In an interview with City A.M. Airbnb co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Nathan Blecharczyk spoke about M-pesa and blockchain technology. Blecharczyk thinks it’s an exciting time to reflect on the current types of technology saying, “the company could plug into its existing infrastructure to heighten efficiency and safety.”
Airbnb to Adopt the Blockchain in the Future?
Airbnb is a popular website where people can search, list and rent a temporary residence. The platform has over 1.5 million listings spread across 190 countries. The privately owned business was founded in 2008 and is currently valued at over $24 billion USD. In his recent interview, Blecharczyk was asked about the 40,000 properties listed in Africa and possible partnerships with firms like Mpesa. The co-founder details, “It’s too early to say what will be on our roadmap, but eventually, we may.”
Airbnb is very familiar with blockchain technology and decentralized currencies, and seems eager to learn more about these concepts. In 2014, the San Francisco-based website announced on their blog that they would have guest speaker Adrian Macneil speak about decentralized payments. The blog post said the Director of Engineering at Coinbase talked about “the blockchain and look at how transactions are generated and broadcast in a completely trustless peer-to-peer network. He will discuss what role miners play in this network and whether the blockchain network could exist independent of the Bitcoin currency.”
When City A.M. interviewer Harriet Green changed the subject to blockchain technology, the Airbnb co-founder was asked about trust within networks. Within the Airbnb network, reputation is a critical part of the system Blecharczyk explains. The CTO states:
“The question is whether there’s a way to export that and allow access elsewhere to help other sharing economy models really flourish. We’re looking for all different kinds of 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 lodging business has hinted at digital currency use within its engine in the past. In 2014 CEO Brian Chesky asked his 110,000 Twitter followers if the company should accept Bitcoin. Many people got excited about this tweet and replied to the co-founder. Venture capitalist Marc Andreesen said, “Yes and then some.” Technological visionary Andreas Antonopoulos wrote, “YES It would reduce fees, streamline payments, reduce risk and be easy to implement without exchange rate/volatility risk.”
Should @Airbnb accept Bitcoin?
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 24, 2014
Many people would love for companies like Airbnb and Uber to adopt a decentralized payments plan. In the future, it’s possible these businesses will implement a digital currency solution or use blockchain technology in the backdrop. Until then, the cryptocurrency community can only hope but hints like these further cement the vision.
What do you think about Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk’s statements? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of the Airbnb website, Pixbay, and Shutterstock