Triip - A Fairer Travel Economy

Triip Mar 24, 2020

by Hai Ho (Triip Pte. Ltd., Singapore) and  Van Cam Pham, PhD (TomoChain Pte.Ltd., Singapore)

Abstract.  

Triip  is a blockchain-enabled travel platform allows for direct interactions between service providers and clients. Using a propriety token, Triip Miles or TIIM,  Triip  is a network that enables greater transparency, security and lower cost transactions between those who travel and those who serve them.

1. Background

1.1       Old, outmoded travel economy

Waste as a status quo. The current travel economy is not only unsustainable but also has limited players participating travel business owners & employees, OTAs and travelers.

These travel businesses are currently competing for the same keywords on Google, the same targeted audience on Facebook and the same banner ads on content sites. Large companies are spending hun- dreds of millions of dollars search optimizing their web presence in this digital arms race.

Fig 1: A supplier who wants market access must list their service on a search engine giant or social media network that holds the valuable consumer data necessary to reach clients.

Key to this inefficiency is data and visibility. A supplier who wants market access must list their service on a search engine giant or social media network that holds the valuable consumer data necessary to reach clients. The value they promise is representation on their networks, but travel suppliers have little control over how exactly they’re presented to prospective clients in advertising interactions and lose their brand’s uniqueness and value.

1.2        Blockchain as a solution

Smart contracts as a broad solution: As a travel booking service, blockchain helps us create better transactions for clients. Faster, more transparent and cheaper purchases and reservations are possible using blockchain as a currency. These are just a few of the features of the bigger platform we’ll sketch out in this paper.

1.3       About Triip

Founded in 2014, Triip Protocol was born by Triip Pte. Ltd – an online travel company licensed by Singapore Tourism Board. We are operating in 229 countries with 29M+ rooms and 6,000+ local guides.

2. Introduction

2.1       The project in Brief

A new travel economy. Triip  acts as a host space and uses a blockchain network that creates an economy of intelligence. Travelers purchasing services through Triip are encouraged to share their travel plans (and are welcome to keep them private) in a system that rewards their disclosures with our cryptocurrency TriipMiles they can use to purchase additional services.

On the service provider side, firms are encouraged to share market insights by notifying adjacent travel services that could offer an improved customer experience. Successful leads are rewarded with TriipMiles.

Sharing data and insights, whether they flow from the traveler to the firm or between firms, is noted and rewarded with TriipMiles to build an open, transparent travel platform.

The Triip Protocol acts as a type of online travel intermediary providing a marketplace for travelers to find and buy travel services.

But that’s only one element of its functions. It’s also a space where travel firms—ones that have demonstrated a commitment to building a better travel economy by becoming Triip Protocol partners—can have a more immediate, personal interaction with travelers.

Fig 2: The new decentralised economy where each aspect can be tracked and verified by any individual.

With Triip Protocol, all elements of the travel economy will be presented in a network where each aspect can be tracked and verified by any individual. Quality and transparency will be visibly demon- strated. Each group within the Triip Protocol economy will collaborate, process functions and be rewarded with TriipMiles as they make contri- butions to grow the network and their work is verified. This is accom- plished by smart contracts and cannot be controlled or affected by any outside entity.

3. Purpose

3.1       TriipMiles token.

Propriety cryptocurrency. TriipMiles is the main utility token in the Triip Protocol. It’s used to exchange data and value between Triip  smart contracts, travel businesses, Travelers and locals with a network of partnerships in 229 countries. TriipMiles (TIIM) can then be used to reserve 28,859,813 listings include 5,539,347 listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay, and get a 5% rebate in 137,678 destinations in 229 countries and territories. In addition, Travelers can use TIIM to buy one of the 6,000 one-of-a-kind tours in 100 countries, global WIFI data in 131 countries or purchase in-room entertainment as well as book local transportation and get other local services.

There are only 500,000,000 TriipMiles being issued for a market of nearly 2B travelers.

3.2       Triip as a change maker

Blockchain is not just for payments. But payments are just one part of a new travel platform that we are realizing through blockchain.

Smart contracts can be used to create and grow a new travel economy that is better for travelers by being more mindful of their data security and delivering better travel experiences.

Providers who are not reaching them through advertisements but through blockchain-enabled, consent-centered permissions can serve people who are truly interested in their products or services resulting in more conversions and less waste.

4. Theory

4.1       Triip mechanics

Where we are. The mechanics of the travel booking process are today riddled with unnecessary middlemen whose involvement does not add value to the overall travel experience. This is an economy built on inef- ficiencies. A single transaction passes through a chain of third-party ac- tors that do little to enhance the value of the travel product or service.

They thrive on fees and services charges that make traveling more expensive than it needs to be.

Where we are going. The principal difference of the Triip Protocol is that it will reduce costs to the traveler. Using blockchain, the platform also enables better interactions between travel service providers and their clients.

Fig. 3. The Triip Protocol enables bookings, purchases and other traveler functions to occur in a cleaner, less crowded environment.

4.2       Technical System Design

At Triip, we have been exploring the applicability of blockchain technologies to the travel industry. In the following, we show how the Triip system is applied to a specific scenario. The system requirements are as follows:

·   Triip system should have the decentralized, trustless, and immutable aspects of blockchain (which are the default nature of most blockchain projects) and is based on a scalable blockchain to ensure user experience. Triip system will be implemented and run on the TomoChain blockchain, which provides instant transaction confirmation and near-zero transaction fee.

·   Triip Protocol should be able to track the referrals/customer flow (e.g. If a shop refers their customers to buy from another shop, there must be a way to track and prove the customers were intro- duced from that shop).

·   Identity management support: It is okay for Triip Creators’ identities to be known, however the identity of individual Travelers cannot be disclosed

Fig. 4. All interactions between any parties within the Triip Protocol must pass between a De- centralized Infrastructure that anonymizes individuals and this data.

System entities and incentive mechanism. The ecosystem operates in a decentralized way in which components and actors interact with each other. The following describes each of them:

1. Traveler (T): Customer is identified by an identifier, i.e. the address of a wallet. The traveler personal data, i.e. name, age, telephone, is encrypted and not accessible by any others. The encrypted data is stored in the decentralized infrastructure. A Traveler can allow or re- move access right for any one. Travelers can make purchases of tours from any tour/service provider, i.e. through a mobile app. Purchase data consists of:

a.  Traveler personal data (CD), i.e. name, age, telephone

b.  Tour provider sensitive data (RD), i.e. price and quantity of goods a Traveler buys Metadata(MD).

c.  Metadata describes information related to purchases made by the Traveler, including the tour information, purchase time...

Traveler personal data and provider sensitive data are encrypted and not publicly accessible.

Travelers can choose to publish their experience data with the purchased tour once the tour ends or during the tour. Our incentive sys- tem is designed in order to encourage Travelers to share theirexperience. The latter again can allow different stakeholders (e.g. tour analysts) to analyze the user experience data in order to improve the quality of the provided services.

2. Tour Provider/Triip Creator: A Triip Creator can create a tour and correspondingly create an associated smart contract, which is then published onto the blockchain. The uniqueness of Triip Protocol compared to traditional traveling systems is the transparency of peer- review for the tour content. It means that, for every created tour, its content needs to be reviewed by at least a number of Triip Reviewers (e.g., 2 reviewers) so that other Travelers can check its verified sta- tus. Furthermore, the review system in Triip Protocol also avoids re- view spam submissions currently exploited by traditional rating sys- tems. This is realized by a staking system that requires the Triip Cre- ator to deposit a certain minimum amount of TIIM token, which will be used for incentivizing the reviewers, who use their traveling expe- rience and scoring-based reputation to verify the content of the tour.

3. Triip Reviewer: Triip Protocol is designed to motivate all partici- pants of the system to become a Triip Reviewer by incentivizing good reviewers. A review is considered as relevant to a created tour if either the reviewer has previous experience with the same tour or the reviewer is a local citizen. Anyone can become a reviewer of a relevant tour. Traditionally, the reviewing system was barely active because there is no incentives/benefits for reviewers, which in turn makes the system unsustainable for a long term. Our transparent Triip Review system will be able to change the way such traditional reviewing system, which has been inefficiently playing or manipu- lated by bigcorporations.

4. Tour guide: Triip Protocol provides a peer-to-peer tour guide system, which lowers the Triip Creator cost, while leveraging the qual- ity of tour guide services. Specifically, any one with relevant experi- ence with travel experience can become a tour guide to earn Triip to- kens. For Triip Creators, there is no need to have a large number of permanent tour guides, which significantly reduces the company cost. For Travelers, having a precise rating of tour guide service quality will provide a better suit to their need and a better experience. For tour guides, they can receive more income compared to tradi- tional systems because the Triip Creators do not need to expense a substantial cost to permanent tourguides.

5. Decentralized infrastructure: This is the most important technical component of the system. It consists of a data infrastructure such as IPFS/Swarm for transaction and user experience-related data storage, the TomoChain scalable blockchain infrastructure that allows to de- velop and deploy DApps and to issue tokens, data access control layer and an identity management layer. These subcomponents will be described later in the technical design section.

a.  Interacting with Triip Creators: The Triip Protocol application run on this infrastructure incentivizes with tokens for the Triip Providers once the latter push some data.

b.  Interacting with advertisers/tour analysts/data consumers: The infrastructure allows advertisers/tour analysts/data consumers to deposit an amount of tokens to the infrastructure in order to obtain access right to the stored metadata.

Interacting with Triip Reviewers: Any Triip Reviewer can review a trip/tour created by a Triip Creator

Fig. 4. Travelers are protected by data access controls encrypting their valuable data. Their in- teractions with the Triip Protocol, be that as purchases or proactive data sharing, occur secure on smart contracts backed by the TomoChain blockchain.

6. Advertiser: Any company or business that wishes to participate into the ecosystem to have access to the user experience data stored on the infrastructure. An advertiser must deposit a minimum amount of token in order to be able to access to the data stored in the decentral- ized infrastructure. Primarily, an advertiser can be a new/small trav- eling company that starts providing tours. Triip Protocol allows those small companies to participate in the Triip Protocol ecosystem with a much cheaper and reasonable cost, by depositing TIIM tokens into the Triip Protocol smart contract. A deposited advertiser/company then can query the data based on the ads that they want to offer the participants to filter the most potential travelers for the advertised tours. When the filtered travelers are interested in the tours of the ads, they can buy it with a discount by using a referral that was cre- ated when they publish the information about their experience with previous trips.

7. Staker: Staking allows TIIM holders to invest or stake their token in to a secure system. Stakers will receive rewards as TIIM tokens every period of time (e.g. 2h).

8. Data Analyst: As part of the Triip ecosystem, data analysts provide an additional value to the ecosystem. They can access user-provided data in order to analyze the current practice and quality of the services offered by Triip creators. Accessing the data needs the agree- ment of the stakeholders in the system, which requires a data analyst to deposit a certain amount of TIIM tokens. Additional Values result- ing from the analysis, including service improvements or bad service quality discoveries, can be resold back to the Triip Creators, which buy the additional values by using TIIM tokens.

9. Dispute Arbitrator: An arbitrator plays an important once there are conflicts between any two or more entities in the system. A dispute arbitrator would need to have traveling experience, and more im- portantly the knowledge about traveling laws, which are then used for resolving the dispute. A dispute arbitrator receives TIIM tokens as rewards for dispute resolution.

10. Local service provider: A Local Service Provider is any one, people or organization that provide services for the tours created by Triip. Typical providers are, for example, restaurants and hotels. As in tra- ditional traveling systems, the services provided by the service pro- viders can serve Travelers in different ways, either arranged by Tour Providers or directly by Travelers through the help of the decentral- ized infrastructure. Local service providers can verify Travelers’ identities by using the decentralized infrastructure and receive TIIM payments. Contracts between a local service provider and a Tour Provider or Traveler are created by using smart contracts, which are immutable and can be used for dispute resolution.

4.3       Data privacy

Restricted access. All private information of the entities (Traveler per- sonal data, tour provider sensitive data, Triip Reviewer personal data, data analysts personal data, staker, dispute arbitrator) in the Triip Proto- col ecosystem is not disclosed to people that are not authorized for ac- cess. The technical design section will show how cryptography can be used for keeping data privacy.

4.4       Data privacy through public-key encryption

Data privacy allows two entities in the ecosystem to privately share their data with each other without revealing anything to other entities. Data privacy is ensured through the use of public-key encryption techniques such as RSA or EC-based cryptographic systems. Assuming that there is an PKI (Public-Key Infrastructure) in the system, each actor possesses a public-private key pair of which the public key is shared with every ac- tor.

·       Data encryption: Traveler purchasing a tour uses his/her public key to encrypt his/her customer personal data. For every Triip, the encrypted traveling experience data is sent along with the pur- chase data. Tour Provider can push data related to their created tours to the decentralizedinfrastructure. Also, the tour provider’s data is also encrypted with the Tour Provider public key. No ones, except owners of the encrypted data, can disclose it.

·       Data access and decryption: Traveler and Tour Provider can ac- cess the encrypted respectiveprivate data by using their data hash to read the encrypted private data from the decentralized data storage, through the data access control layer. Once received, the encrypted data can be decrypted by using the respective private key of Traveler and Tour Provider. Any unauthorized actor to the private data, i.e. the advertiser, can read the encrypted data but cannot decrypt it, thus privacy isguaranteed.

These two schemes are applied to all entities in the system, meaning that any entity can store private data securely without any unauthorized access.

4.5       Private data sharing

Data can be shared privately between two participants. Two scenarios can be applied to this issue as the following steps, which assumes that A with a public/private key pair (pkA, skA) wishes to share data with B with public/private key pair (pkB, skB).

1.  Using public key encryption:

a.  B sends A his public key pkB

b. A encrypts the shared data with B’s public key pkB

c.  A hashes the encrypted data and sends the resulting hash H to a smart contract on TomoChain.

d.  A pushes the encrypted data to the decentralized data storage.

e.  B reads the hash of encrypted data H through the transaction made by A previously.

f.   B reads the encrypted data through the Data access control layer.

g.  B decrypts the encrypted data using its private key.

2.  Using symmetric encryption and Diffie Hellman key exchange

a.  B sends A his public key pkB

b. A sends B his public key pkA

c.  A compute the secret key S = skA * pkB, where “*” is the multi- plication operation in Elliptic Curve Encryption.

d.  A encrypts the shared data using symmetric encryption (i.e. AES) with S as the encryption key.

e.  A sends the hash of encrypted data to the smart contract on the blockchain

f.   A sends the encrypted data to the decentralized data storage

g.  B computes the secret S’ = skB * pkA, note that S = S’

h.  B reads the hash of the encrypted data in the smart contract

i.   B reads the encrypted data through the data access control layer

j.   B decrypts the encrypted data using S’ as the decryption key.

5. Results

5.1       Triip traveler app

Strong adoption. We have launched our Triip app for travelers on 21st Jan 2019. Within a week, there were 10,000 new users on both Android an iOS platform without a single dollar of marketing. Thirteen months since our launch, we’ve acquired 160,000 users. We are growing strongly with great reviews from users.

Fig 5: 4.7/5 ratings on Playstore

Besides viral growth, we are working with a network of 100M+ active users to drive even more users to our Triip app.

Since our launch in Jan. 2019, we’ve grown to a network that includes 121,650 organic travelers, 13,180 travel plans in 131 countries, 100 local partnering guides. We’re seeing 35 percent of our users active on the network daily.

5.2       High current token activity

Early, fast adoption. Since TIIM’s launch earlier this year, the token has already been snapped up by over 14,000 users.

Live data on TIIM can be seen here: https://bit.ly/3122YYE

Fig. 4. The most current figures available at the time of writing show there are over 14,000 to- ken holders and over 100,000 transactions that have occurred on the network since inception.

5.3       Travel board and industry partner support

Numerous partnerships. There are a network of nearly 90 travel boards around the world that are cooperating with the Triip Protocol, including the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Catalonia Tourism Board.

Let's hear what our partners said about us

5.4       Industry endorsed.

Marquee financial institution Visa endorses Triip. In August 2018, Triip Protocol was the recipient of a round of funding and dedicated support from marquee legacy financial institution Visa. Of nine startups who presented at the Visa Innovation Everywhere contest, we were selected as a top entrant by popular vote as were rewarded with a US$5000 cash prize and support with Visa’s payment technologies and business network.

5.5 Local guide endorsed