Accommodations marketplace Airbnb has completed an acquisition of most of the talent behind bitcoin startup ChangeTip. Before deciding to take over the development team of ChangeTip, Airbnb has been examining a number of other bitcoin and blockchain startups, according to two sources cited in a report by Quartz. Now left without most of its developers the firm is still looking for someone that will acquire its intellectual property.
ChangeTip allows social media users to express their appreciation with tips, which are transmitted as digital currency but expressed in one of ten fiat currencies. It seeks to make it quick and economically sensible to conduct microtransactions over the web, something which traditional fiat-based mechanisms generally do not allow. Users can package amounts in the form of commonly tipped items, such as a beer or coffee. In 2014, the “love button for the internet” raised $3.5 million in its latest funding round.
This is not the first time we learn that the top leaders at Airbnb are exploring utilizing blockchain technology. Last month Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb and its chief technology officer (CTO), gave an interview about his firm’s focus for 2016 where he suggested creating a distributed ledger for personal social reputation. What this means in practice is that companies such as Airbnb and Uber might allow users to rate other people based on their behavior in a shared blockchain so that before deciding what level of service to provide or if to offer you a job they can check a single information source.
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ChangeTip was well connected within the cryptocurrencies startup scene. Digital Currency Group, CryptoCurrency Partners, 500 Startups and others had an ownership stake in the firm and ChangeTip was also the first to partner with BitGo when it launched its proof-of-solvency tool.