Home-rental company Airbnb has “acqui-hired” the majority of the team behind ChangeCoin, a startup that runs a bitcoin-based micropayments service, according to four people with knowledge of the deal.
The alternative lodging site has been looking at a few bitcoin and blockchain startups, according to two sources, to study what the technology could do for its services. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are built on their ability to manage supply and demand, which could be aided by a powerful, open ledger system like blockchain.
Through a service called ChangeTip, ChangeCoin lets users send tiny amounts of money, or tips, over social networks including Twitter and Reddit. But Airbnb appears to only be interested in the talent behind the company: ChangeCoin is still shopping its intellectual property, sources said.
The firm is run by ex-Yahoo engineer and noted bitcoin entrepreneur Nick Sullivan, and has between 11 and 50 employees, according to CrunchBase.