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Token facts: BEE, ERC-20 utility token, 500 million tokens issued in total, priced $0.14 per unit.
ICO facts: Scheduled from Jan 31st to Feb 19th, closed after raising the $5 M target hard cap. The project raised a total of $15 M.
In a nutshell: A decentralized, commission free, peer-to-peer home sharing platform built on the Ethereum Blockchain.
Editor’s Notes and Disclosure: The author holds no business stakes or dividends at the startup. This article is an informative one. Both the author and Decentral Magazine encourage our readers to seek advice from a financial advisor and do their due diligence before considering any investment.
Not long ago, it would have seemed unimaginable that millions of people would welcome strangers to rent their own bedrooms, hail their private cars for a ride across town, or enter their homes to do odd jobs like assemble a baby’s crib or walk the dog.
But platform-based companies like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit are reinventing how we get work and how work gets done. Along the way, how we relate to each other is being reinvented, too.
As a matter of fact, Rachel Botsman, an expert in the field of collaborative economy estimates that the consumer p2p rental market alone is worth $26 billion. That’s more than 4 times the GDP of Monaco. It’s big money, ipso facto, an arena for innovation. It’s the way to remind us that brilliant prevails, and brilliant is the way to go.
With the promise of decentralization put forth by the disruptive Blockchain, innovation just set foot in the collaborative economy from the BEE gate. Meet Bee Token, the early stage blockchain startup that intends to apply the blockchain model for short-term rentals. In other words, it aims to become the decentralized blockchain-based Airbnb. Let’s start with s short introductory video:
Source: Bee Token Youtube Channel
A Dip Into Sharing Economy
In order to properly understand Bee Token’s innovative approach, it’s paramount to get a full grasp of what “Sharing Economy” is. Broader examples of the latter include peer-to-peer lending (although cash is hardly a spare fixed asset) or selling your excess solar power production from your rooftop to the utility grid. And it is not just individuals: the web eases the path for companies to rent out spare offices and idle machines as well. Yet, the core of the sharing economy is people renting things from one another.
And its major drawback is that the hanging fruit goes directly to a handful of VC capitalists and early investors. I myself experienced working for Wag (a dog walking Uber-like Los Angeles based startup that is yet to release my last paycheck!) and can’t help but relate. Injustice merely drives innovation (and seldom violence, but that’s a different story) and Bee Token is the blockchain fix to bitterly centralized Airbnb. Here’s a closer look.
A “Commission Free” Alternative
Back to the Airbnb lead, the company charges a host service fee of 3% and a guest service fee of up to 15%. A platform like Upwork charges a flat software fee of 20%, not to mention the IRS bugging you for the rest of your life. In the proposed Beenest Ecosystem, these fees will be greatly reduced. The fees proposed are 0% commission using BEE tokens, 1% commission if you chose BTC or ERC20 tokens as a payment alternative and 3.99% commission for fiat currencies.
The main value proposition of Bee Token is indeed centered around the lowest of fees. Success hangs tight to a wider public acceptance, and Bee Token seems to understand that. It’s a win-win by all means. It’s an offer no one can refuse.
The Beenest Ecosystem
The Beenest ecosystem is built on the Ethereum platform. Its foundations are its ‘Bee Protocols’ and the Bee Token. There are currently three main Bee Protocols:
- The Payment Protocol
This is the core protocol at the heart of the ecosystem. Both hosts and guests trade Bee Tokens that are locked into a smart contract. If the booking contract goes as planned, the tokens are released to the appropriate addresses. On the other hand, If things don’t go according to the plan, we move o the arbitration protocol.
- The Arbitration Protocol
This is Bee Token’s solution to the disputes that arise between hosts and guests, usually from damages. The way the arbitration protocol works is as so:
- A host-guest dispute is escalated to arbitration.
- Arbitration begins, and the original payment contract funds are sent to arbitration. An additional flat arbitration fee must also be paid to create the arbitration contract.
- A pool of at least five arbiters is chosen to preside over this dispute (arbiters must stake tokens to participate in the arbitration network).
- Arbiters deliver the final verdict. If the verdict is not delivered within a specified time limit, they lose their staked tokens.
- Arbiters can then split the payment contract between the host and guest 0/100, 25/75, 50/50, 75/25, or 100/0. The final verdict is the median dispute amount of all the arbiters’ votes.
- Assuming the verdict was delivered on time, arbiters get paid, and their staked tokens go back into the arbitration pool.
- If either party is not satisfied with the decision, they can appeal. However, they will have to stake double the original amount.
The staking requirement is to prevent frivolous disputes. And while arbiters themselves will be paid as long as the verdict is delivered on time, the rate of appeals can affect an arbiter’s reputation and his or her chances of being selected again. The other arbiter selection factor is the number of tokens staked into the arbitration pool.
The protocol used for handling an arbiter’s reputation, among other things is the reputation pool.
- The Reputation Protocol
All entities in the Beenest ecosystem will have a reputation score, safely stored on the Ethereum Blockchain. This score will also be accessible to everyone in the ecosystem. Reputation scores will directly affect the listing order on the interface.
- The Bee Token
The Bee Token is an ERC20 token that will fuel the Beenest ecosystem. The idea is that as the Beenest ecosystem takes off and transaction volume increases, more tokens will be staked. As the number of staked tokens go up, the circulating supply of Bee tokens goes down to support its value.
The Whitepaper isn’t the best out there but it’s professionally presented and makes for a good instructive read. Something that caught my attention though is the token allocation/distribution pictured below.
If you think of utility tokens as donations for a prototype that is yet to exist, I think that allocating 30% only of the tokens might rise more than one eyebrow. Nevertheless, with 55% of tokens held as a reserve, it’s clear that the company will not rely on speculation to boost its token value. But in the deregulated market that is crypto, there is no right or wrong I suppose. Let’s loook atthe allocation scheme pie chart.
95% of the astonishing $15 M collected will be allocated to building, marketing and scaling the startup. It’s obviously an easier way around Silicon Valley’s VC-death-valley. Seeing millions of dollars flying around is unprecedented in the financing word of startups, and this is another living proof that a great amount of power lies where we think it does – the masses.
The team, pictured below, is led by CEO Jonathan Chou (Co-Founder, former Uber lead). There is also Tony Tran (Co-founder & CTO) coming from Uber as well, Jordan Ong, product specialist with a former engineering experience at Facebook, and Ali Ayyash, a junior lead engineer formerly employed by Google. It’s not your average ICO where a sketchy team of geeks is tired of daily-trading Tron and thaught an ICO might work better. This is a typical Silicon Valley startup, and a serious one.
Milestones & Road Ahead
Right now, the Bee Token project is still in an early alpha stage. The only thing it has at this point is the aforementioned whitepaper. The next milestone to look out for will be for Beenest Alpha to go live in San Francisco and for the Bee Protocols to launch on Testnet. The target for this milestone is by the second quarter of 2018. In 2019, the Bee Token aims to have expanded its platform to five American cities.
Based on their roadmap picture below, the team appears to be quite conservative. Ultimately, this might mean the project may scale slowly. On the other, the chances of actually achieving these milestones will be far better.
Our Final Verdict
Most people think of entrepreneurship as having a great idea. The ubiquity of this general understanding makes us elude the essence of what entrepreneurship is. It’s undertaking, it happens on the field, where ideas flow like the Coffe Americano to the Silicon Valley startups. Hence, I don’t think Bee Token will succeed or fail based on the idea or the promise. It’s more complicated than that. And although the team seems young and lacks seniority, it’s still as relevant and capable as they come. The advisors and the relevant background makes up for seniority, and the will and enthusiasm make up for acute expertise. With that being said, I see Bee Token steadily creeping towards a leading shared economy position. It’s a tough competition out there, but Bee Token came well prepared.