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Samuel Dibble and Clark Wilkes of Baker Botts. Samuel Dibble and Clark Wilkes of Baker Botts. (Courtesy photo.)

Over the past decade, the sharing economy has disrupted traditional transportation, hospitality, finance and media industries across the United States and the world by allowing entrepreneurial-minded individuals to monetize unused or underutilized assets through peer-to-peer transactions. By some estimates, the sharing economy will grow from $15 billion in 2014 to $335 billion by 2025. In the consumer sector, many people opt to use ride sharing services like Lyft or Uber to eliminate the burden of fixed transportation expenses. Riders only pay for transportation that they need and only when they need it. Monthly car payments and expenses like parking, gas and insurance are deferred until the cost of on-demand transportation services consistently exceed them. If emerging companies could similarly harness the sharing economy to scale their computer memory, storage and processing needs they would avoid, or at least delay, incurring those infrastructure costs until a time when their business can support those investments.

Blockchain technology’s ability to provide reliable data on capacity and real-time tracking of cost and usage enables the efficient and cost-effective allocation of unused computing power. Just as Airbnb has allowed hosts to monetize an unused spare bedroom or Vrbo allows owners to directly access the market for vacation rentals, a sharing economy for digital resources would allow individuals, corporations, governments and schools to mitigate their infrastructure outlays while simultaneously supporting local innovation by startups that crave computing power and can use these resources at night and on the weekends when they would otherwise sit idle.

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