Airbnb's hired blockchain technology experts

 
Lynsey Barber
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Anjelica Huston at Airbnb's Hello LA Event at Cook's Garden by HGEL
Airbnb could technically use blockchain to keep track of users and their reputations (Source: Getty)

The home rental startup superstar Airbnb is the latest business eyeing up blockchain technology.

Just weeks after Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczy spoke to City A.M about the potential blockchain technology might have in its business, than the company has made several hires of experts in the technology.

Several staff from US-based ChangeCoin, a startup which created micro-payments platform ChangeTip, have been snapped up by Airbnb.

"We are thrilled to bring some members of the ChangeTip team on as a part of Airbnb and joining the engineering team working on building our infrastructure," Airbnb confirmed to City A.M.

The less than two-year-old company backed by seed and early stage venture capital employs between 11 and 50 people.

Airbnb has bought up that talent in what's known as an acqui-hire, with the ChangeCoin business not part of the deal.

"We are not acquiring the assets of the company, nor do we have any plans to incorporate Bitcoin into the Airbnb ecosystem,” Airbnb added.

What's Airbnb thinking about blockchain? Here's what Blecharczy told City A.M. at the time:

“I think that, within the context of Airbnb, your reputation is everything, and I can see it being even more so in the future, whereby you might need a certain reputation order to have access to certain types of homes. But then the question is whether there’s a way to export that and allow access elsewhere to help other sharing economy models really flourish. We’re looking for all different kinds of signals to tell us whether someone is reputable, and I could certainly see some of these more novel types of signals being plugged into our engine.”

Blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin but can also be used unrelated to the currency for secure and transparent transactions and record keeping, is increasingly gaining interest among businesses.

This ranges from banks, money transfer companies, trading platforms and public services which keep records.

According to data from CB Insights corporates are increasingly taking an interest in the technology when it comes to deals, with the likes of Goldman Sachs and Visa among those piling into investing in blockchain startups last year after no involvement in the two years prior to that.

Update: This story was updated with comment from Airbnb

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