Decentralizing the Travel Agent Business Model Using Crypto

Cool Cousin Crypto

The travel agent business model is a strange one for the newer millennial and Gen-Z audience. They are used to doing everything by themselves on the internet. Travel agents, to this generation, sounds really anarchic. Why would they need one?

Actually, there are many advantages of having a travel agent arrange your trip. They know more about the local on the ground conditions to where you’re traveling better than you. It is true that services like TripAdvisor and AirBnB are second nature to the younger generations. Still, in a new city, especially a new country, there are enough differences than someone more experienced than just reading words online can provide better on-the-ground intelligence towards local norms, traditions, and customs.

The newer generations then have a dilemma. They never really feel the need for a travel agent, since they are happy using the online tools that they have. However, it would still be nice to have the ability of a travel agent when it comes to on-ground intelligence.

Enter Cool Cousin

Cool Cousin is a new take on the travel agent market. Why go to a boring stodgy travel agent when you can find a cheery next door neighbor when you visit? That’s the premise of Cool Cousin. Instead of going to a brick and mortar agent and get charged a lot of fees, how about just connect people locally in the area with visitors? Thus the name – it is like having a cool cousin living in the city you visit!

The idea of Cool Cousin is a natural extension of the ‘sharing economy’ that became popular in the US and elsewhere after the financial crash of 2008-09. This period gave us companies like Airbnb and Uber that brought together two sides of a marketplace on a single platform. The users have complete freedom and flexibility of work, including whether to accept a gig or when to be available for one.

Peer to Peer Meets Crypto

Cool Cousin is already an app that is for the peer to peer economy, and is being used today. Therefore the company already has a big set of users that use the platform today for finding that perfect peer to peer travel agent on the ground in their travel market.

Imagine, however, how much move powerful this can be if it also incorporates a crypto token for payments. In fact, the token lets you do much more, and in a way ‘drives’ the users of the platform towards certain tasks. The token is also used to incentivize user behavior.

With the rise of crypto, it is only natural to see the ‘sharing’ economy mix with peer to peer currencies, i.e. cryptocurrencies. We are seeing a rise in number of tokens that facilitate such behavior and allow platforms to scale.

Cool Cousin is, in a nutshell, using crypto to advance the usage in the travel industry.

If you’re interested in learning more, make sure to check out the website and read the whitepaper. It also has a token sale, but please note that investing in token sales in extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest even a penny more than you can afford to lose.

Photo Credit: PictureKat

Blockchains, Sovereignty, and Bitnation

Since the very first days of Bitcoin being released to the world, a few people saw the fundamental potential of such a technology. To them, Bitcoin was less about just money and more about sovereignty, but in the context of money.

For almost a hundred years, money has been in the control of governments. Governments declare what is legal tender, and how you can pay your taxes, i.e. in fiat money ordained by the government. No longer was money the realm of free markets where traders, buyers, and sellers come to an agreement on how to transact. It was instead a tool of the government.

Bitcoin changed all that. For the first time ever, it was possible to create completely digital money that can be transferred between parties without a central intermediary sitting between the parties. This works even if the network is made up of distrusting parties – all parties will trust the ledger that is decentralized.

This already had profound implications for self-sovereignty in general. After all, the ability to trade and exchange value with other humans is so fundamental to our being and survival that it is hard not to say that he who controls this process of exchange wields an ungodly power over us. Bitcoin was created to reduce this centralized power.

The ideas that Bitcoin unleashed cannot be put back into the bottle. Bitcoin was just the beginning, with the decentralization of money. What if we could follow along these footsteps to remove other central powers of government? What if, in the ideal, there was an overarching voluntary network that did most of everything we use the government for? A decentralized nation state, so to speak.

Enter Bitnation. That’s exactly what the goals of this highly ambitious blockchain project are. In addition, as opposed to most other projects out there, the Bitnation project tries to keep as close as possible to the original decentralization roots of Bitcoin, which founded the whole space.

Bitnation aims to create a ‘decentralized national passport’ to begin with, by abiding by its constitution. To be clear, this doesn’t have any legal jurisdiction per se. The whole idea is to create a voluntary organization that people are free to join only if they agree with the goals and aims of the group. If not, they are free to abstain.

Dispute resolution is primarily handled through reputation inside the network as opposed to the legal system – again, a case of decentralization coming first as opposed to central institutions and organizations.

Is such an entity even possible? It is a very ambitious project, so we’ll need to wait and see how it develops. If you want to participate, there is a token sale going on. Check out the website and whitepaper. If you invest in the token sale, be absolutely sure you’re only putting in what you can afford to lose – token sales are highly risky and you can lose all your money.

XYO Network and Proof of Location

XYO Network

Blockchains are powerful self-contained economic systems that, by creating the right incentive structures, can make a set of distrusting parties come to a consensus. They are self-contained in that all the information that the participants come to an agreement towards, is all contained inside the blockchain. This keeps the system secure, but also limits its usage. For example, the Bitcoin blockchain doesn’t know about the outside world – say whether the S&P 500 is up or down for the day, or how the USD/JPY market is moving. It doesn’t even know a lot about its own market, i.e. the BTC network nodes don’t know, for example, the price of BTC/USD.

This secure but self-contained aspect of blockchains make their use limited when it comes to the real world. Bitcoin, for example, is only pitched as a store of value and means of payment, not beyond that. However, as we enter the 10th year of blockchains in the real world, we are seeing more and more projects try and tackle this problem of getting real-world information into the blockchain. The XYO Network may very well be one of the most ambitious projects out there.

Real World Location on Blockchain

The XYO Network creates a way to encode real-world information on to the blockchain, which can then be used by other applications. Since XYO is built on Ethereum, other Ethereum projects can use its specialized ‘Proof of Location’ protocol for their own purposes, by integrating with the XYO network.

Why is this important? Think about the implications for a moment. The blockchain, a decentralized and trustless economic machine, can now know about a person or thing’s location. This is powerful, in everything from in-person discounts to drones navigating their way in space by creating a microtransaction to other drones to get out of their way, so they can reach their destination faster.

The application potential of such a universal proof of location protocol are endless. Of course, like with any startup, there is a probability of failure, but the ideas behind a proof of location protocol on the blockchain are especially appealing and powerful.

Actually Deployed Beacons

There are several upcoming projects that are also working on a type of location on the blockchain. However, one thing that the XYO Network has going for it is that it already has a lot of deployed beacons in the wild. In the real world – today. This isn’t vaporware.

These beacons are the ones that measure and transmit the location of objects or people, and their deployment is going to be critical for such a project to succeed. In fact, the proof of location protocol that becomes the de-facto standard will be the one that is able to deploy the most number of beacons, because that’s what gives trust and real-world applicability as opposed to some theoretical musings alone.

The XYO network would actually work as a complement to existing GPS system that is so commonly used for navigation. It will also be more trustless than GPS, since it is on the blockchain and not controlled by one agent like the US government. This may not be a problem in most cases, but in the 1% cases where it is, XYO network can act as a supplement to GPS.

If you’re interested to learn more, check out the XYO network site and the whitepaper to learn more. Make sure you’ve read the documents very carefully if you’re considering investing in the token sale. Remember that investing in token sales is very risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you’re willing to lose in token sales.