Rentable is shutting down

Emiliano Bonassi
4 min readSep 13, 2022

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Rentable is shutting down. From October 14th 2022 all services will be terminated.

TLDR: I am sorry to announce that Rentable is shutting down, we did not find product market fit, and our runway ended. After many careful considerations and conversation, we preferred to go in this direction instead to do further funding or pivots. Here next steps:

  • Starting from today 13th September 2022, rentals will be disabled and only withdrawals will be possible
  • Users will have until 13th October 2022 11.59p UTC to withdraw
  • At 14th October 2022 12a UTC, the protocol will be suspended and the official frontend won’t be accessible anymore
  • If there are any remaining listings after the suspension, protocol governance will execute emergency withdrawals and transfers to the respective oToken owners
  • All the smart contract codes are open-sourced and the community is welcome to fork/clone. It will remain available on Etherscan, Github repositories will be deleted
  • All the other resources — Telegram/Discord/Twitter/Medium— will be decommissioned

In the following lines, I’ll briefly share how we got here and the lessons learned. Hopefully, this will be useful to others. The conclusion will be a warm thank you to everyone who was part of this journey 💫

⏱️ The Journey

Here the major milestones:

Summer 2021 — 💡 inception with close friends

October 2021 — 🏗️ built PoC at ETHLisbon

January 2022 — 🐦 released beta on mainnet supporting PFP Twitter rentals

May 2022 — two audits, one pivot, presenting V2 at NFTBerlin

Jun 2022 — official launch with Decentraland, Meebits and LobsterDAO markets

Jul 2022 — MeebitsDAO lists first Meebits

During all these months, we had discussions and collected feedbacks from users, partners, investors and NFT communities 🙏🏽 . We lead to the following consideration:

Rentals are strongly correlated to NFT utility and this market is still very early although specific verticals (i.e. guilds & games) show more interest.

Rentable’s mission was to be agnostic, enabling rentals without being tied to a specific use-case. Rentable V2 enabled any dApp to offer rentals for their users without integrations (just WalletConnect), we removed any sort of barrier for platforms.

Said that, we got close to zero traction 👐

🗒️ Lessons learned

Below the three most important ones. Structure is topic, failure reasons, potential error correction.

1. Narrow scope

Scope definition is fundamental to set the specific problem you are trying to solve and laser focus on it. Generalisations and abstractions have to be evaluated, so you can apply your solution to a wider range of similar problems and target a bigger market but they’ve to be carefully chosen.

I was biased from my experience in DeFi i.e. solve a problem for a generic ERC20, you solve for all of them. So, solve a problem for a generic NFT you solve for all of them.

The error was that this approach may work in DeFi because in the end all the tokens are the same AND renting ~ lending but it’s not true here.

Every NFT has their own peculiarities and renting may be similar to lending but “renting the x NFT” has a different meaning depending on what x represent. Note that this is specific for renting, for instance, for trading generalisation works pretty well.

We could have be done better, drilling down more on the various NFTs and choosing a specific market, understanding better and building a vertical custom solution instead of an agnostic generic one.

2. Align first

Time is the scarcest resource for everyone, from partners to investors and of course users. After the first call or a few feedbacks, it’s difficult they participate if not committed, unless they do for free for some reason.

Since we didn’t need external capital for building the MVP, I completely underestimated this.

We would needed capital for aligning interest. Every investor and partner brings their specific value, mastering how to leverage it is important. So, mapping what they could bring from capital to hiring connections or just reputation is a must do.

3. Better validation

Validation is a big topic but could be summarised in goal setting, hypothesis framing, experiment and data-collection.

We made the error to implement as soon as we found a good technical solution to enable rentals. In addition, our assumption was that users didn’t have yet any mechanism to rent, with a solution (i.e. “being there”) we would have seen new dynamics.

We would have needed more validation on “paper” with shorter iteration cycles and redistribute energies from engineering efforts to focus more on the partners/users motives and objectives to rent.

Thank you 🙏

Traction or not traction, I am responsible for the outcome. We failed.

Despite the result, I’m very proud of what we did. During this year we learned a lot and explored this interesting design space between DeFi and NFTs, recently defined as MetaFi.

Thanks to the team for all the effort and the work done.

Thanks to our users, partners, potential investors and competitors (yes — also them!) for the precious feedbacks and support.

I want to dedicate a special thanks to those who believed in us since early days and would wanted to invest on us, thank you again!

Personally, I remain optimistic on this industry segment. I wish all the best to other teams: reNFT, Double Protocol…

That’s all Folks! 🪐 💫

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Emiliano Bonassi

Co-Founder @rentableworld | Blockchain Security Researcher | Blockchain Startup Advisor & Investor | fmr: @awscloud @iearnfinance | Co-Founder @web3mi