Binance-backed booking site Travala.com is launching Dtravel, a decentralized vacation rental service that gives homeowners a stake in the platform.
Rather than 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,” said Travala CEO Juan Otero.
The DAO model allows for hosts and guests to vote on issues, everything from last-minute cancellations to how community treasuries are spent.
Over the past year, COVID-19 has challenged the role of 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 as much. The Uber alums behind the Airbnb-esque Bee Token project struggled to find users before quietly shutting down.
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 and the first 100,000 hosts to list their homes on Dtravel can collectively earn more than $35 million in TRVL coins.
Travala.com has over 3 million travel products and over 200,000 monthly users, Otero said. The platform currently offers over 30 payment methods, though 70% of users use cryptocurrencies.
Dtravel is based on the Binance Smart Chain. It raised $5 million in its seed round from Kenetic Capital, Future Perfect Ventures, DHVC, Plutus VC, GBV Capital, AU21 Capital, Shima Capital, LD Capital and NGC Ventures, as well a handful of angel investors.