The giant online rental marketplace based in San Francisco, Airbnb is considering supporting cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The news stems from the company’s initial public offering (IPO) prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Airbnb’s filing notes that future success will be dependent on adapting to new technologies such as tokenization and cryptocurrencies.
- The travel industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors in the economy after the coronavirus outbreak shook the world. In a recent filing with the SEC, Airbnb has filed a prospectus on November 16 seeking a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.
- Within the pages of the Airbnb prospectus, the company mentions considering technologies like blockchain, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence (AI), and the “ability to integrate new or emerging payment methods.”
- In 2014, Airbnb representative Brian Chesky asked his followers on Twitter if Airbnb should accept bitcoin. A great number of respondents on Twitter said that the company should adopt cryptocurrencies.
- In 2016, during an interview with City A.M., Airbnb cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, Nathan Blecharczyk spoke about the M-pesa and blockchain technology.
Should @Airbnb accept Bitcoin?
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 24, 2014
- “Our future success will also depend on our ability to adapt to emerging technologies such as tokenization, cryptocurrencies, [and] new authentication technologies,” the Airbnb filing details. “As a result, we intend to continue to spend significant resources maintaining, developing, and enhancing our technologies and platform. However, these efforts may be more costly than expected and may not be successful.”
- While the firm mentioned blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and augmented reality, Airbnb saw a 39% revenue loss year-over-year from the coronavirus pandemic.
- The company says that after the major drop this year, Airbnb rebounded two months later. “In early 2020, as Covid-19 disrupted travel across the world, Airbnb’s business declined significantly, but within two months, our business model started to rebound even with limited international travel, demonstrating its resilience,” Airbnb states.
- Airbnb has stated in the past that it has no current plans to support cryptocurrency payments from blockchain networks like Bitcoin. Airbnb and Uber investor, Jeffrey Wernick, advocated in 2018 that “everybody should put something into crypto.”
- In April 2016, Airbnb did acquire the startup Changecoin when the billion-dollar firm “acqui-hired” seven developers from the now-defunct bitcoin tipping platform Changetip.
- New authentication technologies mentioned in the Airbnb prospectus included: “Biometrics, distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud technologies.”
Airbnb’s IPO prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can be read in its entirety here.
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