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Report: Airbnb Wants SEC Rules Changed To Give Hosts Company Equity

Report: Airbnb Wants SEC Rules Changed To Give Hosts Company Equity

Hospitality service Airbnb provides an online marketplace that allows users to rent out their houses, properties and spare rooms to travelers.

The service reported 29 million users in the U.S. and Europe in 2017, and 33 million so far in 2018, according to a study conducted by

What Happened

Airbnb sent a letter Friday to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for clearance to grant equity to the company’s hosts, according to Axios.

This letter addressed the potential of revising a Securities Act rule to add the category of “gig economy worker,” since the private company is only able to grant equity to investors and staff.

Why It’s Important

If approved, the U.S. government would likely consider the tax implications of private stock transfer, on top of a revision of the Exchange Act, according to Axios.

According to the SEC website, Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act “establishes the thresholds at which an issuer is required to register a class of securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission.” Per the rule, an issuer is required to register a class of equity securities under the SEC if it has more than $10 million of total assets, or the securities are “held of record” by 2,000 or more people.

"Gig economy” positions have increased in prominence. According to an August Forbes study, 36 percent of Americans are employed in the gig economy — which amounts to 57 million workers.

What’s Next

Airbnb follows companies such as Juno and Uber that have also asked for revisions to SEC rules.  

“Airbnb is a community-based company and we would be nothing without our hosts,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told Axios. “We would like our most loyal hosts to be shareholders, but need these policies to change in order to make that happen.”

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