The apps, books, movies, music, TV shows, and art are inspiring our some of the most creative people in business this month The struggles and triumphs of prominent women in leadership positions The major tech ecosystems that battle for our attention and dollars What’s next for hardware, software, and services Our annual guide to the businesses that matter the most Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine–even an entirely new economic system Celebrating the best ideas in business An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company’s distinctive lens Instead of a centralized system of exchange, where sharing economy companies stand in the middle of transactions, blockchains open up a world where interactions are automated and the power of the network is distributed to users. That lowers transaction costs (and perhaps prices) and creates a communication system more akin to email or the web.

Rather than sending orders to a company that then finds customers for them–like when you search for house in Paris on Airbnb and it finds a suitable place–on a blockchain-based network, the matching is done using protocols that route orders automatically. The other big difference compared to Airbnb: while the former charges hosts 15% on every transaction on its platform, with Bee Token, hosts will pay no fees to rent out their rooms. The platform, which is soft-launching in the next three weeks, plans to make money from licensing its technology to other startups, and by charging fees of 1%-2% if users choose to pay for rooms using bitcoin or ether instead of buying tokens.

(Token systems incentivize users to buy into their currency to push up its value.) The big question is whether a decentralized ledger can substitute for the role Airbnb plays in bringing hosts and guests together. Bee Token wants to move to a fully automated system, where smart contracts–legal arrangements written into code–stand in for the role that Airbnb plays with its conventional website.

But that seems like a tough job. Airbnb has developed a sophisticated matching algorithm, a loyal base of homeowners and users, and it serves to resolve disputes when they arise.

Though it encourages members to manage their own squabbles, its managers will, if asked, step in to collect information from both parties and find a compromise. “A lot of the hosts say they want to [operate with] crypto and they like catering to a community that is more crypto focused,” Chou says. Read more from…

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