The Sharing Economy of Blockchain

September 10, 2021

While long-established and highly disruptive for certain industries, sharing economy is still debatable. Some professionals call to pay attention to significant downsides and the real face and impact of companies like Uber, Airbnb, and others on local ecosystems. Regulatory compliance, tax avoidance, and the security–sharing economy have been slapped with all kinds of accusations (which could be quite fair).

In the end, sharing economy is not about sharing at all – none of those multi-billion-dollar companies or their clients are sharing anything. Instead, experts in the matter call it an access economy.

As explained by Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi in their article on HBR, “When sharing is market-mediated – when a company is an intermediary between consumers who don’t know each other – it is no longer sharing at all. Rather, consumers are paying to access someone else’s goods or services for a particular period. It is an economic exchange, and consumers are after utilitarian, rather than social, value.”

So, it’s probably long overdue to forget everything Uber and Airbnb have been trying to convey and call things as they are. Yes, robust IT platforms have enabled large groups of the population to access goods and services, which sometimes have the appearance of sharing, but the ‘sharing’ (or, if to be correct, access) economy is truly about utilizing every resource and byproduct because we’re increasingly connected in a digital world, as emphasized by Infosys.

Sharing economy 2.0 built on blockchain

Since we have established that sharing economy in the existing sense and shape is highly questionable to be ‘sharing’ at all, now comes the real question: what kind of economy could we call ‘sharing’ in the correct sense? What would be the underlying principle of a true sharing economy?

The answer (just like many other questions nowadays) could be blockchain. Distributed ledger technology has lately been attributed with marvelous features and is almost dubbed a savior of the world and the financial services industry. There have been numerous trials and projects aimed to test blockchain-powered solutions and find the best application for the technology in payments, trading, the matter of financial inclusion, real-time settlement, commerce, and more.

One of the most important properties of blockchain technology – eliminating the need for central authority and intermediaries – could become a backbone for the real sharing economy, or sharing economy 2.0. In the current model, every ‘sharing economy’ service has a central authority, while similar services built and operating on blockchain technology would directly connect supply and demand most efficiently.

According to IBM, “Eliminating the need for an intermediary could impact some of the biggest technology companies. Rather than use Uber, Airbnb, or eBay to connect with other people, blockchain services allow individuals to connect, share, and transact directly, ushering in the real sharing economy. Blockchain is the platform that enables real peer-to-peer transactions and a true ‘sharing economy.’

“But more importantly, blockchain will create new markets. These markets will be ones in which individuals can trade non-traditional assets like reputation, data, and attention. Blockchain makes any activity, however small, easy to monetize. <…> Each time the data is used, the user receives a token in a licensing-type model.”

Sharing economy 2.0 is more than a concept. In the ride-sharing industry, for example, Uber and Lyft are two dominant players leading the pack: Uber and Lyft. Both are brands that consumers and drivers trust to match supply and demand. Soon enough, blockchain could fundamentally transform the model with the next generation of companies taking over the niche.

If you can authenticate a driver or rider without Uber, which is what very early-stage players Arcade City and La ‘Zooz are hoping to offer, doesn’t Uber become unnecessary? Drivers can even make more money.

Explaining the problem, Arcade City’s Founder Christopher David bluntly elaborated on the problem in an extensive interview with, “A bunch of eggheads in San Francisco are right now centrally controlling rates for hundreds of thousands of drivers around the world. Yeah, we think we can improve on that system. Drivers and riders can agree to whatever method of payment they like. We won’t know about it, won’t get a cut of it, won’t care.”

To learn about Prove’s identity solutions and how to accelerate revenue while mitigating fraud, schedule a demo today.

Keep reading

See all blogs
Prove’s Tim Brown Explains How to Reduce Fraud and Improve Onboarding with Identity Verification

Reporters from GreenSheet, a popular publication that highlights trends in the banking, financial services, and fintech markets, recently met with Prove’s Global Identity Officer, Tim Brown to learn how advanced identity verification solutions are driving faster and better digital customer onboarding.

Kaushal Ls
May 21, 2024
Prove CEO Rodger Desai Featured on Fintech Leaders Podcast

Prove CEO and co-founder Rodger Desai was recently the featured guest on the Fintech Leaders podcast with fintech leader and entrepreneur Miguel Armaza. The two discussed the identity verification market, innovations in onboarding and customer enablement, and explained how smartphone data provides the most effective way to verify customers.

Kelley Vallone
May 16, 2024
Marketplace Risk Proudly Names Prove as the Leader in Identity Authentication

Marketplace Risk, a leading authority in risk management for online platforms, has announced the recipients of its annual Solution Provider Excellence Program. This prestigious initiative spotlights industry leaders in risk, trust, and safety solutions, showcasing their expertise in addressing the challenges encountered by digital marketplaces, gig economy, and digital platforms. Among the winners is Prove.

May 15, 2024