Airbnb mulls over adding support for crypto and blockchain technology

on Nov 18, 2020
  • Per Airbnb, adopting technologies like crypto and blockchain might be key to its future success.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic might have spurred the firm’s consideration for crypto and blockchain.
  • Airbnb believes crypto and blockchain adoption might also harm its operations.

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Airbnb has unveiled that it is considering blockchain and crypto integration. The firm revealed this news through a prospectus for its scheduled Initial Public Offering (IPO). Reportedly, the company filed the prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the document, Airbnb noted that it competes in an industry characterized by rapidly changing technology, evolving standards, and consolidation, among other factors. As such, the firm believes its adaptability to these factors is pertinent to its survival.

Airbnb added that,

“Our future success will also depend on our ability to adapt to emerging technologies such as tokenization, cryptocurrencies, new authentication technologies, such as biometrics, distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud technologies. 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.”

Per Airbnb, such unexpected costs might inhibit it from investing in the above technologies. This is because they might affect its business processes adversely. The firm added that further technological innovation often results in bugs and vulnerabilities, among other system failures. As such, the firm intends to approach the integration of new technologies carefully because bugs and vulnerabilities associated with a major technical change might see it lose business or harm its brand’s reputation.

COVID-19 might have triggered Airbnb’s change of heart

This news comes after Airbnb once declared that it had no interest in accepting BTC or any crypto coin as payment. However, the home-rental platform noted in the filing that the coronavirus pandemic hit it hard, resulting in a sharp drop in its revenue. Reportedly, the company managed to sell approximately £13.5 billion in gross bookings so far in 2020. This figure, however, represents a 39% drop in the company’s bookings at a similar time last year.

In the prospectus, Airbnb said,

“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.”

Apart from Airbnb, other mainstream companies are increasingly showing their interest in the crypto, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continue ravaging different jurisdiction across the globe. The most recent company to announce support for cryptocurrencies was PayPal, which allowed select users to transact in multiple leading crypto coins.


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