Dtravel, a decentralized, blockchain-based alternative to Airbnb, is being developed with the support of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
The Travala.com-integrated service would provide hosts and guests with a decentralized platform for renting out rooms or homes, comparable to Airbnb’s main business. According to Juan Otero, co-founder and CEO of Travala.com, it will be totally managed by users holding the service’s TRVL token. On June 16, Dtravel will be available on Ethereum and the Binance Smart Chain.
“The key goal here is for Dtravel to focus solely on homes, and for the houses vertical to be incorporated on the Travala.com platform,” Otero explains. “Dtravel will be built to be a frictionless on-ramp into crypto, and it has the potential to become one of the world’s largest and most decentralized DAOs, as well as one of the best use cases for crypto, because travel is one of the best vehicles for crypto adoption, and everyone travels, especially as we move into the post-covid phase.”
Travala.com, which was founded in 2017, is a centralized booking platform that allows tourists to pay for rooms, flights, and activities using AVA, the company’s native token, as well as 40 other cryptocurrencies. It contains over 3 million listings — including flights, hotel accommodations, and activities — and earns over $1 million per week, with over 70% of that money paid in cryptocurrency.
Because the UK-based travel site does not provide homeshare accommodations, Travala views Dtravel as a supplement to its main offerings. Dtravel, according to Otero, is a separate business model that will work alongside the centralized portal.
Dtravel has raised $5 million in seed funding from Kenetic Capital, Future Perfect Ventures, DHVC, Plutus VC, GBV Capital, AU21 Capital, Shima Capital, LD Capital, and NGC Ventures, as well as a number of angel investors. Expedia, Airbnb, and other executives are leading the charge. In exchange for their money, the investors received tokens.
Dtravel’s costs will be lower than Airbnb’s, which range from 14 percent to 16 percent of the booking subtotal. Dtravel will collect a 7.5 percent fee, with 1.0 percent going to a protection fund that will cover hosts with insurance. The remaining 6.5 percent will be put into a community treasury, which will be used to pay developers to enhance the platform or offer user incentives based on the platform’s requirements, as determined by community vote.
The timing is ideal for the travel and tourism business, which is expected to boom as the global economy recovers. According to Statista, it contributed $9,258 billion to global GDP in 2019. In addition, the homesharing industry is expanding. With a market capitalization of $92.33 billion, Airbnb has surpassed the combined market capitalizations of multinational hotel giants Marriott ($46.53 billion) and Hilton ($35.56 billion). Juan Otero, co-founder and CEO of Travala.com, believes that travel might play a crucial role in enrolling the masses into the crypto business because of its enormous size and reach.
However, a few critical elements will determine the platform’s eventual success. Dtravel is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) (DAO). The company’s regulations are defined as code called smart contracts that operate on top of the blockchain, rather than depending on individuals to complete many of the duties. Holders of TRVL tokens will be able to participate in the company’s management. It must also find a method to flourish where past decentralized sharing economy alternatives have failed.
The health of Dtravel’s DAO and governance will be determined by having a fair and equitable distribution mechanism, as well as getting listings on prominent exchanges. Travala will not own any TRVL, according to Otero. When queried about the specifications of who will own how much TRVL, how it would launch, and when it will be issued, Dtravel gave early comments via a shared document, which were then deleted at Otero’s request.
In the sharing economy, privacy and security are also major concerns, and they are even more so in the crypto industry. As a result, Dtravel will have to figure out a method to safeguard both renters and hosts without being overbearing. When challenged about privacy, Otero stated that the platform will provide hosts and guests with verification check alternatives. Hosts, for example, will be required to verify that they already have a listing on a major home-sharing network and give proof of identity. Dtravel engineers are also working on a decentralized identification proof for guests, according to Forbes. Similar to Airbnb, the platform will have a review system for both hosts and guests.
While Dtravel is originally connected with Travala.com, token holders might vote to expand into hotel and flight booking to compete directly with the centralized site, or even vote to de-integrate entirely from Travala.com. Otero, on the other hand, does not believe this will happen.
“We are certain that the Dtravel community, which will include a significant portion of the Travala community, will always see the value in the Travala.com-Dtravel relationship,” Otero added.