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Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Airbnb made headlines last week for sending a comment letter to the SEC, asking it to allow the home-sharing company to give equity to its hosts.

Why it matters: The number of gig economy workers continues to rise, but monthly payments have been on a lumpy decline path, according to a new JPMorgan study. This could become an attractive new benefit.

  • Uber spoke with the SEC several years ago about giving its drivers equity, but the ride-hail company gave up after being told it would be illegal under current law.
  • The big difference today is at the top of the SEC, with a new Commissioner who is very interested in democratizing access to startup equity.
  • Most of that has been focused on finding ways for non-accredited retail investors to invest in non-public companies, but it also could be accomplished by letting gig economy workers get stock in their "employers."

To be clear, this isn't going to happen overnight. The SEC comment period officially closed this past Monday, but I hear that some gig economy companies are still working on comment letters that they'll just submit late. Then the SEC must review the letters, possibly issue a new rule and likely then open up yet another comment period.

And all of that might come too late for ride-hail giants Lyft and Uber, both of which plan to go public in 2018 (related: Reuters reports Lyft is talking to JPMorgan to lead its IPO). Once public, these companies could simply give stock to their drivers, kind of like T-Mobile once gave it to certain customers.

  • Airbnb, on the other hand, remains without a CFO and without any immediate IPO ambitions.
  • And there are plenty of other gig economy companies to which this could apply, and for whom offering shares could become an important new recruiting tool.

Go deeper

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.

10 hours ago - Sports

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.