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Photo illustration: Axios Visuals

Airbnb has sent a comment letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, asking it to allow the home-sharing company to give equity to its hosts.

Flashback: Airbnb isn't the first "gig economy" company to look into stock-sharing. Ride-hailing startup Juno famously pledged to give its drivers equity when it debuted, but later had to nix the plan when it realized that would be too difficult. Uber has also met multiple times with the SEC to discuss how it could do this, as Axios reported last year.

What they're saying: “Airbnb is a community-based company and we would be nothing without our hosts. We would like our most loyal hosts to be shareholders, but need these policies to change in order to make that happen," said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in a statement to Axios.

The details:

  • Airbnb's letter (read it here) specifically addresses the SEC's interest in potentially revising Rule 701 of the Securities Act to add a "gig economy worker" category. Currently, private companies like Airbnb can only give equity to investors and employees.
  • But even if approved, the U.S. federal government would have to consider the current tax implications of private stock transfer.
  • Additionally, either the SEC or Congress would also have to revise Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act, which currently caps the total number of shareholders at 2,000 before a company is subject to public reporting requirements.

The story has been updated with a link to the letter.

Go deeper

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.

The consumer's massive "war chest"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Economists expect the pace of economic growth to cool off now that government transfer payments like stimulus checks and emergency unemployment benefits are in the rearview mirror. But evidence suggests that the U.S. consumer is sitting on a lot of financial firepower that could be a key driver of growth in the quarters to come.

Why it matters: U.S. consumer spending is massive, representing about 70% of GDP.

The Fed takes on its own rules amid stock trading controversy

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New disclosures that showed Fed officials were active in financial markets set off a firestorm of criticism. Now the Fed may overhaul the long-standing rules that allow those transactions.

Why it matters: What officials actively traded was sensitive to the Fed decisions they helped shape, including the unprecedented support that underpinned a massive financial market boom.