A Booking DAO
A booking platform for the people, by the people, on the new internet.
Focused on remote working and long term friendly accommodations.
The profit goes directly to the Community which decides what to do with the money.
Usable from launch, by anyone, no crypto knowledge needed.
Update 1st of June 2021: the Booking DAO project has been put on hold.
After launch we tried to teach Short Term Rentals players how to use a wallet, get some crypto and be ready to operate in Web3.
While there was certainly more interest than in the past, the level of engagement is still not enough to reach the critical mass needed.
So, we’re too early, again.
We’ll give another shot in a year or two.
In general it will be interesting to watch who gets there first: the new generations or the old guard.
REQUEST FOR COMMENTS (RFC)
This article is a request for comments on an experimental booking platform.
It’s not a launch.
This RFC overlaps several domains and few people will understand everything but most will understand enough.
The rest can be learnt and we encourage you to start a learning process together.
Later on, we will publish simpler explanations targeted to owners and guests.
This stuff is not going away, you’ll have to deal with it sooner or later.
So, let’s do it together now.
Several stars have aligned:
- Long term bookings are mainstream.
- Remote working is mainstream.
- Decentralized governance actually works and manages billions of dollars.
- Sidechains are a good alternative to mainnet (aka “the blockchain is cheap now”).
WHAT THIS IS NOT
Yet another startup making the world a better place for investors.
WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS
Owner: Airbnb host, manager, property manager. The person who welcomes the guest and takes care of cleaning, check-in and stuff. Lots of stuff.
Guest: the person who stays and put the money on the table. Also, the person who pays (sometimes unknowingly) the 15/20% commission to the OTAs.
DAO: Decentralized Autonomous Organization. A group of people who synchronize their work using the new internet (Web3). Some call it the corporation of the future.
xDAI: an Ethereum sidechain. It works like Ethereum but transaction cost very little (about $1 for 1000 transactions).
Web3: The internet powered by the open blockchains. It’s what’s coming. We still live on Web2, the internet of the corporations.
OTA: Online Travel Agencies (Booking.com, Airbnb, VRBO and so on).
Fiat: USD, Euro and all the other non programmable currencies.
SO, LET’S GET TO IT
Here’s what we intend to solve:
1) I’M A GUEST AND I NEED:
- An easy way to book remote working friendly spaces (apartments, houses, rooms etc..): fast internet, office corner, long term allowed and so on.
- A way to book long term remote working friendly spaces: a place where I know I am going to be comfortable working, they accept long term bookings and understand my needs. I’m a fully fledged digital nomad or I simply work remotely and want to spend some time away. Anyway, I can’t work from the kitchen table and deal with slow internet.
- Low fees: I need to avoid the +10% Airbnb guest fee, or the Booking.com 15–20% commission (paid by the owner but ultimately paid by me) because they are too expensive, especially when I stay a few months.
- Real direct contact: I need to be able to speak to the owner on the phone/on video call and maybe even visit the place before booking. I am not staying two days, I am staying 3 months, so I really need to be sure (no censorship for my own protection, thanks).
- A booking platform where all the properties are vetted for my use case: I don’t need 1000 listings of which 900 do not fit my needs, I prefer 100 good ones to chose from.
- No crypto: I don’t know anything about crypto, so don’t drag me into this stuff.
2) I’M A HOST AND I NEED:
- Help with the transition from purely tourist hosting to the remote worker and longer term guests.
- To be able to talk to the guests directly on the phone/on video chat/in person before the bookings to better address their needs.
- Avoid 15/20% commissions which on long term bookings are a huge amount of money.
- No crypto: I don’t know anything about crypto, so don’t drag me into this stuff. I’m at the “Bitcoin is for drug dealers” phase.
3) I’M A CRYPTO NERD AND I NEED:
A project where I can help to make something really valuable in the real world and earn some money. Social money, airdrops and stuff are all cool, but I’d like to work on something with a real impact now, not in the distant future.
A POSSIBLE SOLUTION
- A Community owned booking platform.
- A subscription based model, with zero commissions on bookings.
- A DAO fund: The money from subscriptions goes to community managed smart contracts. There is no central authority managing money.
- All profit is distributed to the Community via a decentralized DAO mechanism. No one person can decide what to do with it.
- Each listing is approved by the Community, based on a pre-set list of parameters (e.g. minimum acceptable internet speed).
- Listings are not censored: they can show phone numbers, email, personal website, links to OTAs (Airbnb, Booking etc..) and so on.
- Direct payments between guest and owner (with an option to delegate the payment to the platform later via an escrow system).
- The decisions are taken by the community (e.g how much to charge for subscription per year) via a decentralized Governance vote.
- No escrow for now. We are going back a few years, and give this responsibility to the owner. It’s just temporary, to keep things simple at the beginning as escrow means a central authority, money management, a point of failure and so on. We will need to work a on a decentralised approach for this. It’s doable today with smart contracts, but not with fiat money.
- Scams: A result of direct payments is that we have no control over the money. For this reason listings are vetted and invite only (also to be decided).
- Not completely decentralized. The booking platform itself is centralised.
This project is initially managed by me, Luca De Giglio and Carmela Lerede.
Carmela is a prominent Property Manager managing 40 high end apartments and villas who has already transitioned to long term remote working friendly bookings.
While last year most Property Managers had empty apartments, she did well.
How did she do it? She was part of Trips Community and was exposed to these ideas early on, since 2018
She is an acclaimed trainer of Property Managers in Italy.
She is also publishing a book on Remote Working Accommodations, which will be in Italian libraries in April 2021.
People will candidate themselves and will be voted in the team.
We’ll use #earn channel to spread the word.
Some funds will also be spent for legacy marketing.
A new governance token will be issued and distributed to Hosts and Guests.
Its role is to distribute the decision power fairly to the users of the platform.
We need to consider that the Trips token has an uneven distribution: one early Trips member voting power would be worth 1000 platform users.
These are some of the decisions delegated to the token holders:
- Yearly price of subscription to the platform.
- Main parameters for listing approval (internet speed, review score in other platforms, minimum number of pictures, overall listing quality etc…)
- Approval process: to participate in the approval process, one must be elected by the Community. A part of the earnings goes to the Listing Approval process and the Approval Team will earn (Trips, xDAI and others, to be decided).
Aragon has already approached us offering to help set up a DAO on the xDAI sidechain.
I have already created one and I’m playing with it.
I’ll open it to anyone who wants to help to experiment with it.
Some aspects are centralised because of the lack of mass adoption in crypto and general web3 infrastructure not being ready (high gas fees, speed and so on).
- Domain name: decentralized domain names (.eth/.crypto and so on), require plugins. We’ll research this as it would be great to have a community controlled domain name.
- Booking platform: legacy centralized server/db software. It’s usable by anyone, no crypto experience needed. We’ll decentralise as tech improves and adoption grows.
THE GOVERNANCE TOKEN
Governance tokens are released to anyone who buys the subscription.
Ideally they are minted on the spot, with no pre-minining (checking this out).
They can be earned and reputation increased through ongoing participation, volunteering, financial contributions to the community budget or other DAO-specific terms.
We may use Tip.cc for this and distribute them in Discord.
Non-crypto users may simply decide not to participate in governance or they could learn and be part of the decision-making process.
If you make the effort to learn crypto, you get a voice.
We already have a platform and the expenses have so far been paid by Trips Community funds, Francesco and Claudio and this month, Carmela.
When we start getting subscription money, it will be exchanged in xDAI and sent to the fund.
All expenses will be transparently published.
We’ll probably give a discount to those who pay directly in crypto so we skip the Fiat part.
There’s a big limitation on Aragon in xDAI where 1 xDAI (worth $1) is displayed as 1 ETH (worth $1800) and there is no easy way to fix this.
So, we’ll probably need to use another coin or exchange it immediately in order to avoid confusion.
We’ll define a budget to distribute the money to:
- The various teams and people who help.
- Running costs.
- Liquidity for the Trips token
- Liquidity for the Governance token
and so on.
In case there’s a sizeable amount of money in the treasury, we will explore the best ways to earn interest on it with farming.
THE BOOKING PLATFORM
We’ll start using a centralised software and eventually move to more decentralized solutions.
Why? Because decentralised software requires users to be onboarded in crypto and 99% of them are not ready.
We are waiting for Elon Musk to show them the light.
Initially we will use the website Smart Working Spaces.
Where we already have onboarded 237 apartments in Italy.
This is something we started back in March last year to offer a solution during Covid19, we have subsequently closed the subscriptions as we could not follow it properly.
We plan to relaunch with the decentralized model.
The efforts will be on the Italian market for the accommodations, but it’s going to be open to anyone.
The platform is pretty smooth but does not have all the features we need, especially integration with external calendars and prices, but it’s OK to start.
Feel free to register and try it out, but please consider that listings need to be approved and we are not doing that yet.
We may collectively decide to change its name and domain.
“Smart Working” is widely used in Italy, but elsewhere “Remote Working” is more common.
Head over to Discord, where we created a whole section dedicated to the project.
Tell us what you think and start helping now!