[UPDATE: 50 million tokens are on public sale starting April 10th 2018]
In times when wealth is in the hands of a few giant groups, some aim to use blockchain to give back power to individuals. French startup 808Labs may have found the way to correct the economic imbalance.
Internet started with a promise. When information and economy were controlled by limited entities, internet was empowering individuals. All could participate and, maybe, get a piece of the action. This was short-lived though. Soon, the little groups merged, bought each other out, and things were back to square one: few entities to rule them all.
The booking industry is the perfect example. Out of the millions of hotels, car rentals, B&Bs worldwide, how many actually escape the centralized booking platforms? Those platforms make far more profit than the hotels they promote.
808 Labs, the disruptive startup
808 Labs, a French startup launched last January wants to disrupt the whole booking process. And not just for hotels or cars but for anything you can book: tennis court, appointements or even a CT scanner. Hervé Hababou and Vidal Chriqui have been working for a year on an open protocol that enables smart contract-based bookings: the BTU protocol (Booking Token Unit). And it relies on blockchain.
Taking from platforms and big groups to give back to all
Ok, not a day goes by without hearing about the blockchain-bitcoin thingy but what does that have to do with booking?
Blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger that is updated and checked through peer-to-peer. It protects users from fraudulent use: past entries cannot be modified.
This means that third partiesmaking all the money are no longer necessary. Exit booking platforms, welcome Robin Hood.
ICO in progress
808 Labs designed the open protocol named ERC-808 and makes it available. It will not, however design apps to use the protocol. It’s up to each and everyone to make use of it according to their needs. This decentralized reservation protocol will require tokens. They are currently on sale; an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is underway. But a system of rewards exists to promote proper use: dedicated users get tokens back.
The 808 Labs Team
The team now counts 5 members, including the two founders. But the team is going to drastically expand before the year is over with 20 more members. Keep an eye out on opening positions if Fintech and blockchain are your game.
Enter AMF Unicorn
AMF is the Authority of Financial Markets (Autorité des marchés financiers) and has taken a keen interest in ICOs. Unfortunately, this is volatile market for better and for worse . AMF has launched a program called UNICORN to support companies launching ICOs and work on regulations. Fundings using ICO are colossal but escape rules even if they mean to protect the user.
808 Labs have worked with Ethereum Foundation to secure a standardized protocol, protecting all parties.
ICOs and blockchain in general raises another concern (hope?): the possibility of a new definition of economy altogether. Tokenomics study this disruptive potential as we see it occur right before our eyes; not quite knowing where it will lead.
Disrupt it all
Hervé knows where it leads. 808 Labs wants to upset the current set of values and impact the concrete economy. The goal is to sell 20M€ worth of tokens before mid-year. And seeing the rate at which the tokens go, it seems quite a realistic goal. Should the booking giants start to shake?