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Show HN: A blockchain alternative to Airbnb (cryptocribs.com)
67 points by Delta0 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments



Not really a 'blockchain alternative' -- just a clone of Airbnb that lets you pay in cryptocurrencies. Kind of a shame when there are other actually decentralized home sharing platforms like Beetoken, Origin, etc.


The business potential for this one is much greater because people who own cryptocurrencies are incentivized to use it over alternatives.

If you own shares in a business you're less likely to use a competitor... That would be like shareholders of Pepsi drinking Coca Cola or Apple shareholders using Samsung tablets.

That's the reason why cryptocurrency will take over; it lets everyone be a consumer of the goods and services of their own communities which they have a stake in.

Every time you buy something with a Cryptocurrency using income you derived from your fiat day job, you drive up the price... So if you own crypto, buying stuff using crypto helps to drive up the price. It's a bit like Amway but everyone is going to be in on it.


> It's a bit like Amway but everyone is going to be in on it.

Is this supposed to be an endorsement?


Well all public companies are a bit like Amway in the sense that they have a lot of stakeholders which have an incentive to help the company grow. Amway is a very successful business after all.

I'd say that cryptocurrencies are more ethical than Amway though because they don't try to make a profit by selling starter kits.


> The business potential for this one is much greater because people who own cryptocurrencies are incentivized to use it over alternatives.

People who own cryptocurrencies are a tiny sliver of the market, so why is the business potential much greater? And if this were such a key differentiator, it seems trivial for AirBnb to nullify it by accepting cryptocurrencies without changing a thing about the way they operate.


> It's a bit like Amway

Nailed it.


That would be like shareholders of Pepsi drinking Coca Cola or Apple shareholders using Samsung tablets.

Why would you think they don't do that? The only Apple shareholder I know uses a Samsung laptop and phone. Being a shareholder has nothing to do with your personal preferences.


Except this one actually exists. Beetoken is just an ICO without any working product.


Good point and I agree that beetoken and all the other Airbnb on blockchain are vaporware so far but this is just a regular web app airbnb clone that happens to offer payment in crypto. Hardly anything innovative and a feature that airbnb could add in a week (in fact I've heard payment in crypto in airbnb is something that may be coming soon).


Origin has a testnet dApp https://demo.originprotocol.com/


actually, we're on good terms with both of the projects you mentioned. I still don't see why there needs to be an ICO for a smart contract solution though


I always ask this for "x in crypto", and I'll ask it again: What important problem are you solving with this? Or, put differently: Why is this significantly (i.e. 10x) better than existing solutions?

PS: If my stance is not clear from my comment: I think most crypto-based startups are not solving a real problem, just adding crypto to an existing problem.


The sole problem crypto currency solves is the problem of centralization. Regarding the Airbnb case, why would people want to pay the Airbnb commission when they can have direct payment and bookkeeping using the blockchain?

Of course there are still the (important) issues of disputes, insurance etc. that are provided by the centralized entity. These might be solved in the future and might be not.


In the absence of a central host, who is hosting the media? In the near future that's likely to include advances around AR/VR, which will significantly increase the burden on infrastructure.

Who provides a trusted system of reviews? Who hosts/controls those? What's the basis of trusting those to be legitimate users/customers? Who foots the bill for the site (or similar) that enables organized browsing of all listings, searching, information presentation, et al.? How do you force coordination on that if it's decentralized? How do you then keep that decision committee from becoming the central authority all over again? This is the libertarian anarchy problem, where you will always end up right back with some center power structure that becomes dominate.

There are a vast number of problems that Airbnb solves that you're leaving out.

There is no scenario where decentralized wins. The extreme majority of users do not care about decentralization, it is meaningless to them. They want a trusted central authority to hold responsible, complain to, sue, whatever.


What's even worse, even the payment issue is solved and nobody is forced to go through Airbnb for that.

There is Paypal, Moneygram, Western Union, there are direct wire transfers, in many countries you can pay by cheque, you can do a direct deposit ... And all of these work with your existing cash and credit cards and don't require knowledge how to set up a Bitcoin (or whatever-coin) wallet and how to use it and how not to get scammed.

It is literally a solution looking for a problem hoping to cash on the crypto craze (adding -coin to anything is a sure way to get funded/bought/have your stock price soar up).


Roaming between "regional ubers" might be such a thing, where the day to day business runs centrally within each regional system, but profile access and payment forwarding for roaming is "cryptoed". I don't really see why that would absolutely need a full blockchain though, as there are only so many things you could meaningfully cosign with three parties involved (assuming drivers don't roam). Bbut maybe I missed something that would need getting written into a public blockchain, maybe for establishing the required trust network between providers.

But this would have to come into existence with all the lack of glamour as any dry old industry standard, the whole scenario contains absolutely no room for a starry-eyed "Uber on blockchain!" startup (which are doubtlessly legion).


Ah, but the libertarian anarchy solution is to wait until the dominant central power structure is your group and then declare all problems solved and fight vigorously for the status quo.


Governments also prefer having a trusted ‘central’ authority to sue and censor. This way they can force ‘illegal’ listings off the platform.


> why would people want to pay the Airbnb commission when they can have direct payment and bookkeeping using the blockchain?

Well, how is that possible when this page says?

https://www.cryptocribs.com/whyhost

CryptoCribs handles all the crypto payments for you. All we need is your public BTC and ETH address

And I doubt there are no commissions involved for handling payments.


I think there is potential for using smart contracts for traditional agent based hotel bookings. Settlement of these booking between the agent (ie., booking.com) and the hotelier is a messy and complicated process. It varies from invoicing or manual transfer, to generating virtual credit cards and emailing them to the front desk.

Using a contract to do this actually makes a lot of sense and could limit breakage (where the supplier doesn't or can't charge the agent for the booking).

My main concern about this (which isn't addressed anywhere in the white paper) is privacy. If this is done poorly, you are effectively linking accounts on a public ledger with real world locations and dates. Not only that, the guest and the host know a lot about the financial state of each.


Is there any reason such a smart contract / blockchain would need to be public?


Doesn't Airbnb already solve that problem? (Without a blockchain.)


You don't need to be solving something that the unwashed masses consider an "important problem". If you have a product, and people want to pay you for it, then that's a viable business.

FWIW, I am staying in a flat sourced through cryptocribs later this year, and looking forward to it.

If you want to pay with a debit card, you can use AirBnB. If you want to pay with Bitcoin, you can use cryptocribs.


But if people are paying you for something, you're generally solving a problem for them, right?

Or why don't you convert your crypto to fiat and do Airbnb?

I am just challenging that enough people consider fiat currency such a pain in the ass that they will leave Airbnb and flock to Cryptocribs (even considering they would have the quality, quantity, and trust of Airbnb someday). An "average" person sees the BTC price of 0.0009 per night and doesn't even know what value that in their base currency. Of course, if it becomes normal to pay with BTC than it would work.


> I am just challenging that enough people consider fiat currency such a pain in the ass that they will leave Airbnb and flock to Cryptocribs

And I'm contending that this doesn't have to happen.

Cryptocribs doesn't need to take over the entire market for it to be a worthwhile endeavour for its creator or users.

> Or why don't you convert your crypto to fiat and do Airbnb?

When you pay using a debit card in person, why don't you withdraw cash from an ATM and then pay with cash?


> Cryptocribs doesn't need to take over the entire market for it to be a worthwhile endeavour for its creator or users.

I agree it doesn't. But if they want to build a sustainable business, they'll need a critical mass. Maybe it's possible to achieve that mass with this model

> When you pay using a debit card in person, why don't you withdraw cash from an ATM and then pay with cash?

That's not a good analogy. If I need to buy a product and they don't accept debit cards, that's precisely what I do.

Consider this hypothetical scenario. A person has BTC and dollars. She needs to book an apartment for her holiday in Barcelona. If the better (regarding quality, price, trust, availability, location, etc.) is on Airbnb, do you think she would book an inferior offer just because she can pay with BTC?

Just to be clear: I'm not trying to bash Cryptocribs. I think it's fantastic that people are creating new stuff and challenging incumbents. I am not a crypto expert, but I do have some experience in building startups. I am just trying to pose challenging questions and get a discussion going. Because, who am I to know if this model or that model will work out in the future. All we can do is try to ask the right questions :-)


I think looking at this through the lens of building startups is why your judgment of it is different to mine.

I agree with everything you've said, in the context of startups, but I think this is just a one-man side project. If it makes any money at all, it's a winner.


not everything needs to be on the blockchain. we are thinking about putting only the most crucial touchpoints of flatsharing on chain, such as reputation and trust data. but immutability is not necessarily desired for some of this data either (even if it's just an IPFS that's put on chain). we're still actively thinking through this. also, it's not just about the ability to pay with crypto obviously, although that leverages the core stength of the technology. We take a small fee in the beginning which goes to 0 after a few bookings. Compare that to the 20% fees on Airbnb. Also, we don't censor messages between the guest and hosts, so if someone wants to pay directly they always can. We stand for giving users as much freedom as possible


*IPFS hash


It solves problems for Parisian hosts.


They slap a 'but you can pay in BTC' to it and call it revolutionary.

No, it won't be revolutionary when AirBnB starts accepting cryptocurrency. In fact, it'll fold immediately.


it's not just about the ability to pay in crypto obviously. We take a small fee in the beginning which goes to 0 after a few bookings. Compare that to the 20% fees on Airbnb. Also, we don't censor messages between the guest and hosts, so if someone wants to pay directly they always can. We stand for giving users as much freedom as possible


What if someone wrecks my house?


we have a collaboration with slice.is, where you can get a $2m insurance, which is (i) an actual insurance and (ii) provides better coverage than any platform


Pretty nice looking clone website; very accurate cloning including similar styling of most widgets. I do like the mono spaced font. Most clones I’ve checked out really bungle the UX in a lot of ways, so kudos there.

Worked great on my phone.

Nit: Some of the photos didn’t have the Airbnb logo removed.

Are the reviews pulled from Airbnb as well?


"Our vision is to fully disintermediate vacation rentals and let you explore the world with low transaction costs."

Do you take a transaction fee? If yes, I don't see how this is any different. If no, how do you make money?


You know there are other CC like ETH, NEO, ARK that have much lower fees or no fess at all.


I think you misunderstood their comment. They weren't asking about network fees at all.


I feel like you missed a pretty easy name with 'crybs'


Just because you can put in on the blockchain, should you?


it's not even on the blockchain, it's just a different payment method. bubble hype cash-in.


Approximately two years too late. If it had been built up previously, in time to truly ride the the mania of the prior year, that might have generated some kind of value for the business. The bubble is already collapsing.


clogging the ethereum blockchain by putting every little bite on chain doesn't make any sense


it also doesn't make sense to call it a blockchain service when it's a web app with a cryptocurrency escrow service


not everything needs to be on the blockchain. we are thinking about putting only the most crucial touchpoints of flatsharing on chain, such as reputation and trust data. but immutability is not necessarily desired for some of this data either (even if it's just an IPFS that's put on chain). we're still actively thinking through this. also, it's not just about the ability to pay with crypto obviously, although that leverages the core stength of the technology. We take a small fee in the beginning which goes to 0 after a few bookings. Compare that to the 20% fees on Airbnb. Also, we don't censor messages between the guest and hosts, so if someone wants to pay directly they always can. We stand for giving users as much freedom as possible


How do you deal with disputes and harrassment? Do you offer escrow or support 3rd-party escrow and arbitration?


on careers page it states: "Competitive salary (paid exclusively in crypto currencies)".. With that mindset I really hope the actual salary is described in a fixed dollar amount.


Nothing better than paying a $20 transaction fee and waiting an hour. When will credit cards embrace the blockchain benefits?


The BTC mempool is clearing 10sat/byte easily and confirming 5sat/byte over time - and falling.

https://dedi.jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/#24h

If you're going to use insults, keep them up to date, at least.


It doesn't really matter how it's NOW, the fact that it can become congested very quickly and go to $20 in fees and hours or days for 3 confirmations, it's way more concerning from a business stand point than any other benefit blockchains can have. ...and i'm not including Ripple, as it's not a proper blockchain.


Just because bitcoin is a bit shit in terms of scalability doesn't mean others are as bad

And technologies such as the lightning network should help as well to ease congestion assuming it gets adopted by merchants


Are you repeating something you think will get votes or have you actually checked the mempool recently?


Doesn't matter. Who guarantees that it will stay that way? Bitcoin just needs to go up or down a little and we are back to hour long confirmation times.


Is it really a problem to wait an hour or two for renting a place?


Yes, if two people are trying to rent the same place at approximately the same time. I don't want to wait two hours to find out that someone attempted to complete a transaction five minutes before I did, and their payment went through first.


Yes.


Nice idea. I guess it is appealling to hosts as they don't have to register with tax and stuff. Is that correct?


> it is appealling to hosts as they don't have to register with tax

Fascinating to realise people will go to jail for upgrading a civil dispute (e.g. short-stay and subletting restriction violations) to felony money laundering and tax fraud.


Really cool looking site! Congrats on the launch!


Thanks man! Lots of haters around today it seems


I am surprised that neither Dash, Monero, nor Zcash are offered as a means of payment.



Is there a need when all the cryptos are yelling hodl.




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