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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

Updated 32 seconds ago - Politics & Policy

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

2 hours ago - Technology

Ex-N.Y. Post digital chief files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Richard B. Levine) (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Former New York Post editor Michelle Gotthelf is suing her former employer, its parent company News Corp. and two editors, alleging she was reprimanded after complaining to senior executives that she was sexually harassed by retired N.Y. Post editor-in-chief Col Allan. The N.Y. Post issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: "I felt that I owed it to myself and I owed it to the news organization and the people who answered to me," Gotthelf, who was a long time editor at the N.Y. Post, told Axios in an interview.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Airlines warn of flight cancellations amid 5G rollout concerns

Emirates SkyCargo airline Boeing 777F aircraft. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Emirates and Delta airlines announced Tuesday that the planned rollout of 5G services at certain American airports could affect flights.

Driving the news: AT&T and Verizon announced earlier Tuesday that they would delay this week's scheduled rollout of 5G signals near a limited number of airports due to continued concerns from the aviation industry.