Matthew HughesFormer TNW Reporter
Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twi Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twitter.
Peer-to-peer selling sites – like Craigslist, Trademe, Gumtree, and eBay – are hugely popular, largely thanks to the fact that you can get some serious bargains through them. But they’re not without their risks. When you buy something through these sites, there’s always a chance that you might not get what you pay for. Or worse, that you’ll sell an item, and not receive the money.
To address this problem, we’ve seen a flurry of innovative startups and products emerge, like Insto, which allows people to pay for large items on Craigslist through an intermediary, and in installments.
And now we’ve seen a completely chatbot-driven approach to insuring peer-to-peer transactions, from Spanish startup Traity and Australian insurer Suncorp.
The product, called Kevinsured, is pretty straightforward. When you buy or sell something, you message Kevin and inform him of the nature and size of the transaction. Kevin validates the identities of both parties, and once the transaction is approved, it will create a guarantee which is recorded against the blockchain. This protects both buyer and seller against fraud.
The best part is that for small transactions under $100, this is entirely free. Traity plans to run Kevin under a freemium model with larger purchases attracting a fee, although it is yet to determine the specifics of how this will work.
This makes sense. Fraud on peer-to-peer selling websites is generally centered around bigger-ticket items, like laptops, cameras, and games consoles.
Juan Cartagena, CEO of Traity, said: “We want to create a safer internet where we can trust one another. We think that Kevin has the potential to power trust in the sharing economy by putting our money where our mouth is.”
Kevinsured is available to use from today for consumers based in Australia, the US, UK, and Spain. Fortunately, the company has no immediate plans to launch in Germany, where the name Kevin has certain connotations.
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