The Lufthansa Group, one of the world’s biggest airlines operators, has entered a partnership with Swiss startup Winding Tree – the developer of a decentralized, public, B2B blockchain marketplace for the air travel space. Announced today, the partnership will see Lufthansa integrate its API’s into Winding Tree’s public Ethereum-based blockchain.
The marketplace allows for blockchain-based booking transactions and participation from startups and companies without the need for intermediaries like Expedia or Booking.com to result in cheaper and more efficient travel for the end user. Lufthansa will also benefit with more profitable bookings and lower transaction fees by cutting out both intermediary commissions and payment processor fees.
Lufthansa explains: “Simply put, in the future, airlines, hotels and other travel service providers will offer their services on Winding Tree’s platform, and companies interested in content will only connect to the B2B blockchain-distributed digital marketplace to present specific offers tailored to their customers’ needs. This will result in a large number of new apps for travellers, who will then be able to book Lufthansa Group flights via the offer that best suits their preferences.”
These blockchain travel apps developed by Winding Tree while adhering to Lufthansa’s requirements before the airline puts them to the test.
Lufthansa’s confidence in blockchain’s potential for revolutionizing the travel agency also sees the airline operator participating in Winding Tree’s token presale. ICOs, or initial coin offerings are all the rage in recent months as a radically new form of fundraising wherein startups sell their own crypto tokens in exchange for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum for financing.
Winding Tree is currently in the midst of its public token presale of its token called ‘Lif’. The startup went on to add the token “facilitates transactions” on the B2B marketplace, essentially powering booking transactions and more on the blockchain. Lufthansa has not revealed the amount of its investment. Winding Tree’s token sale will commence on November 1, with raised funds used to finance the platform’s development.
Lufthansa’s foray into exploring blockchain applications comes soon after fellow German giant TUI, the world’s largest tourism company, revealed big plans to deploy its own smart contract-enabled private blockchain called BedSwap. When complete, the blockchain will see TUI’s entire property management system spanning every single hotel room across all hotel properties integrated into the blockchain.