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Why Blockchain Is The Future Of The Sharing Economy

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Forbes | By Omri Barzilay | August 14, 2017

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Everyone’s talking about blockchain, but you’re still not entirely sure what it is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s something that Jack Dorsey, the CEO and chairman of Square and CEO of Twitter, described this week as the “next big unlock,” and something that, according to Dorsey, is normally applied to accounting terms but has the potential to “be applied to so much more.”

Enter the sharing economy. The sharing economy burst into our lives as a big promise during the 2008 recession with an initial wave of investor enthusiasm and a number of “sharing” startups such as Uber and Airbnb. However, many others failed to ride the trend.

These days, the sharing economy feels a bit past its prime. “The ‘Sharing Economy’ is Dead,” Fast Company declared two years ago, summarizing a general sense of fatigue with what now feels like a wildly overhyped idea. But, according to many, the fusion of blockchain and the sharing economy may create a revolution that will transform our economy and share the wealth beyond certain companies and individuals.

Smart contracts help to unbundle ownership

Blockchain can help energize and unlock the sharing economy by making it cheaper to create and operate an online platform. For example, transactions could be coordinated by self-executing smart contracts or performed at lower cost by other small competing providers. The next phase of the sharing economy can emphasize today’s inequalities or ease them, depending on the purpose of the technology itself.


Basically, blockchain is a different way of keeping track of a normative set of information, instead of storing the information in one central location – the county records office, say, or Airbnb’s database – blockchain makes multiple copies and distributes them across all the nodes of a network. These nodes don’t have to be people, they can be things. This is what makes blockchain a potentially powerful accelerant of the sharing economy as it gives a property the ability to know who its owner is.

Anything with an internet connection can hook up to a blockchain, which means anything with an internet connection can have a perfect record of who owns what. So let’s say I rent out my house like I would on Airbnb. By utilizing blockchain technology, I could program my front door to open only when a person reserved it, and automatically pay me, and lock the door, once he leaves the property.

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