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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

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

Biden to sign voting rights order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.