By Terry S. Welch Municipal Law Theories by


“Sharing economy” is an umbrella term with a wide range of meanings, often used to describe economic and social activity involving online transactions. As the Federal Government writes, a variety of new business models have emerged in the past few years and are dramatically reshaping how services and products are provided in an expanding number of sectors. Fundamentally, sharing economy platforms use internet, smartphone and software technologies to create marketplaces that facilitate transactions between numerous peers—decentralized buyers and sellers who are frequently individuals or small entities. Sharing economy platforms enable “the emergence of marketplaces, meeting point[s] for supply and demand, making it easier for almost anyone to become a supplier of goods and services in exchange for money.” They provide transactional services in order to facilitate commercial activity between these participating buyers and sellers, in contrast with internet retailers who themselves sell goods and services directly to buyers.

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