeCoin, a bitcoin-based startup that lets users send tips over social networks, suggesting a shift toward a blockchain Airbnb relationship could soon be in the cards.

The Rise of Blockchain

Blockchain is still in its primitive stage, but it could become mainstream in the travel industry in the next few years. The technology could streamline payments and settlements, saving travel companies billions of dollars a year.

Blockchain is also making waves in the short-term rental industry. In March, Nathan Blecharczyk, one of Airbnb’s founders, suggested that the rental portal is interested in blockchain solutions that boost user trust. The San Francisco-based company already requires that users verify their identity with a driver’s license or passport, but blockchain could take security to the next level. The technology’s open ledger system can collect permanent records of payments and user data and maintain digital identities that reduce phishing attacks and other security risks.

Reviewing the Advantages of an Airbnb Blockchain Partnership

How Airbnb plans to use blockchain remains to be seen. The company might use the technology to share user profiles with other companies, especially those who adopt sharing economy models. As Airbnb profiles aggregate reviews and rankings from hosts and guests, this data could prove beneficial for brands that want to establish a person’s trustworthiness.

Just like a credit file, companies could check the reputation of users when they access services. In particular, third-parties could determine whether an Airbnb guest paid on time or if a host provided a five-star service. Airbnb may need to change its terms of service to handle possible privacy concerns. And, concerns pertaining to ethics may also arise, especially when not all reviews are honest. Information sharing on this scale could transform the digital landscape.

Blockchain is a growing technology that could change the travel industry in the coming years. Vacation portals like Airbnb could share user information with third parties to establish permanent digital records of guests and hosts. Individuals could then check these virtual profiles to establish the authenticity of other users.

Conclusion

With all of blockchain’s potential benefits, it’s clear that this growing technology could alter the way entire industries operate, including the travel industry. In the coming years, we may see short-term rental platforms like Airbnb utilizing blockchain technology to improve identity management, streamline payments, and make potential customers feel more comfortable using Airbnb.

About Pillow

Pillow is solving short-term rentals for multifamily properties, allowing building owners and property managers to have control and transparency over short-term rentals while enabling their residents to rent their units short-term on Airbnb. Pillow is the official and exclusive multifamily housing partner for popular short-term rental listing platform Airbnb. Pillow takes a complicated, time-consuming process for multifamily building owners and created a solution that greatly benefits Multifamily operators and residents alike.

If you own a multifamily complex or management company and are interested in providing short-term rentals, email partnerships@pillow.com or visit www.pillow.com.

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