Sharing Economy and Blockchain Technology: The Duet of the Future

Sharing economy reloaded

Many of the readers of this text may have already joined the community of collaborative consumers via online platforms like Uber, Wikipedia or Airbnb. This could be an early definition of the so-called collaborative or peer-to-peer or access or sharing economy. Below, we will be elaborating on its impact on the societies of late modernity, on the limitations arising and the beneficial synergy between sharing economy and Blockchain.

SocialPolis Coin is a Blockchain-based solution seeking to enhance collaborative economy alternatives while bridging the gap between the Blockchain environment and real estate development opportunities. Part of the project’s initiatives is the development of SPL Coin’s MarketPlace — an online mall- with e-shops-in-a-shop of SPL Coin holders- which will link them with enterprises and coops accepting transactions through SPL Coins with obvious benefits for all. Additionally, a web-based platform will be developed within SPL Coin ecosystem through which freelancers and volunteers will be able to find available opportunities.

Sharing economy is an emergent socio-economic model which refers to peer-to-peer networking based on the sharing of the right to create, product, distribute, trade and consume goods or services. Its volume was estimated to be $15 Billion in 2015 and projected to reach $335 Billion by 2025. In other words, the core tenet of the sharing economy’s philosophy is “access over ownership.” Although, examples of sharing economies can be traced back to ancient years, the advent of Internet heavily altered their potential by expanding the reach of potential buyers to lenders.

Sharing economy sites are generally lower in cost than market alternatives. Especially across the supply chains in P2P sites, value can be more efficiently distributed due to the absence of middlemen. The platforms’ fees are also lower than what established businesses extract in profits. Besides the possibility of getting from A to B and staying in C with a more affordable and accessible way than their counterpart economies, collaborative economies have managed to shift our way of thinking. It is a truth among “sharers” that sharing is less resource intensive than the dominant ways of accessing goods and services because of the assumed reduction in demand for new goods of facilities. Moreover, many sites in the sharing space advertise social connection as a core outcome of their activity. Last but not least, online sharing platforms have changed the way users trust each other within a “middlemen-free” environment. Undeniably, Blockchain technology has contributed the most towards this direction as we will see below.

However, collaborative platforms face three major challenges in which Blockchain technology can play a catalytic role.

  • Infrastructure Layer: Centralized Surveillance that the central hubs of information exercise over the users,
  • Governance Layer: dis-empowered communities that do not have proper decision-making influence over the platform and,
  • Economy Layer: concentration of profits in a few major players that do not proportionally (re)distribute them to contributors.

This is where Blockchain technology comes in. Blockchain peer-to-peer models undeniably showcase a new way of building collaborative economy platforms through the establishment of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). The main three goals are to (1) create a software framework to build decentralized infrastructure for collaborative economy organizations away from the need of a central authority (2) cultivate and implement a democratic-by-design model of governance for communities and (3) enable a fair value distribution model that will ensure the sustainability of all involved parties.

To sum up, Blockchain-based P2P models are redesigning sharing communities while moving from a totally-controlled by Silicon Valley companies’ landscape to an open inter-operable one. For sure, Blockchain is a game changer to a rising part of population, particularly millennials. As P2P models open a new field for research and human collaboration are expected to attract even more interest from various fields as they are in the crossroads of many different disciplines like software engineering, economics, law, decentralized systems, political science and many more.

In the articles to come, we will further analyze SPL’s role to the current financial context and its potential to support growing economies within the concept of social and sustainable development sectors.

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