Exclusive: How Two French Entrepreneurs Want to Break the Monopoly Of Online Booking Platforms Thanks to the BlockchainApril 17, 2018
Experienced in blockchain software and cryptocurrencies, the founders, Vidal Chriqui, a graduate from the Ecole des Mines in Paris, and Hervé Hababou, an entrepreneur and computer engineer, have decided to break the existing monopoly of online booking platforms. The first step of the “Booking Token Unit (BTU) Protocol”, the first open source decentralized reservation protocol is the Token Generation Event that will generate 50M tokens to be sold, contributing to build a real community. And work towards a rebalancing of the market thanks to the blockchain.
Booking.com, Expedia … are online booking platforms particularly used by the French, wanting to book their vacations. Yet behind this “fast and efficient” service hides a slightly more nuanced reality. In this case, a large monopoly on the part of these platforms that impose their rules to hotels. “Every time I wanted to resort to Booking, for example, to book a hotel for my family who came to visit me, the hotel manager urged me not to use their services,” says Vidal Chriqui, one of the two founders of BTU Protocol (https://www.btu-protocol.com).
Indeed, according to the report of the European Commission which has worked on the subject, a great majority of hoteliers is tied to these international platforms. Platforms to which these tourism professionals are forced to pay increasing commission fees. “We are led to believe there is choice between web sites, but there is none” says Vidal Chriqui. “Our ambition is to put an end to this situation and create the conditions for a more virtuous market,” says BTU Protocol co-founder Hervé Hababou.
And to unfold the “battle plan”: “Booking is a platform that lists both the availability of hotels and also manages users. “Our objective is to split these two parts thanks to the blockchain which will thus be able to store the availabilities of the hotels in a clearer way”, explains the president of BTU Protocol. That way, the “inventory data”, becomes free and accessible to a greatest number of people and companies.
This means that everyone has the freedom to become, in a way, their own booking platform. From the simple “hands-on” blogger to the more accomplished developer. “We propose, to do this, a disruption kit that serves as a ‘shovel and pickaxe’ that will allow everyone to come and use this inventory.
There will be software for all profiles. If you are a developer and want to proceed with a more advanced integration, you will obviously be able to do so,” says Vidal Chriqui. This modus operandi of “wild democratization” will then make it possible to reshuffle the cards and break the monopoly of the aforementioned major intermediaries.
And especially to allow a more equitable remuneration of service providers, like the hotelier mentioned earlier.
“As a blockchain expert, it sounded obvious to me”
This is the wise remark of this hotel owner that has allowed Vidal Chriqui to refine this innovative and resolutely ambitious idea. “As a blockchain expert, it quickly made sense in my head,” remembers the one who saw the advent of Bitcoin as a revelation to the point of working, in 2012, on the issue, before confronting later Ethereum. It is also on the Ethereum network that the BTU Protocol will be launched under the name ERC-808. “We worked with the Ethereum community to implement this protocol,” says Hervé Hababou. Beyond these technical considerations, the birth of a community remains the salient point of successful operations.
To do this, BTU Protocol needs “fuel”: it will be, you will have understood it without much surprise, to the eyes of the experts Vidal Chriqui and Hervé Hababou, the “token”. This digital asset can be transferred between two parties on the internet without requiring the agreement of a third party. It is more commonly known for being the essential component in the “ICO”, these famous fundraisers in cryptocurrencies that have flourished in France in recent months.
“The token is the gas and oil of tomorrow. It is a real industrial asset. The appearance of the token is comparable to what we experienced 20 years ago with the arrival of the internet,” explains Hervé Hababou. Therefore, starting this coming Tuesday morning, 50 million tokens will be issued – until the end of June – with the main objective of raising 20 million euros “to finance our growth and federate a community able to spread the vision of BTU Protocol”, says Vidal Chriqui.
So many “vivid forces” are needed to tackle the mastodons of online booking platforms. A public pre-sale that serves as the “second floor of the BTU Protocol rocket” as it follows a private sale that has sold to several family offices and investment funds such as Alphanode Capital or Nemapp. “Besides, some of our first buyers are companies that intend to use the protocol,” said Vidal Chriqui.
A protocol that, not only seeks to upset the too long sclerosed platforms of hotel reservation, but that is also “transposable” to the automobile, retail or healthcare industries.
“The process is the same if you want to make an appointment with the doctor or reserve a table at the restaurant,” says Hervé Hababou. The BTU Protocol community is only waiting for you.
Original article in French: by Samir Hamladji in Forbes France : https://www.forbes.fr/entrepreneurs/grace-a-la-blockchain-ces-deux-francais-veulent-briser-le-monopole-des-plateformes-de-reservation-en-ligne/