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Helbiz: the Blockchain AirBnB for Transportation

- Bitbank Weighs in on Ethereum

In most developed countries, cars are the dominant form of transportation. Despite being revered by the masses, this mode of mobility is a diminishing asset that, over time, loses value.

To add to their diminishing value, cars aren’t actually used as often as we think. On average, cars are parked 95 percent of the time, stated transportation adviser and policy researcher Paul Barter.

What if a new economic model allowed us to more efficiently use our cars? Furthermore, what if data collected through this model could be used to further inform and accelerate innovation in the transportation industry.

This model would incentivize car owners to not only rent out their vehicles but even to create and share data. The rewards for participants in this economy could be leveraged back into the market through travel and services discounts.

P2P Ridesharing

Helbiz is a critical proponent of this economic model for transportation. It is an emerging enterprise that believes this new model can be achieved by combining car sharing and blockchain technology.

Specifically, Helbiz is developing a peer-to-peer marketplace that will make renting a car, motorcycle or bicycle easy, more affordable and rewarding. The company plans to do this by constructing a mobility system that will provide access to individual vehicles, fleets and other transportation services through the use of modern technology that is already available.

Dovetailing off of the growing rideshare movement, Helbiz and its suite of applications will be primarily targeted towards millennials and business professionals.

By using a blockchain, the company intends to play a big role in the future of mobility and data sharing in transportation. The blockchain will serve as a conduit for the services provided through Helbiz’s platform, with transactions between owners, operators and external service providers automatically processed through a single payment system. The end goal for Helbiz is to erect a fully integrated mobility market ecosystem that revolves around the customer.

Featuring instant confirmation, insurance and the ability to digitally unlock and start cars, Helbiz’s platform eliminates the need for unnecessary communication and coordinate the key exchange and delivery between two parties. In this way, central intermediaries are not needed to ensure accurate transactions and “Terms & Conditions” compliance are executed upon while administrative costs are simultaneously lowered.

A Distributed Infrastructure for the Sharing Economy 

Helbiz’s ambitious project comes at a time when the ridesharing movement is reaching new heights. The research firm Global Market Insights Inc. reports that, by 2024, the global car sharing market is projected to grow 34.8 percent with projected revenues of more than $16.5 billion. In China alone, the car sharing market is slated to grow at an unprecedented annual rate of over 40 percent between 2016-2024.

Driven by rapid regional and technological advancements, Helbiz aims to become a major player in today’s rapidly growing, peer-to-peer car sharing space. Ultimately, Helbiz’s unique value proposition lies in their use of blockchain technology to provide a car sharing service that reduces transaction fees and saves transaction costs.

“The blockchain is going to disrupt the sharing economy exponentially and rapidly, said Mike Coppola, Helbiz investor and advisor. “With a distributed infrastructure and use of smart contracts organizations will eliminate the need for middle layer resources, allowing them to scale and benefit from massive cost savings unlike traditional companies such as Airbnb.”

The Tokenization of Transportation

As a part of its market launch, Helbiz will fully integrate the Helbiz Mobility System and HelbizCoin. The former mobility system is an open platform that enterprises seeking to engage in mobility-related services, such as insurance companies, can use to build decentralized applications.

The HelbizCoin is an ERC20, that means it will work through the Ethereum network. The token aims to become the preferred method of payment for transportation services. Its presale will begin January 26, 2018. The full scale token campaign is scheduled to begin February 15, 2018.

“Our aim is to revolutionize the transportation industry by decentralizing the sharing economy, giving personal control to the user,” said Salvatore Palella, co-founder & CEO of Helbiz.

Palella is a serial entrepreneur. In 2015, he founded Palella Investment LTD, a financial services consultancy based in London, England.

“We are doing this by introducing decentralized tools into the sharing economy, allowing users to seamlessly engage in a peer-to-peer manner through the platform.”

(Photo by Taylor Ballantyne)