One of Europe's leading airlines, Lufthansa, will be buying into an ICOs and teaming up with a startup on bookings on the blockchain. Winding Tree, a Swiss-based startup, is building a marketplace on the ethereum blockchain to connect businesses and suppliers. The deal between was announced today. Together with Lufthansa Group, the pair is exploring a decentralized booking platform.
The two companies met through Lufthansa's Innovation Hub. Both firms view this collaboration as an overall win-win. Lufthansa hopes to bring on board its expertise in customer experience from the airline industry while benefiting from Winding Trees blockchain development.
CEO of Winding Tree, Maksim Izmaylov shared their intentions to help the German airline build and deploy blockchain- powered travel apps on that align with the industry's standards. Lufthansa will provide Maksim's development team with access to APIs.
Markus Binkert, Senior Vice President Distribution & Revenue Management Lufthansa Group Airlines explained the goal of API integrations via press release:
"By integrating these APIs with Winding Tree's public blockchain, Lufthansa Group enables all innovative partners who develop cutting-edge travel applications to access these offers via a decentralized and intermediate-free travel marketplace."
The largest German airline is exploring customer service applications on the blockchain including bookings, and itinerary travel information. Lufthansa is on the forefront of exploring use cases for the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies for its aviation business. The scalability and efficiency of blockchains are features it can explore both customer service and aircraft maintenance. Last year, the firm launched a Blockchain for Aviation (BC4A) initiative aimed at evaluating innovative technology for flight maintenance.
Lufthansa Buys into Pre-Sale ICO
Winding Tree is in the process of launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to fund development. As part of their commitment to this partnership, Lufthansa will finance part of the token sale at the ICO pre-sale stage. Investors will receive native ‘Lif' cryptocurrency in exchange for their contributions.
More startups are turning to ICOs for capital, the latest cryptocurrency crowdfunding craze. Typically, investors make contributions via cryptocurrency and receive issued tokens representing some form of right or utility. But in more recent times, the model has opened up avenues for Hedge funds and private investors to participate at a pre-ICO stage.
Lufthansa's buy-in to Winding Tree's pre-sale is likely to contribute regular currency. Regulatory warnings on ICO funding have picked up over the course of the last few months. It is becoming harder for startups to skirt rules on securities laws.
The LIF crypto token will have utility on the marketplace. Businesses and suppliers will settle payments and transfer of data relating to accommodation, flights, and cruises on the blockchain using Lif.
Dr. Christian Langer, Chief Digital Officer of Lufthansa Group, said:
"To us, Winding Tree is a strong candidate to turn today's understanding of distribution upside down."