Kuinoma, borrow/rent what you can’t afford to buy

By: Zita Floret

When times of economical crisis are hitting hard you can always rely on your neighbours and when you have some expensive equipment you don’t need every day you can always put it on Kuinoma.

Kuinoma is what we call a P2P platform. For quite a low renting price you can borrow expensive sports equipment, outdoors- and handy-craft material as well as party dresses or cars. Kuinoma is a platform which brings together, people who wish to share and or borrow equipments for special occasions. The stuff you can borrow goes from the tent to the party dress, bikes to every kind of sports equipment.

My group and I tried to understand what this community was made of and how it worked and what could make it fail or disappear.

On the website you first have to register if you want to either borrow or lend stuff. I say borrow because the prices are quite low compared to what you might find on the market.

The guy who founded this community was trying out many different kinds of sports which involved expensive equipment. Thanks to the website he can lend his stuff and maybe even, eventually, gain back what he paid for the equipments. Most of all people can now use his stuff for a low renting fee instead of these things sitting in the closet.

Why so cheap? Maybe because the process happens between the one who borrows and the one who owns. There is no profit making involved. You can even as soon as registered put your opinion whether the price for borrowing is too high or not. This makes it more like a borrowing then a renting community.

It is a very old idea, to share stuff. The Kuinoma community can be put in different already existing sharing concepts such as « collaborative consumption » and « P2P ». These two terms define almost the same thing when the second one is using a platform on the internet.

The Kuinoma community is part of the society but involves a tiny minority which we may call “early adopters” . This happens way before the phenomenon gets to the “mainstream” of the population. This is the most important thing to remember when looking closely at this community: it is a very small community and therefore also easily controllable.

The way this community works is through trust, within society, as a very small part of it. People have the will to share and trust other people and the platform, which allows the community to have rules and an overview.

Does money have any impact on this community? Where is money an issue? Money might be one of the reasons people integrate this community; because they can’t afford to own some equipments that they don’t need all the time. The money issue might then be one of the reasons why people want to be part of this community. But is money an issue inside the community? Considering that the price for renting/borrowing these items is quite low, money sort of disappears and is replaced by trust and will of sharing.

We found out that in this very situation of Kuinoma, people borrowing stuff were more inclined to return it in the same or a better condition than the condition they borrowed it in. Considering that the renting fee is usually very low it is not the cost which makes people more responsible here it is the fact that you get in contact directly with the person, the social connection. The cost doesn’t apply to the value of the items.

So what could make it fail or disappear?

There might be different degrees in failure; the failure of the whole community or small failures. Things that might make an individual fail as part of the community would be to break the trust by breaking an item for example or not to respect the low renting fees the whole site seems to be based on. Then the individual would fail in being part of the community as it doesn’t respect the basic rules.

But if we look at the community as a whole, it gets more difficult. Things that might make it fail are much less likely to happen, as the community is imbedded in societal behaviour.  This behaviour might not be mainstream but it has a history and legitimacy. So if the society was to change to another kind of society for example. Or if trust was to be broken by more than half of the community Kuinoma might disappear. Or if the website was to disappear.