Here at CurrencyFair, we have huge respect for the person who is leading the charge to bring collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer networks into the mainstream: Rachel Botsman.
What is Collaborative Consumption?As our friends at Wikipedia point out, ‘Collaborative consumption was named one of Time Magazine’s 10 ideas that will change the world. The financial crisis of 2007–2010 and subsequent housing bubbles have prompted consumers to reconnect through peer-to-peer marketplaces that turn underutilized assets and resources into new jobs, income streams and community networks. Napster pioneered peer-to-peer file sharing and subsequent platforms have emerged to facilitate the sharing of content, cars, bikes, tools and random household appliances.’ Alternatively, here’s how the Guardian newspaper described collaborative consumption: ‘Since the middle of the twentieth century, economic prosperity has been equated with a consumerist society with ownership at its core. But in today’s hyper-connected world, this view of the world is beginning to change. The abundance of assets along with the relative affordability of almost anything, high-tech consumer platforms, the digitisation of products, close-knit social media communities and the economic downturn of 2008 have all meant that collaborative consumption is flourishing. As children, many of us were used to bartering, swapping or trading. But these networks are now wired up globally, so this kind of networking and exchanging is second nature, even between strangers and across myriad commodities.’ There’s no doubt that peer-to-peer marketplaces are really booming right now. In fact, we recently shared a list of 50 peer-to-peer marketplaces that are changing the world. Typically, an online peer-to-peer marketplace brings people and/or businesses together online to deal with each other directly without having to go through a slow, expensive middle man. Take CurrencyFair as an example. Widely used by expatriates living abroad and businesses dealing across borders, CurrencyFair’s peer-to-peer currency exchange allows people to cut out the middle man to get the best possible exchange rate for various currencies, whilst avoiding expensive and often hidden bank charges. Using CurrencyFair’s MarketPlace platform, buyers and sellers are brought together to exchange funds directly with each other, setting their own rates in the process. For individuals not restricted by time, they can set highly competitive exchange rates and wait to be matched with a buyer, often achieving a better rate than high-flying traders. In 2013, Forbes Magazine estimated that ‘the revenue flowing through the share economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25% and this trend certainly looks set to continue.
Rachel Botsman Leading The ChargeRachel Botsman is a global thought leader who has been leading the charge to expand the collaborative and sharing economy around the world. As founder of the Collaborative Lab, Rachel’s impact has been far and wide with Fast Company even recognising her as one of the ‘Most Creative People in Business’. The Collaborative Lab ‘are the global experts on the collaborative economy and how it will transform the way we live, work, bank, and consume. Collaborative Lab provides targeted, personal advisory services to senior leaders in business and government who want the ideas, theories and latest research to deeply understand the opportunities and implications the rapidly growing collaborative economy presents.’
An Explanation Of The Sharing EconomyIf you’re still a little unsure about collaborative consumption, peer-to-peer businesses and other such concepts, let’s take a look at Rachel’s explanation explanation of the different aspects.
Rachel Botsman’s TED Talk On Collaborative Consumption
If you’ve heard of Rachel, there’s a good chance that it’s because of her ground-breaking TED Talk in which she explains that we’re “wired to share” and shows how websites like Zipcar and Swaptree are changing the rules of human behavior.Since giving that TED Talk, Rachel has gone on to become a partner at Collaborative Fund, a role which is allowing her to advise companies like Skillshare, Kickstarter, Taskrabbit, Rentcycle, and CultureKitchen.