Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Sharing Economy

The Technology Quarterly section of last week’s issue of the Economist carried two articles on what they call “the sharing economy”, the category of electronic commerce that’s more peer-to-peer than B2B or B2C. Sites like airbnb.com let people rent out places to stay — whether it is a spare sofa or a full house. Sites like relayrides.com let people rent out their cars. and other sites let people rent out almost anything else they own.

The rise of the sharing economy is their cover story and provides an overview of these sites.

All eyes on the sharing economy is a longer article that goes more into the challenges the “sharing economy” faces, including regulatory hurdles.

I don’t know what the regulatory landscape looks like for all of these in Canada. It looks like airbnb is available in Canada (you can rent a room in Ottawa for $40/night or an apartment in Hintonburg for $71), but they likely make use of whatever legal structure has developed around Bed & Breakfasts. Car lending/renting may be more complicated in Canada, because the car rental services don’t appear to be available here yet.

It feels a bit like crowdfunding, which has been slow to develop in Canada partly because of (real or perceived) regulatory obstacles, but is a truly disruptive

What do you think? Is peer-to-peer lending potentially disruptive to more traditional rental markets? Will it develop into an important segment of the economy? Can existing regulatory frameworks already accommodate peer-to-peer renting in Canada?

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