LockChain.co, a booking marketplace based on the blockchain technology, has launched its alpha release. This platform allows to link travelers to hosts directly – no commission for booking or listing the property. The start of LockChain is ambitious: it offers around 600 integrated listings. The list of available accommodation options would significantly widen by the end of February 2018 as 100,000 hotels all over the world would be featured by LockChain.
Nikola Alexandrov, CEO and Founder of LockChain explained the principles of the project: “Booking.com and Airbnb.com charge on average 20% from each booking that is made through their platform. Our plan is to utilize advanced blockchain technology and to cut out any commissions. It is the right of the host to receive the full amount of the money for the investment that they are making, and it is certainly the right of the traveler to be able to pay directly to hosts for their travel experience.”
Main competitors of LockChain are the international giants like airbnb.com or booking.com. The fundamental difference between the companies is the policy on commissions. While popular services generate substantial profit from commissions, LockChain developed a free of charge marketplace. The technological background of the project includes usage of smart contracts for the booking process.
“Some commissions with current established travel providers can reach as high as 50%, which is unfair. Nobody wants to pay that kind of money to someone who is just a middleman and does not add value to the actual travel experience. Accommodation sector is in a bad need of transparency,” – Nikola Alexandrov said.
LockChain is still in development, but the Alpha release already provides users with lots of functional capabilities. Some of the general features are:
- profile management;
- personal LOC/ETH wallet linking to profile;
- real-time Multi-currency support (at the moment three currencies are available: GBP, USD , EUR);
- HTML5 Mobile Responsive design via React JS;
- integration with over 600 bookable properties.
The Marketplace Storefront has been created to provide better user experience.
The search for accommodation checks the availability and pricing in real time. At the moment the selection can be applied to countries, but with the development of the project it would be updated to provide city-based search. The service offer travelers a possibility to book accommodation up to 90 days ahead. LockChain uses the specific rate system which allows to optimize booking for flexible dates.
The price for the properties is set in fiat currencies; the price in LockChain tokens (LOC) is automatically calculated according to the current rate with the help of Coinmarketcap API.
The alpha release allows a host to get a notification on booking requests and change the status of property in accordance with the payment verification process. The communication process between traveler and host is now conducted via email, but the team of LockChain promises to release built-in user messenger soon.
The property already available via LockChain demonstrates the benefits of the service even though it is at an early stage. The prices offered by LockChain are about 18% lower than the ones of its rival Airbnb. The expansion with 100,000 hotels expected in February is supposed to attract more users.
LockChain had a successful company on LOC token sale. About 4,500 contributors invested 10,500 ETH during the ICO that ended in November 2017.
The company demonstrated balanced approach to the token sale, Nikola Alexandrov explained: “2018 will be all about delivery and actual service adoption/utilization. Many ICOs will fail because of the lack of immediate validation on their product which could be dangerous if it is combined with too much hype. I believe we have a sound approach in this regard since we aimed for a small ICO, and a solid practical business approach with immediate validation. If there is value in the market cap, it should be the result of a product and not of the FOMO effect. Tempted from high market caps, ICOs tend to create huge supply in tokens, which further puts those projects into danger as it artificially inflates their market caps.”
Four exchanges are now trading this cryptocurrency: HitBTC, Etherdelta, Mercatox and Gatecoin. The last one added LOC to its lists on January 17. The company issued 18.5 million of LOC, but only half of them supply the cryptocurrency at the moment. Nevertheless, the market capitalization of LOC is over $25M, according to the data from CoinMarketCap.