Education, Research

Enabling the Sharing Economy: What can Blockchain contribute to online Home-sharing platforms?

September 18, 2019

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Hamza Amarouche, Media Management MA student, Department of Culture and Media, Arcada UAS

Supervisor: Dr. Mats Nylund     Examiner: Tomas Träskman

 

My Master thesis explores the home-sharing marketplace as one significant phenomena of sharing economy. During the last ten years, digital platforms have become an innovative model adopted by society at a rapid pace. Nowadays, this industry is facing challenges after the emergence of Blockchain technology and the evolution of decentralisation. To examine this phenomenon, I tackled three pivotal concerns in my MA study. Firstly, I sorted out the challenges that centralised home-sharing platforms are currently facing, such as the middleman issue and monopoly of managers, data security, lack of trust, regulations and abuse by tenants/hosts. Secondly, I identified the perspectives of Blockchain for home-sharing platforms. Thirdly, I examined the issues of decentralisation in the industry and what Blockchain holds for the future of sharing economy.

This thesis aims at highlighting the new business model of home-sharing platforms considering the advantages offered by Blockchain and its prospects for the future of the sharing economy sector. The findings of my research proved that the transparent role of Blockchain is efficiently bringing solutions and developing more trust. Some challenges in decentralisation are still to be fixed, and this will increase the competition among the Blockchain home-sharing platforms.

This research was designed with qualitative structured interviews involving participants from different countries. To address the topic from several perspectives, I included participants who represent decentralised platforms and others who are serving as Blockchain experts in several industries. The answers presented a close overview of how decentralised platforms approach peer-to-peer trust, distributed databases, commission fees, Blockchain networking services, leveraging data security, smart contracts and the detection of fake inventory.

The findings provided promising prospects about the implementation of Blockchain in the home-sharing industry. They also presented a positive glimpse of how decentralisation will affect home-sharing platforms by taking into account possible issues that may occur in the future. This allowed more profound insights into Blockchain from the marketing, media and socio-cultural viewpoints. As such, the content of the study frames fundamental research material for relevant future studies.

The significance of my thesis falls firmly within the scope of the Media Management programme, as it addresses a multidisciplinary field on global scale topics from different corners of the world. The sharing economy, the home-sharing marketplace, blockchain technology and decentralisation constitute pivotal interests for the media field.

Being a journalist, author and having served in different roles in the field of culture and art, the process of conducting this research helped me in my professional development. During the theoretical process, I got reliable knowledge from a variety of fresh perspectives and this served empirically to develop my learning while conducting the interviews. As I am planning to build my experience in the future by examining and implementing Blockchain in the field of art and culture (cultural residencies for artists), my thesis provided me with the main steps to develop an innovative idea in the future.

 

Key readings:

Casey, M.J. & Vigna, P. (2018). The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything.

Published February 27th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press.

Gyódi, K. (2019). Airbnb in European cities: Business as usual or true sharing economy? Journal of Cleaner Production. Volume 221 (2019) Pages 536-551.

Faehnle, M., Immonen, H., Mäenpää, P., Nylund, M. & Träskman, T. (2016). Jakamistalous ja verotus: Eväitä yhteiskunnalliseen keskusteluun. Arcada Working Papers 4/2016. https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/140579/AWP_4_2016_Jakamistalous.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Iansiti, M. & R. Lakhani, K. (2017). The Truth About Blockchain. Harvard Business Review 95, no. 1 (January–February 2017): 118–127. https://enterprisersproject.com/sites/default/files/the_truth_about_blockchain.pdf

Murillo, D., Buckland, H. & Val, E. (2017). When the sharing economy becomes neoliberalism on steroids: Unravelling the controversies. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Volume 125 (2017), Pages 66-76.

Sundararajan, A. (2016b). The sharing economy. The end of employment and the rise of crowd-based capitalism. Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. USA.

 

The full thesis may be downloaded from Theseus.fi from September 2019.

Are you looking for tools to manage the rapidly changing media industry? Or do you find yourself in the media industry struggling to see the bigger picture? Learn more about our MA in Media Management here: https://www.arcada.fi/en/master/media-management