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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Get ready - blockchain's about to disrupt the vehicle rental and sharing industry...



We've all been there before - whether you own a car and it's in the shop a couple days for repairs, or you live in a city with decent public transportation so you don't - but you're going on a road trip, and need to rent a car.

In the process of researching this piece, I see how greatly I underestimated exactly how big the car rental industry is, sure we see a multitude of options at every airport, but average people staying near home need to use a car for one thing or another way more often than you think - the industry pulled in over $28 billion in 2017!

An industry this size makes it the perfect target for some technical disruption - it's big, not much has changed in my lifetime with how it functions - maybe it's time to give it a second look, and see where there may be room to improve how the whole thing works.

That's exactly what Helbiz is doing, with a pretty bold plan.

Imagine this, you can either choose from the limited options of whatever car rental chain, get there to wait in line, and hope they still have the vehicle you reserved (they don't always do, something i've experienced on multiple occasions).

Or, imagine opening an app, selecting the car you want - your phone works as the key, you get in and drive off. Oh, and just a bonus, it'll even cost less.

"Helbiz is decentralizing the sharing economy, ensuring lower prices and higher earnings for all users" says founder Salvatore Paella.

Helbiz points out, the average persons vehicle is in use just 4% of the time, meaning the supply of cars that could be available on the P2P sharing platform are plenty.  While the idea of putting your car up for use by others may not appeal to everyone - consider this - if someone can choose to drive their personal car for Uber or Lyft, imagine the appeal of getting paid while your car is out and you get to relax at home.

They describe themselves as "AirBNB meets Uber meets Hertz", summing up their model as:

"Helbiz is the seamless blockchain child of AirBnB, Hertz and Uber. With full mobile control over any vehicle combined with blockchain technology, Helbiz is  revolutionizing the market. Blockchain technology authorizes the registration of all services provided through the platform and validates transactions between owners, operators, and external services automatically through a single payment system."

Their coin is multi-purpose as well, beyond vehical rental they plan to partner with leaders in other fields of transport - boats and even private jets.

The intital launch will focus on New York as their first market of operation, then begin to expland to other cities.

The Helbiz ICO begins Feb 15th, more info and their whitepaper can be found at https://www.helbizcoin.io

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Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk