My wife and I run a small Airbnb business as a side hustle. Oftentimes people will check in on Thursday afternoon, and usually by Friday we get an upbeat message from Airbnb: “Your Payment is on its way!” This would be great if not for the fact that I know that the money will not hit our legacy banking account until Monday morning. As we go through a weekend enjoying our lovely city of San Francisco, we can’t count on our most recent Airbnb earnings and legacy banking to fund our adventures.
So what is our money doing over the weekend? Maybe our Airbnb dollars enjoy their own getaway sipping a MaiTai on a beach in some exotic location until it has to go back to work for the Fox family on Monday morning. Far be it for me to deny my earnings a well earned weekend of fun and frolic just because I might want to use it over the weekend for dinner, buying groceries, or getting that fancy cat food my kitten demands.
I sometimes feel resentment and envy that my money gets to take a vacation over the weekend on its way to my bank account when I can’t enjoy it as well. But then I think of the Donna Summer hit: my money works hard for my money so I better treat my money right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09ZSKE38lTU
Fortunately, I catch myself in this fantasy and quickly return to reality. I know my money is actually sitting in the legacy system earning someone else short term interest while who knows how many intermediaries take a slice along its weekend journey to hit my account. The only parties on exotic vacation over the weekend are those who benefit directly from the legacy banking system holding up my money and taking a slice along the way.
At this point, I should mention that I have nothing against Airbnb. In fact, I view them as one of the best companies to come out of the mobile revolution. I benefit from them as both a host and traveler, and my lifestyle is better because of the economy they created.
However, let's take a look at what would happen if Airbnb were to use the Bitcoin blockchain to send my payments.
Scenario 1. “Paid in Bitcoin:” In this case, we choose to take our payment at the market rate of Bitcoin.
Our guest checks in on Thursday at 3:00 PM. By Friday when Airbnb sends the message “Your Payment is On it’s Way” it really is! The payment settles on the entire Bitcoin Blockchain before we even see the message (10 minutes or so.) The cost in transaction fees to settle on this immutable network would be less than one dollar. Our typical Airbnb transaction ranges from $300 to $2000 or more, and still the network fees would be less than one dollar. Think about it: less than one dollar for a settlement layer that is so impervious that no nation state can muster enough computing power to jeopardize our transaction that will live on the triple ledger blockchain in perpetuity.
Realize this: Every second more hashes are happening on the Bitcoin blockchain than grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, at an energy cost far less than 1% of world energy consumption, much of it renewable or captured wasted energy. This unique open source network guarantees I sleep soundly at night knowing full well that no individual, shadowy organization, or even nation-state can hack this immutable store of value. Source: https://bitcoinist.com/bitcoin-hashrate-now-10x-number-of-grains-of-sand-on-earth/
What if we go with option 2 “Dollar to Bitcoin to Dollars?” I still get our payment in dollars but instead Airbnb decides to convert dollars to Bitcoin and back to dollars using the superior Bitcoin rails similar to what the Payments App Strike does disrupting the nearly two hundred year old business model of Western Union. https://strike.me/ With basically the same results, we get to party on Friday night using our hard earned Airbnb funds.
Note: To be fair Airbnb has already said they are looking at taking Crypto payments. https://cointelegraph.com/news/airbnb-users-want-crypto-payment-options-according-to-ceo-twitter-poll .
In contrast to my rather tongue-in-cheek example for instant access to my Airbnb funds, consider this for a moment. According to Airbnb and quoted in Thomas Friedman’s New York Times column, people have booked more than 430,000 nights at Ukrainian homes on Airbnb with no intention of using the rooms — but simply in order to donate money to these Ukrainian hosts. Those reservations translated into $17 million going directly to the hosts. What if this was done through Bitcoin? The host would be able to barter and trade immediately for goods and services, maybe even to flee the country like this group who had to buy a car in Bitcoin in order to move to safety https://twitter.com/pete_rizzo_/status/1503816119584501767?s=21
Case in point:, over $100 million in crypto currencies has been raised to immediately fund Ukraine’s defense efforts with munitions and other equipment. Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation was quoted in the New York Times last week saying: “In a situation like this, where the national bank is not fully operating, crypto is helping to perform fast transfers, to make it very quick and get results almost immediately,”
Today, roughly 900 new Bitcoins are mined a day. In 2024, that number will go down to 450. I’ll wager that as more and more of these urgent need scenarios arise–from my more mundane desire to access my Airbnb funds to fleeing a war zone–that in roughly 18 months, there will be 10x the final settlements with Bitcoin. It will be a case of desperation combined with practicality.
All the best,