Investors Slam NY Senate over Airbnb P2P Apartment Ban


Investors Slam NY Senate's AirBnB P2P Apartment Ban

Silicon Valley investors including Ashton Kutcher have come out in opposition to New York’s part ratification of a bill banning peer-to-peer (P2P) accommodation site Airbnb.

Also read: Encryption’s Fate Uncertain as New York & France Take Public Stances

Airbnb ‘Dangerous’

The bill, which was passed by Senate and now goes before Governor Andrew Cuomo, bans the advertising of entire apartments, which politicians say is “dangerous.”

Kutcher, who is also a proponent of decentralized technology, tweeted his indignation on Twitter following the Senate’s decision Friday. He said the bill would “throw away” the future of New York’s economy.

In further tweets, he suggested the cost to homeowners would be great and called on those who can to support Airbnb’s cause.

If ratified by Cuomo, those who offer entire apartments for rent in New York could face fines of up to $7500, with $1000 for a first “offense.”

The bill represents a strange perspective adopted by the Senate in what is currently the largest market for Airbnb, which itself is valued at over $24 billion.

As Verge notes, it is not the first time the company and politicians in New York have crossed swords. A year ago, criticism started coming in from industry and government, who said the service, contrary to its ethos of helping homeowners pay their “gallingly high” rents, was actually driving up rent costs across the city.

‘Bad Actors’ & ‘Strangers’

The renewed scrutiny this year and accompanying comments from the associated bill’s proponents hint at a sense of paranoia regarding the influence of P2P or less “centralized” innovation on the economy.

rosenthal2State assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal told the New York Post that the ban was meant to target “bad actors” – companies letting out apartments in place of individuals and creating monopolies.

“There are so many units held by commercial operators, not individual tenants,” she said. “They are bad actors who horde multiple units, driving up the cost of housing around them and across the city.”

In the same breath, however, Rosenthal moved to state the problem lay in the anonymity of one’s neighbors, presumably the case whether or not a company or private individual was letting out the property involved.

“You should know who your neighbor is and what happens when people rent out their apartments on Airbnb is you get strangers,” she continued. “Every night there could be different person sleeping in the next apartment and it shatters that sense of community in the building. It also can be dangerous.”

Airbnb has been active in the P2P market, having hired staff from Bitcoin tipping service Changetip in March. At the same time, co-founder and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk meanwhile suggested the company could “eventually” use Blockchain technology.

Time will tell whether the same jurisdiction that invented the BitLicense will get its way with the latest tightening of the legislative noose on enterprise, which is not directly controlled from the top.

What do you think about New York’s stance to P2P operations? Get involved in the comments section below.

Tags in this story
airbnb, BitLicense, New York Regulation, p2p marketplace, Senate

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William Suberg

William Suberg is a freelance digital tech journalist who has written extensively about Bitcoin, the blockchain and the evolving cryptocurrency ecosystem for a variety of publications. He has been writing for since January 2016.

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