Helbiz is a new cryptocurrency project that is squarely aimed at the peer to peer rental market for vehicles. Why so specific? Well, mostly because the industry has some very specific needs and requirements, which the team believes they can solve with the help of smart contracts and their own native crypto-token.
There are many specific needs for this industry. Take the regular car rental market, for example. In the developed world, one of the big issues with making this market peer to peer is the issue of insurance. In short, who’s responsible for the insurance and how do you ensure adequate support? What kinds of insurance policies should the buyer have and what kind of insurance policies should the renter have? If the car is wrecked, whose insurance policy should cover that event?
Then there is the issue of registration itself. How do you ensure the proper registration, and how do you ensure that the owner is able to list their vehicle? How do the renters find potential cars to rent that also fall within their parameters?
Then there’s the issue of reputation. How do you kick bad actors off your network? How do you ensure a fair and transparent system in place that everyone can see an audit?
All these and more can be solved with the help of Helbiz’s project. It is built on Ethereum and utilizes the underlying technology for smart contracts. It also uses its own HBZ token, an ERC20 token built on top of Ethereum.
The HBZ token is used to solve for any economic incentivization problems in a decentralized network, to ensure good behavior from the participants. This is crucial since this is a peer to peer marketplace which means there is no central hotline number to call when things may go wrong, so you want to make sure your network is robust enough to sustain against any potential attack vectors. And as Bitcoin has shown us, economic incentives work wonders when you’re trying to secure a network from bad actors.
Beyond cars, however, the Helbiz network has its fingers in a whole swathe of vehicles, from bicycles to boats, from bikes to airplanes! That’s a huge variety already, which will help the project grow and attract new customers in the ongoing months. Once there is enough variety, it can become the go-to place for rentals for many people in different geographies. It is all about the network effects, after all.
Helbiz itself is creating a completely open and decentralized network. It will use Ethereum’s smart contracts to create listing contracts that can then be ‘bought’ by renters. You don’t even need to be present to rent your car – the keys, ignition, etc. are all automated through their technology platform that verifies a transaction on the Ethereum network first before giving the renters access to the vehicle. All this presents some interesting use cases for both renters and owners who want to rent their vehicle out.
There is also the optional data play with Helbiz – if the renter wants to share data as they use the vehicle, they can get paid in HBZ tokens. This data can then be sold to third-parties like insurance companies that value this type of data. Therefore the network already has more than one way to monetize their system, and hopefully even more new and novel ways in the future.
If you’re interested to learn more, check out the Helbiz website and the Helbiz whitepaper.
Photo Credit: junaidrao