Travel – particularly international travel – is about to be upended by blockchained services – offering everything from currency exchange to hostel bookings.
The $2.3 trillion a year global travel industry is about to be upended by blockchain. Some of this is easy to predict. After all, changing money, social-media enabled peer-to-peer recommendations, and of course, online bookings for travel deals from flights and hotels to events and restaurants are far from new ideas.
What is about to change, however, is how those ecosystems connect, interact and grow with the introduction of decentralized, trustless tech.
Smart contracts governing everything from specialized coins to confirming and booking services are one obvious application. So are community rewards for those who provide and curate good content.
The challenge, of course, is to provide the most useful services, to the right and growing group of people who are both new tech adopters and travel. That is, for at least now, Millennials and Gen Z.
However given the growth of such social media platform driven interaction, it won’t be long before travelers, both experienced wanderers and newbie backpackers, begin to use these kinds of services. They are just far more convenient and personalized than any other kind of guide, more interactive than existing online referrers, and with the adoption and integration of cryptocurrency that knows no border, way more convenient not to mention cheaper to navigate even at point-of-sale payment.
Cool Cousin is not just a “new” kid on the block(chain). The Israeli startup was launched in 2016 as a different kind of digital travel agency by founders who met while working together previously on a political campaign. The effort is now backed by over $2 million in existing VC financing and is used by over 500,000 travelers worldwide.
Cool Cousin has already taken its bows in the international media. The New York Times, the Guardian, USA Today, Tech Crunch and even National Geographic have given it kudos as an up and coming travel service, app, and just a bit more.
Cool Cousin builds communities in cities around the world using locals (aka the Cousins idea). Cousins are people who love their city enough to share cool stuff in it with others.
The Cool Cousin app then allows users to connect with these local guides and advisors. By selecting such local experts, users are also getting a curated guide of “what is fun” per the opinion of their new cool local cousin.
Beyond that, the app also has features that allow this service to be a bit more functional than a digital version of Lonely Planet that all of your friends have underlined, marked and left margin notes in. You can book services, find cool spots, get a ride from Uber or other local app-driven services, or even text your “cousin” directly with questions.
And if that sounds a bit like a potential pick up line? Well, so what? How interesting and exciting to potentially meet someone you are attracted to in a new place, who might also show you the ropes.
By adding an ETH-based token (the CUZ) to the ecosystem, the startup will add an extra layer of functionality and a system coin that will allow rewards, referrals, and bonuses to accrue. There are already thousands of interactions waiting to be tokenized.
The CUZ token will grant travelers access to a broad range of time and money saving services from booking Airbnb space to discounts available through the app. Locals, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to monetize their local city knowledge.
There are several core groups of participants in the CUZ economy who have a vested interest in maintaining contact with the platform and users who engage them.
The Cousins: Locals in cities around the world can create digital profiles that will be accessible to travelers. Cousins earn tokens for keeping their guides up to date, answering questions, promoting Cool Cousin itself, and participating in platform governance actions that are still being developed.
Pro Cousins: Cousins who want to expand their activities and services can also function as travel agents, offering personalized and tailored service for travelers, and also being able to monetize the same through the platform cryptocurrency.
Users: Travelers can access free information via the platform, but spending tokens get greater levels of access and better services. Users can also earn tokens for interacting with the platform, including as contributors.
Contributors: Users can also become contributors – content creators and curators – who add to the overall value of the site’s content. This could also mean promoting the site itself, or on-boarding new users.
Editors: Editors are usually contributors who have earned authority from the community and are trusted as a source of reliable information or service provision.
Board of Representatives: The Board will be ultimately responsible for the content and community cohesion and inclusion. This will be comprised of both company employees and local Cousins who have developed trustworthy reputations.
Business owners: The roadmap for development will include business owners as an additional piece of the ecosystem. They can either promote their services or maintain a branded presence.
Here are the details of the upcoming Cool Cousin Token sale:
Token name: CUZ
Token base: ERC-20
Token supply: 300,000,000
Token sale target: 4,000 ETH (soft cap), 17,500 ETH (hard cap)
Token sale date: TBD, 2018
Token price: 1 ETH = 3,770 CUZ
Accepted cryptocurrencies: ETH, BTC, USD
Purchase Requirements: Minimum purchase of 0.1 ETH