Airbnb is looking to hand shares in the company to people who rent out their properties on the platform. The company wants to give shares to its longest-serving hosts, but current US regulations prevent it from doing so, as current US law states companies can only issue shares to employees and investors.
Airbnb penned a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, asking to change the rules to allow what it calls ‘gig economy workers’ to own shares.
In the letter, Airbnb said it wants its “most loyal hosts to be shareholders” and claimed the share offerings would “incentivise and motivate active participation in the marketplace.”
Airbnb currently has over five million listings in over 190 countries, and who would fall into this category is unknown. How taxes would be paid on these shares is also unclear. Of further concern is the current rule that companies with over 2,000 shareholders need to report publicly, and if Airbnb is to issue shares to its longest-serving hosts it would surely cross this threshold.