Blockchain has been one of the most talked about concepts of 2018 - not least in travel, where its development is touted by some as the future of distribution and security.
While the value of bitcoin has fluctuated wildly from a high of more than $19,000 one year ago to around $3,700 today, the framework underlying this and other cryptocurrencies has been on a more stable – and upward – trajectory.
Companies such as American Express, J.P. Morgan, the United Nations Development Programme and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investing time and resources to develop blockchain-based products, services and operational processes, lured by its promises of consensus, immutability, speed and decentralization.
While companies including IBM, Travelport, SITA and Tui Group are actively exploring blockchain, much of the work in travel is being done by younger businesses, initiatives built from the ground up with blockchain at their core.
Fourteen companies developing blockchain solutions for travel have provided their description s of the product they are developing, noteworthy activity in 2018 and priorities for the coming year.
Date launched: January 2018
Purpose: To foster innovation in the hospitality industry by creating technology that allows travel companies to exchange data and transact in a more direct, efficient and transparent way. The Arise network relies on blockchain technology to build a distributed cache of hotel room and rate information that all connected systems can use at the same time. Hotels set the commission rate they're willing to pay for a booking along with their nightly rates. Any service can choose to sell that hotel's rooms and earn the set commission amount. We use smart contracts on our network to automatically handle commission payouts, giving both parties the confidence to work together without signing a traditional contract.
2018 highlights: Built and load-tested our distributed ledger technology used by our partners to create their own distribution networks; launched a distributed central reservation system application that can be deployed on our networks; planned proofs of concept for 2019; raised a pre-seed with institutional investors.
2019 priorities: Run successful proofs of concept and gain traction as a more flexible, transparent and robust, peer-to-peer connectivity solution for industry players that are already doing business directly with each other but have been relying on existing intermediaries for connectivity.
Date launched: July 2018
Purpose: To create a travel DApp (decentralized application) that connect all consumers and suppliers in the travel industry to a decentralized marketplace that incentivizes content creation, transactions and consent-based data-sharing. Atlas provides a commission-free infrastructure for suppliers to list inventory and for customers to complete accommodation bookings, restaurant reservations or tickets for events. The team behind Atlas also created Zanadu, a Chinese luxury travel platform.
2018 highlights: Investment and blockchain partnerships with Ontology Network, a distributed trust network, and Kakao Klaytn, a South Korean messaging firm; angel round funding.
2019 priorities: Create exchange listing and the launch of Atlas DApp in in the first half of the year, enabling user reviews and accommodation bookings. Many of Zanadu’s partners are keen to be part of the Atlas blockchain venture, and we will announce the names and details of the partnerships as we finalize them over the next few months.
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