The Sharing Economy is Big. Bring it Together on the Blockchain
For Uber, this meant creating a network of people willing to pick up strangers and transport them to a destination for a fee.
In 2009, Uber officially launched, and a new economy was born. While the service industry was not a novel concept, the idea of independent people leveraging their skills and belongings to turn a profit really was a new idea.
For Uber, this meant creating a network of people willing to pick up strangers and transport them to a destination for a fee. The movement inspired a generation of people who were tired of the traditional economy and were ready to create value in other, more creative ways.
When Time Magazine reported on the sharing economy on the cover of its iconic magazine in 2015, the industry was in full-blown expansion mode.
Today, Uber is one of the most valuable private companies in the world, and it’s joined by a host of other platforms that offer everything from hotel-like services to rentable tools and other hardware items. What’s more, it’s an incredibly lucrative industry. According to estimates by the Brookings Institute, the sharing economy is expected to balloon into a $335 billion industry by 2025.
These services are so prominent that they’ve joined our lexicon. “Uber” is as much a verb as it is a brand, and Airbnb is as recognizable as Holiday Inn.
A Weird, Popular Industry
The sharing economy is indelibly popular, but its biggest drawback is the sometimes-inexplicable feeling that it’s weird. More specifically, it’s weird to let strangers ride in your car, stay in your house, borrow your power tools, or retrieve your stuff. Most people don’t have dinner with their neighbors, let alone let them crash on the couch.
It requires a lot of trust or indifference to thrive in the sharing economy. While it’s not “likely” that something will go terribly wrong, there is very little recourse if it does. While people are eager to benefit from the sharing economy, the risk-reward ratio is a non-starter for many people.
What’s more, while shopping sites like Amazon bring together disparate brands and independent outlets, there is no singular marketplace to facilitate the sharing economy. Users are left to discover services and to register for platforms on an a-la-carte basis. For an industry that’s expanding at a rapid rate, it can be difficult to discover new opportunities and maximize the full potential of the sharing economy.
Better Processes Maximizes Potential
ShareRing is a fresh blockchain startup that collaborates with existing sharing companies and brings them together in a single ecosystem. Using just one app, ShareRing participants can engage the services and products of several prominent companies including Uber, AirBnb, HomeXchange. More companies are being added as the platform continues to proliferate.
Most importantly, ShareRing addresses some of the most troubling issues related to the sharing economy.
Describing the blockchain’s functionality, The Harvard Business Review wrote,
“Trustless transactions where two or more people need not know nor trust each other to do business, will be feasible.” The blockchain is often described as facilitating a trustless economy, and that’s just what the sharing economy requires.
Smart contracts and digital currencies are a perfect solution for the sharing economy, and ShareRing employs both of them to allow trustworthy but trustless interactions between independent contractors.
The blockchain gained its notoriety as the accounting backbone of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world. It brings that same record keeping ability to ShareRing’s platform. With ShareRing, transaction and borrower records are kept in a fully auditable and unchangeable ledger that is accessible if recourse becomes necessary.
What’s more, its use of smart contracts ensures that payment and value exchanges only happen when the appropriate preconditions are met. However, by planning for the unexpected, ShareRing ensures that users have a safe, reliable, and pleasant experience when interacting with the sharing economy.
Obviously, ShareRing’s single sign-on facet is an inherent security feature because it requires users to distribute their personal information to fewer platforms. However, by tokenizing user information on the blockchain, ShareRing offers security enhancements that are even more profound than that.
Tokenized transactions secure users’ financial information, and tokenized identities ensure that the sharing economy doesn’t become a liability for those who are participating in it.
Ultimately, the sharing economy is not slowing down anytime soon, and that’s a good thing. It’s the best use of our collective resources, and it provides added value where none existed before. It will truly thrive when the best technology and the best organizational methods bring its broad offering to as large an audience as possible. By improving the sharing economy’s ability to create trust, provide recourse, and enhance security, ShareRing embracing the sharing economy and making it better at the same time.
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