Binance-backed booking site Travala.com is launching Dtravel, a decentralized vacation rental service that gives homeowners a stake in the platform.
Unlike the setup on a centralized platform such as Airbnb, Dtravel homeowners and house guests share a joint ownership of the platform. Dtravel is community owned through the Dtravel DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), in which peer-to-peer communication and voting are core to the effort. The TRVL token will be the main conduit.
“It really comes down to trust, and this is what we see with blockchain. You can guarantee trust on a level you would never be able to on a centralized platform,” Travala CEO Juan Otero said.
The DAO model allows hosts and guests to vote on issues that include everything from last-minute cancellations to how community treasuries are spent.
Over the past year, COVID-19 has challenged booking companies, which have taken away funds from hosts. With a return to travel, a decentralized platform like Dtravel has the potential to have a global reach, Otero said.
It’s not the first crypto project to attempt this business modeal. Former Uber employees started the Airbnb-esque Bee Token project, but they struggled to find users before they shut down the platform.
Otero said recent developments in blockchain technology and usage could give Dtravel a better fate.
The company plans to incentivize use of cryptocurrency across the platform by enabling the first 100,000 hosts to list their homes on Dtravel to collectively earn more than $35 million in TRVL coins.
Travala.com has more than 3 million listings of homes and hotels and more than 200,000 monthly users, Otero said. The platform offers more than 30 methods of payment, though 70% of users pay with cryptocurrencies.
Dtravel is based on the Binance Smart Chain. Over the past past five months, it has raised $5 million in funds from Kenetic Capital, Future Perfect Ventures, DHVC, Plutus. VC, GBV Capital, AU21 Capital, Shima Capital, LD Capital and NGC Ventures, as well as from a handful of private investors.