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I'm a university student and I had an idea for a Peer to peer car rental service. I have been doing some research into blockchain and I found Ethereum. My knowledge is extremely limited (keep in mind I'm 21), I read that ethereum is perfect for this application but I have no idea how and what it would require? Also, how can a business make money by using Ethereum for a peer to peer business?

I'd love some general information about Ethereum and its uses but also specifically how it would make this business more effective than traditional methods.

Thank you very much.

Ps please keep the responses as simple as possible as aforementioned my knowledge is extremely limited.

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Hei Daniel, the good thing of Ethereum for this types of problems is the posibility of make smart contracts. Smart contracts provide you one option for make the peer to peer contracts more easy and withour any cost of third persons or entitys.

Then for your case i try explain you how work a little case, you have a car rental company this can make contracts of cars with for example id, model, color, state, cost for day and list of contrats of thsi car. You can put it in a smart contract code with solidity and you can make "N" diferents contracts (One for car, that you own).

So now, when you haver cars contracts you can do other smart contract with the name "contractOfCar" this is created by your other car contract and contain the initial rent date and the final rent day, and the state of the contract (Avaible or not).

In resum, you have this 2 smart conrtacts:

enter image description here

Model: model of the car

Price: price for day

Color: color of the car

Id: Id like registration number

State: For check if it car is avaible or not

ListofContracts: Array list with all contractCar of this car. (contracts directions on the blockchain)

IniDay: First date of the rent.

FinalDay: Final date of the rent.

People can make a contract of car with a web-app interface and you can store and watch it in the blockchain. With this you can have a contracts and the people can pay for rent your car with the web without third entity. (this is a very easy case, can be more complex like automatitzation of the payments, better smart contract structure, ...)

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Well I wouldn't advise Ethereum for doing a such task (a classic website would do fine I think). But building your app based on the Ethereum blockchain would bring you some advantage :

  • No need to worry about the fee of the payment system (using a payment system is rather complicated so you have to contact compagnies like paypal or mangopay which take a part of the payment transctions (~5%)). By the way making a Ether payment system would be easier for you to build (my 2 cents).
  • Perfect tracability of transactions (you just have to watch the blockchain).

You could either :

  • make your website manage all the car rental stuff and only use the ether as a payment mean (will be easy). You could use bitcoin too.
  • Make all the transactions via smart contracts and creating a website to only "show" the state of the contracts to the user (for him to manage his rental stuff).

In any cases you should be able to code a website (classic web stack) but also to "watch" the blockchain with web3 js framework (doable). Moreover you should also code in Solidity if you want to create smart contracts.

how it would make this business more effective than traditional methods.

I would see the main added value of ethereum in our case will mainly be the "cryptomoney" thing (-> transactions between users are done easily).

what it would require?

What you should learn :

  • for ethereum solidity and web3.js are good thing to start (and so truffle if you want to test your contract).

  • A web stack (node + express could be a good start)

how can a business make money by using Ethereum for a peer to peer business?

The simplest way to do that is to tax some ether from transactions between peers I think

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Let me reframe your project/problem to try to provide an Ethereum/Blockchain based solution.

  • You own a car.
  • You want to rent it to other people when you are not using.
  • You want to make some money.
  • You don't want to lose or damage your car (trust is important).

What it would require?

  1. A digital lock connected to your car (you are not using physical keys) so the customer will be able to open and start the engine from the app
  2. A mobile app for the user
    • map with available cars in the area, with model and price info
    • possibility to reserve the car
    • unlock and start the car
    • drive/gps
    • communicate with the owner in case he'll need help
    • assign a payment method (credit card or crypto currency)
    • check costs and payments, trip history, etc...
  3. A mobile app for you
    • make your car available or reserved for you
    • check your balance
    • communicate with the user in case of help needed
    • trip history, settings, etc.
  4. A Smart Contract in the blockchain
    • When the user has paid for the initial base period (say 10$ for the first 10 minutes), the contract may register in the blockchain the approval for the user, so he can unlock the car.

Also, how can a business make money by using Ethereum for a peer to peer business?

  1. Sell the digital lock. For a small price, but with a margin.
  2. Commissions (like Uber). Take a 30% from the price the end user is paying for the rental.
  3. Insurance. Insurance fees are not going to an insurance company, but are stored in the blockchain in form of a token. In case of accident, the money/token is given to the owner of the car. [this could be complex... you may have indipendent users who checks damages in the car to confirm the damages, or information about actual damages on the car when renting that you have to acknowledge, etc.]
  4. Other services for the car owner. The company has a lot of data (usage, status, etc.) that may be using to sell additional services to the owner... Like: time to check the brakes/change oil/do the standard maintenance! Do you want us to do it for you? Just tell us when you want us to do the service for you, it will only cost you 0.5 ETH.

How it would make this business more effective than traditional methods.

Blockchain is the decentralization of trust. Now: you can rent a car if you are at least 21. Some companies requires that you had your license for more than two years. Most requires a credit card with an available limit of at least 1.000 USD (even for a shor term rent). You need to sign a contract every time. Two or three copies. You need to go to their offices and pick up the car from their deposit. This takes time and is not a very pleasant experience for the customer (last time I rented a car I had to wait 2 1/2 hours in the queue, and I had already reserved and paid for the service online).

With this system there is no time to wait in line. No upfront payment. Once checked in the first time with your documents you are part of the system. You can rent the car for small periods of time. You can rent the car in your area, or when you are traveling...

Also:

  1. The company may launch an ICO to crowfund the development of the system selling the tokens.
  2. The car owners would only need to install the digital lock.
  3. The lock may include an accelerometer, gps and other passive safety systems. The collected data may provide info on the driver (good driver, bad driver, etc.) - so the car owner may decide to rent his car only to >3 starts drivers [I know, this may become creepy like the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive"]
  4. The company may let private small investors being the insurer. They buy insurance tokens that are stored in the blockchain and used to pay for damages, but also take a percentage from the profits.

Basically you can do a lots of things. All that I said is currently doable with the actual technology you have with Ethereum and the Internet.

Just let me know if you are going to start your business on that, I'll be happy to be an investor and help in anything! :-)

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