Vacation Rentals on the Blockchain

 





Decentralized P2P Short-Term Rental Payment System

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What Makes Us Different?

Cheaper

Reduce transaction cost 2 or even 3 times comparing to other platforms like AirBnb and HomeAway.

Fairer

Get the power to decide what is right and what is wrong. Rely more on behavioral statistics rather than on tons of non constructive reviews.

Easier

Make cross border payments easy. Resolve disputes fast and make funds available immediately if you have to cancel reservation.

Safer

Nether party will loose most of their rent dedicated money because of chargebacks, misrepresentation or fraud.



About StayBit

StayBit is a decentralized peer-to-peer platform aiming to revolutionize booking-renting process in the 21st century. Our main focus is short term Vacation Rentals market segment formed by both individuals and small property management companies. StayBit platform provides a solution to safely transfer funds between tenants and landlords as well as to automatically mediate common conflicts through the use of smart contracts.


    Current Problems With Vacation Rentals Market

Nowadays short term Vacation Rentals market is dominated by several well-known platforms as booking.com, airbnb.com, flipkey.com, etc. who match landlords and tenants (hosts and guests) and take their cut from every transaction. Despite their popularity all today's players have some significant disadvantages: transaction cost may reach up to 20% of the total amount and involved parties suffer from centralized regulation. Platforms, which unlike airbnb.com, do not handle payments just suggest that involved parties settle payments themselves. Cross border payments may easily get blocked by financial institutions, not all means of payment are accepted, and there are still opportunities for fraud (chargebacks, bounced checks, etc.).


    StayBit Solution

We strongly believe that by applying a whole complex of measures, such as decentralization, moving transactions from fiat to crypto currency and introducing flexible escrow contracts executing within a blockchain we can:

  • Reduce transaction cost two or even three times of what it is now;
  • Give users more ability to decide what is right and what is wrong;
  • Make cross border payments easy;
  • Protect users from bad behavior and fraud.

We are looking into building a platform which will ultimately hide all intricacies of owning alternative crypto currency (ERC20 token), executing smart contracts, gas prices, etc. from the end user. By doing this we will make it appealing to prospective customers who are unfamiliar with crypto and we will be encouraging them to become active crypto users.


    StayBit Ecosystem

StayBit ecosystem will be built on public Ethereum network with some functionality still implemented with traditional off-chain technologies (SQL Databases, Web Servers etc.). All transactions will be done with ERC20 standart tokens. Key elements of StayBit infrastructure will be: a socially enabled listings website, automated escrow service, mobile apps for landlords and tenants with built in wallets – all of it aiming to make the whole process a breeze.


    Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

StayBit is excited to announce the release of alpha version of Minimal Viable Product (MVP) on the Ethereum Main Net. StayBit MVP requires any Web3 browser to run. MVP can be launched on iOS or Android mobile platform with Cipher browser installed.

StayBit MVP implements rental contracts with three different cancellation policies: Flexible, Moderate and Strict. Business Logic of these contracts mimics behavior of well known platforms such as AirBnb and VRBO , but on our system funds are distributed between parties within 30-60 seconds after request and there is no need to spend time dialing call centers in case of cancellations.

StayBit MVP automates trust between two parties involved in a transaction and gives them protection from fraud at much lower cost than todays platforms. This is the main answer to question "Why do we need Blockchain in Vacation Rentals"

StayBit MVP does not have functionality of a listing site yet, but it already has functionality of a payment processing and escrow service. User wallets are provided by Web3 browser, we do not request or store your private keys.




 

Documents

Whitepaper

Meet the Team

The team behind StayBit project has worked together and independently on many high-profile projects: Online Banking System, Internet Accelerator & Tools Suite, Data Leak Prevention System, Online Flight Reservation System, Interactive Television Applications for Olympics, Soccer World Cup, Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments. The end software products developed with the significant contribution by our team members are used by millions of people.

Project founders - Andrei Jagodin and Victor Yurchenko - have extensive expertise in the area of Software Design and Development, Project Management, Quality Assurance, Cryptography, Network Protocols and Database Management Systems. In our lives, we had a chance to be renters as well as landlords and we are familiar with both sides of this business. Our vision of modern IT technologies and the way it can be applied to our daily life, backed by our combined experience acquired during working in large corporate and startup environments - all of it will be a key factor to the success of the whole project.


Andrei Jagodin

Co-Founder & President

Victor Yurchenko, PhD

Co-Founder & CEO



Our Advisors

Edward
Borio

Founder and CEO at BlockBuyer.com

Francisco Salgado

Sr. Graphic Designer at AT&T Entertainment


Frequently Asked Questions

End users of the StayBit system will be enjoying great benefits of a low transaction cost, ability to easily list and book vacation rentals across any countries’ borders without the fear of blocking transaction by their bank or money transfer institution. People in developing countries who do not have credit cards or banking accounts will be able to use this system as well. Wide adoption of this system will definitely affect and even disrupt the existing vacation rentals markets on the global scale: more offers will be available; booking will be easier and safer; consumers will be able to afford better quality properties because of reduced transaction costs; and more consumers will be able to enter the market globally.
Typical fees charged for a transaction by current vacation rental platforms today range between 10-15% and in case when transaction is made across country borders and currency conversion fees is applied as well, fees may reach 20% or even higher. At StayBit we strongly believe that such revolutionary principles as decentralization and blockchain technology, when applied to the global market of vacation rentals, will easily help to bring transaction cost down to a half or one third of what it is now.
StayBit is a decentralized service connecting landlords and tenants built on top of Ethereum platform – a next generation implementation of the blockchain technology introduced in 2014 by Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood, and Jeffrey Wilcke. Key actors of the system are identified by their personal public keys and have their own wallets. The whole transaction based interaction between landlords and tenants takes place on the public Ethereum blockchain in the form of executing smart contracts. Smart contracts represent the main trading token – ERC20 token and escrow services.
Matching tenants to landlords will be done partially through the website operated by StayBit, although landlords will not be required to use only our particular website to advertise their listings. We are planning to make it beneficial to the users to stay on our website by adding social network features such as profiles, messaging, voting and reviewing. Users will be given ability to log on to our system with their existing Facebook profiles and create public keys representing themselves (single sign-on).
The minimum requirement from the landlord would be to have an Ethereum-compatible wallet, register their properties on StayBit platform and accept transactions with ERC20 token only. Advertising properties can be done on any websites and blogs: craigslist, classifieds, etc. The added value of our system versus simply using Bitcoin and Ether to pay landlords is that we are going to build an entire user-friendly infrastructure tailored to short term vacation rentals.
Currently there are dozens if not hundreds of platforms offering service to match tenants to vacation rental properties. The most prominent websites are homeaway.com, vrbo.com, flipkey.com, tripadvisor.com, airbnb.com, booking.com, etc. Building and promoting a merely just another website providing similar services will require tremendous efforts during user acquisition phase, since the market is saturated by the existing players. None of the platforms right now utilize cryptocurrencies and smart contract based escrow services in a decentralized way at the same time. Only small fraction of websites will allow tenants to pay in bitcoin only to convert payment in fiat money right away or transfer the full amount to the landlord. All market leaders right now sticking to centralized model, meaning they provide a lot of censorship, moderation, and dispute mediation and charge too much for a transaction made through their websites.

At present time anybody who will offer a more democratic, decentralized model while charging substantially less for a transaction will immediately get upper hand in terms of media attention and therefore in building their customer base. This is exactly where StayBit system is planning to find its market niche.
Unlike major hotel chains, single property owners have no established names and travelers rely only on ratings and reviews. Sites like expedia.com, yelp.com cannot verify whether users submit actual or paid fake reviews. There is always more risk of running into fraud or misrepresentation than compared to a hotel.

SOLUTION: Transactions recorded on the blockchain will be able to easily prove that reviewer who is posting a review was a real customer. We can even restrict reviews to be written by actual customers only. Payments will be done in ERC20 tokens via automated escrow accounts. Landlords will be able to see proof of funds, but funds will be released in phases, for example if traveler confirmed that they got access to the property and the property is exactly the same as advertised, etc. Landlords and tenants will be able to choose predefined escrow account types and slightly customize them through our website to better fit their needs. We will be able to show real stats for each property: how many total bookings were done, and out of that amount how many times tenants were happy, neutral, or unhappy.
All popular platforms today heavily rely on central regulation and restrictive policies. There are lots of complaints that listings get removed without an explanation, policies regarding cancellation set up by property owners get overridden by platform moderators.

SOLUTION: User-Powered Governance. Peer-2-Peer platform, which focuses on preventing outright fraud, duplicate identities, maintains transaction history and ratings for its actual end users is able to reach rate of trust comparable to centrally regulated platforms. Level of central moderation can be reduced by partially offsetting this responsibility and overhead to end users, giving them power to decide what is right and what is wrong.
Some platforms handle payments, like airbnb.com, but some do not. When platform handles payments then they charge additional fees ranging in 12-15% from the transaction amount. Not all methods of payment are accepted, but only the common ones: credit cards and PayPal. If a platform does not handle payments and if traveler goes to another country, then it may become real hassle: not all private property owners take credit cards, credit card transactions can be blocked, and cards themselves can be locked. And if a deal falls through both parties suffer: landlord loses unrealized income, and traveler has to quickly find a hotel to stay for a night.

SOLUTION: Cryptocurrency (ERC20 token). Payments made in cryptocurrencies are handled fast and cannot be blocked by any centralized authority such as bank, because the whole nature of blockchain is decentralized, without any single “owner” and there is no such obstacles as country borders.
There are bad landlords who misrepresent their properties: use false pictures from other properties, state false facts about square footage, number of rooms, bathrooms, accuse tenants for no reason in order to keep cleaning deposit, etc. There are even people who do not really own a property, but gain access to it illegally without the real owner’s consent and try to rent it out to multiple tenants, collect the money and run away with it. There are also bad renters who mess up properties, accuse landlords for no reason and chargeback their credit card transactions.

SOLUTION: Currently only the platforms who handle transactions and manage identities of landlords and tenants can efficiently fight this problem by centralized moderation and removing known bad actors from the system. We are planning to start using this approach right after the system’s initial deployment, however some decentralization efforts may be done after some period of time, such as introducing incentive based independent moderators.


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