Blockchain startups are opening new frontiers in the world of travel

The blockchain technology has been digitalized for only nine years and has already taken the world’s economic standards and shook them from the ground up. Whereas previously a financial system without a middleman couldn’t be imagined, now we get to enjoy blockchain-powered systems enabling more secure, decentralized and cost-effective ways of exchanging value and goods. While Bitcoin and Ethereum have brought about changes that span the entire economic world, there are plenty of cryptocurrencies out there that are focused on a single market branch or a small but profitable niche.

One such market branch is the world of traveling. The worlds travel industry has been cited as reaching 7.6 trillion dollars in turnover last year, with online traveling section amounting to 564 billion. With the rate of traveling expected to rise to 1.8 billion people a year who will legally cross international borders by 2030, there are still some glaring issues that need to be fixed. Besides the usual problems that come with visiting a foreign country that has no familiar people you can talk to and get help from, traveling is infamous for financial hardships and issues that come with the country not supporting your local means of payment. The following cryptocurrencies are looking to introduce blockchain technology into the world of traveling, which should create a better experience for everyone involved.

MeetnGreetMe

MeetnGreetMe

A major issue when traveling abroad is not knowing how to “get around”. Travelers usually want a perfect trip that will satisfy their needs and interests, but it is difficult to plan such a trip without prior deep knowledge of the local culture, venues and opportunities for a good time.

MeetnGreetMe is a global platform that connects international travelers with local people who offer concierge services and lifestyle management. It offers its customers the chance to connect with verified local guides who will serve as personal assistants and help them have the best travel experience as possible. Their list of services spans many issues that can concern a traveler and includes arrival/staying, entertainment, food, business matters, health and day to day issues like buying flowers.

The principle of using MeetnGreetMe is simple: You choose a city, hire a MeetnGreeter (a verified concierge) and arrange the details of your trip with his help. Such system can use a universal in-house payment method which ensures that both concierge is fairly rewarded for his services and that the traveler isn’t ripped off by international fiat rates. MeetnGreetMe realized that creating a cryptocurrency will offer exactly that, which will make it a first peer2peer travel-related platform that utilizes the advantages of blockchain and crypto.

The platform coin, an ERC-20 token appropriately named WelcomeCoin, has an ongoing ICO which started on March 27, 2018. The funds collected will be split accordingly into efforts related to platform development and marketing. WEL will be used both as the payment method of the platform and as a rewarding tool for long-standing community members.

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Sandblock

Sandblock

Another contentious issue in the travel industry are its gifting and loyality programs. Major travel companies offer things like frequent fliers points and awards for good, loyal customers. While these can be useful to someone who flies often, they don’t really benefit the average person who takes a few trips a year at most. These loyalty programs often times are somewhat complicated to take advantage of as users are forced to go through complex procedures before they can claim their rewards.

Most people are fed up with these services as they don’t really improve their customer experience, meaning that they will not be motivated by these programs to become a recurring customer. As a result, the companies are investing more money into market research, trying to read the desires and wishes of their customers. While this can eventually improve customer experience, the process is annoying and often times requires handing out sensitive data about yourself, making people even less inclined to use a company’s services. With the way gift/loyalty system is currently set up, everybody involved is losing.

Sandblock wants to come in and improve on this by becoming the first decentralized customer satisfaction network. Through the Sandblock blockchain platform, travel companies (and other brands) can create their own loyalty tokens. These tokens will be crypto assets stored on an accompanying blockchain and will offer liquidity and practicality that no travel voucher or similar outdated rewarding method could. Ethereum platform and its smart contract technology will be used to verify the authenticity of the tokens.

Each business creates its own branded token on top of the Satisfaction token (SAT) and can give it as a reward to its customers for their loyalty, feedback or engagement. Businesses will reward these tokens to the deserving and loyal community members. The users can even fill out surveys for which they will be rewarded in the platform tokens. Each rewarded customer will be viewed as an ambassador, as he can exchange/trade these tokens with other people all over the world and thus increase the popularity of created tokens. There are benefits for businesses as well, as by joining the ecosystem they are given access to tons of analytics about their customers across all involved brands.

It is important to note that the brand (merchant) tokens will be pegged to the SAT token in a 1:1 ratio. You will have to exchange a merchant token for SAT in order to get other merchant tokens. SAT is an ERC-20 token and Sandblock will hold an ICO for it on April 25, 2018.

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TripBit

TripBit

The issue of travel industry predominately operating through fiat currency is real, as it results in an array of problems including extortionate foreign exchange rates, transaction delays, and double bookings. A single currency would be the perfect solution for these problems.

TripBit wants to do exactly that, introduce a single cryptocurrency that will bring about efficiency, low fees, instantaneous transactions, and trust to the Travel & Tourism industry. TripBit will create an ‘All-In-One’ solution by integrating three core businesses – Flights, Hotels, and Events, into a single platform running on blockchain technology. By integrating Flights, Hotels, and Events services into a single platform, travellers will be able to easily and efficiently find the perfect travel deals for themselves. Tripbit also plans on expanding its services with tour, itineraries, airport pick-up and delivery, and car rental at the top of their list.

TripBit will also create a Dapp that will run in the Ethereum’s Virtual Machine. This Dapp will be a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) marketplace to facilitate the decentralized transaction of tickets related to travel (i.e. events, tourism, etc.). The purpose of this platform is to empower ticket owners and purchasers by allowing them to resell and purchase discounted tickets with no intermediaries.

The TripBit platform will be powered by the TBT coin, which will be an ERC-20 standard token. TripBit recognizes that not everyone owns cryptocurrency and in recognition of this, they will cater to both cryptocurrency and fiat payment options, maximizing its target market and revenue streams. All major currencies will be supported on TripBit, including TripBit Tokens (TBT), Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and fiat (USD, AUD, EUR, GBP, etc).

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UbiatarPlay

UbiatarPlay

Imagine having an important function to attend, but also having an important business meeting at the same time. Imagine wanting to go to your favorite team’s basketball game but you are stuck at home, taking care of a sick loved one. Many people have had the misfortune of wanting to be at two places at the same time, but simple laws of physics sadly don’t allow for this to happen.

UbiatarPlay makes this happen for you. The product name is a play on “ubiquity” (ability to instantly transfer somewhere else) and “avatar”. They offer an augmented reality app, which offers you an opportunity to hire people as avatars to attend the other event you choose not to go to personally. Clearly such technology can be useful to people looking to “visit” foreign countries but don’t have time to actually do it.

The starting point of their technology is a normal smartphone held by a local individual (the Avatar); everything that is seen and heard by the Avatar is sent over the network to the Person at home (Usar) that in turn directs the Avatar so that he/she acts as his/her remote body. The directions are given with a revolutionary GUI (Graphical User Interface) superimposed over the live video stream. Avatars and Usars will meet on the UbiatarPlay marketplace.

Ubiatar coins will be used to “support the exchange of value between peers all over the world”. It will allow usars to compensate the avatars for their service, in accordance to the arranged fees.  According to icoengine, the ICO of the UAC token will be held at the beginning of May 2018, with a goal of 6850 ETH. Ubiatar is definitely one of the more interesting business and ICO ideas out there.

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Winding Tree

Winding Tree

Today’s travel industry is highly concentrated on the distribution front due to core inefficiencies of the internet. The need of a trusted party on the internet allowed intermediaries to concentrate the sector and raise the barrier of entry for new startups. This resulted in rise of companies such as MakeMyTrip and Expedia, whose oligopolistic control over the booking markets and exorbitant fees are very customer unfriendly. They are also prone to taking money from certain travel companies and agencies and promoting them over an objectively better service that doesn’t pay to play.

Winding Tree looks to bring about a decentralized open-source travel distribution platform. The lack of centralized control means that there are no middleman fees and no barriers for entry. Their technology can be used by any online travel portal. The blockchain governs the entire travel booking ecosystem and transaction fees are dramatically reduced. The only fees that are being charged are related to the mining of the platform’s coin.

With Winding Tree anyone can access a travel service supplier’s inventory and choose the product they want, without having some centralized middleman hand-pick what they might like. The travel industry seems particularly poised for a decentralized marketplace as the suppliers are experts in what the blockchain cannot provide: customer service and arbitration.

Platform’s token is called Líf token. It is an ERC-20 token fully taking advantage of Ethereums smart contract capabilities. This brings extra value and use cases to the token, allowing companies to design more complex and tailored applications on the WT platform. It’s application in settling the costs between the parties on Winding Tree should bring about reduced prices and on time payments. An ICO was recently held during which 16.278 ETH was raised with over 7000 investors contributing. A total of 24.976.541,45 Lifs was generated, with 75% going to backers and the rest being saved for project development.

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HireGO

People are less and less interested in buying cars. The gas prices are rising, the environment is suffering and driving itself can be very stressful, especially on those daily commutes to work and back. Instead, in a world where people still want to travel quickly from place to place, rent-a-cars and companies like Uber, Lyft, ZoomCar in India are gaining popularity. The main issue here is that these are centralized services that charge over 30% in commissions for what they are doing.

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HireGo aims to change that. It provides a decentralized car hire and sharing platform for individuals and businesses. With the use of blockchain they can reduce transaction costs and reduce the chance of someone getting defrauded. Thanks to the smart contracts technology, a seamless user experience and full satisfaction with the service is ensured. The platform is also IoT ready as it allows you to order your vehicle without any human interaction required.

This service will be paid for in native HGO tokens. They are Ethereum based tokens which will become available in

 

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