Uber, Zelle, and other p2p services provide support during coronavirus

The growing p2p payments app Zelle is proving to be an even more powerful tool during the coronavirus epidemic. In fact, Zelle claims that it has seen an increase in demand over the past several months, as more people are sending money to support family and friends during times of need.

In a press release, Lou Anne Alexander, Chief Product Officer at Early Warning (the parent company of Zelle), noted how the product is bringing people together in times of need:


“As events have unfolded and lives changed, consumers are using Zelle to help those in need, and as a result, these heart-warming stories are strengthening connections with family, friends, and communities,” said Lou Anne Alexander, Chief Product Officer at Early Warning. “To help foster these bonds, together with our financial institution partners, we are helping bring people closer by enabling them to send and receive money for help with rent, emergencies, shared groceries and gifts for celebratory events.”

Consumers will have to be careful when using the product, as the growth of Zelle has brought along with it an increase in fraudulent activity targeting unsuspecting consumers.

The cryptocurrency startup Securitize will now allow users to make p2p trades of digital security tokens in a regulated manner. The new service, dubbed “Instant Access”, is built on top of an Ethereum-based decentralized protocol known as AirSwap. Trading will begin with private securities linked to several private companies, some of which include venture capital funds.

Securitize hopes this will give institutional investors a more secure way to trade, while taking into account financial regulations:

The security and ease of use of Instant Access to trade digital securities brings new liquidity options to issuers and their investors without compromising safety, security, and compliance. Instant Access is just the latest tool made possible by digital securities and Securitize’s DS Protocol.

Securitize is already backed by Coinbase, one of the largest, and most highly-regarded cryptocurrency exchanges, which played a large role in the company’s $12.7 million Series A funding round in 2018.

With most of the world’s population stuck in isolation, the Behind the Scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative has released a new peer-to-peer project for people in the entertainment industry to speak with others who understand their struggles. The app, called “Be Scene – Be Heard”, is a p2p chat app that operates around the clock, anonymously connecting users together to talk through their feelings and emotions.

The organization partnered with iRel8, a tech company already providing similar services, on the project:


iRel8 is a mental health social network that gives users an open and anonymous platform to receive mental health help from peers, provide relevant advice to others, and relate to a larger community – all in a safe and anonymous way so a user’s reputation is not compromised in any way with friends, family members, or work colleagues.

Uber has created a peer-to-peer solution to help people who are trying to limit their exposure to the outside world during this time. Dubbed Uber Connect, the service provides customers with same-day, no-contact delivery. This would allow, say, someone to get a package to a friend or family member without having to deliver it themselves. Uber Connect is being rolled out in 25 US cities, with expectations of growth in the coming months.

In a recent blog post, the company recognized a need from its customers and shifted to meet market demand:

Uber app

“We’ve heard from people around the world who are looking for new ways to get necessities delivered to their door quickly, and businesses that are exploring how to better serve their customers from afar. That’s why we’ve accelerated our delivery efforts beyond food and grocery, to provide on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solutions for consumers and businesses alike.”

Uber has put restrictions on what can be delivered using the new service. Packages must be less than 30 pounds, have a value under $100, and be of a reasonable size to fit in a standard midsize vehicle.

A new peer-to-peer service is helping freelancers stay afloat. Leveler, a p2p donation app, has been quickly released to help freelancers in need. The service allows for peer-to-peer donations to help freelance workers (specifically in the entertainment industry) stay on their feet during these difficult economic times.

Founder Alessandra De Benedetti wanted to create a service that could unite people and allow freelancers to be supported by anyone:

income source

“It’s not a recurring source of income but it supplements a lost gig and can help with immediate needs like groceries,” says De Benedetti, co-creator of Leveler and founder of DBA Studio, a creative shop based in New York City.

“Having basic needs covered shouldn’t be considered a privilege, it’s a born right,” says De Benedetti, “so we’re moving as fast as we can to get access to as many people as possible and ultimately, it’s up to the communities to decide how they want to use it or how well it will work – the bones are all there.”

This support could be extremely meaningful in a world where 25 million people are expected to lose their jobs due to economic contraction stemming from the coronavirus.

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