Airbnb's IPO Prospectus Says Firm May Consider Crypto and Blockchain

The prospectus for Airbnb's IPO says its "future success" will depend on the rentals firm adapting to technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Nov 17, 2020 at 2:54 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:31 a.m. UTC

Airbnb may have had a change of heart on cryptocurrencies, according to the prospectus for its planned initial public offering (IPO).

Filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, the prospectus says the company's "future success will ... depend on our ability to adapt to emerging technologies such as tokenization, cryptocurrencies [and] new authentication technologies."

It further lists distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, as well as biometrics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and cloud technologies, as being possibly key at a future time.

While the information is provided in the "Risk Factors" section of the document, it also says that:

"As a result, we intend to continue to spend significant resources maintaining, developing, and enhancing our technologies and platform. However, these efforts may be more costly than expected and may not be successful."

Airbnb has previously said it has no plans to start accepting bitcoin as a means of payment, though that came after the company acquired the team at crypto-tipping service ChangeTip back in 2016.

If the housing rentals giant should make an announcement about cryptocurrencies, it would send a new shockwave through the industry and further afield. That happened when PayPal, after years of speculation, announced a cryptocurrency buying service last month.

For the IPO, Airbnb is planning trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market with the ticker symbol “ABNB.” Reuters has indicated it plans to raise around $3 billion in the offering, valuing the company at over $30 billion.

The firm disclosed in the prospectus that it managed to turn a profit in Q3 2020, despite being hit by restrictions brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some decentralized projects have set out with aims of rivaling Airbnb using blockchain technology, but none have seen a major success to date.


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