2017, the year of Bitcoin

bitcoin evanescentYour 10 euro bills tomorrow will only be a piece of paper. From midnight today, the money you treasure in your pocket will not be worth anything. Citizens who wish to exchange their notes for others of lesser value will have to wait until next week when the banks open again. For the time being, they will remain closed by a presidential order. Until then, no one shall exceed the limit imposed on exchanges, and an ID will be required at the counter.

This notice is a half-fiction. It does not concern any country of the European Union, so no European should worry. But it has just happened in India, where President Narendra Modi surprised his citizens with an announcement similar to this one that went into effect without prior notice. «Black money and corruption are the biggest obstacles to eradicating poverty», the president said in his defense of a measure as radical as eliminating much of the money circulating overnight in the country. Continue reading

You Will Pay the Hotel with your Mobile

iBeacon, the digital beacon that could transform into not delaying the most popular payment system because of its simplicity, range or virtual interconnection between the buyer and the seller. It’s my daily routine in New York. If I don’t get to take the metro, I hail a taxi from the thousands that go up and down on the streets. A soon as I get in, I take out my iPhone and open the apps Uber or Way2Ride, which most cab drivers are affiliated with. As soon as the app starts, two buttons appear: I Need a Taxi, which will help me locate one in case I’m living outside radio range, and I’m in the Taxi, which will mark me as being in a cab already. And that’s it. Once I’ve reached my destination, as the ad suggest on TV’s cab, I open the door, and give the cabbie that took me there a warming bye-bye.

In New York it’s becoming a habit to not pay for taxis, or even some trifle sold in Macy’s stores. Soon it will not be required to pay for travel by subway, or lunch at the restaurant on the corner. By this I mean, it is not paid in cash, or by credit card. The various applications connect to the taxi system, the cashier in the department stores Continue reading

Is Airbnb the next Booking?

Sharing hands for a sharing economy

At first, I thought that Airbnb was going to occupy a lodging niche that nobody wanted to, or could, digitally manage, given the dispersion of supply and the variety of behaviors attributed to homeowners interested in putting their homes up for rent by periods. But after a deep reflection on the strategic focus of the company, different view exchanges among tourism agents in New York (home of its founder, Brian Chesky), and the concerned monitoring of American hotel strategist Chip Conley, with whom I have exchanged some epistolary views on the subject, I confess that my current impression is radically different from the original. Airbnb wants to enter not only in the hotel market but in the entire value chain of the tourism business. And it wants to enter to transform the world of travel through the generation that will manage it in the coming decades: the so-called millennials. Continue reading