Have Bitcoin, Will Travel

Bitcoin is continuing to move into the mainstream with the recent announcement that the online booking company Expedia will now accept the crypto-currency as a form of payment. The Expedia announcement is another in a recent trend of large-scale companies changing their policies regarding Bitcoin. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“This is one of those ideas that seemed to have sprung from three different places all at once,” said Michael Gulmann, Expedia’s vice president of global product, explaining how the company arrived at the decision. The company’s engineers were starting to think about bitcoin and the company’s product and business developers were as well, he explained. They also were hearing from customers.

The company is starting with hotels essentially as a test of the system, he explained. “We want to start at a reasonable, small place,” he said, and see if it will be feasible to expand it to other parts of the business. If the trial works well, and if customer support is there, he expects the company will start taking bitcoin for other bookings as well. “Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely,” he said.

Expedia, which is using Coinbase for bitcoin processing, won’t hold the digital currency it receives, but that’s not “a statement on bitcoin, pro or con,” Mr. Gulmann explained. Rather, Coinbase’s default setting is for a daily settlement back into U.S. dollars.

The decision by Expedia provides consumers with more choice regarding how they wish to carry out their financial transactions. Further, it gives the opportunity for consumers with large quantities of Bitcoin to be able to use their Bitcoin wealth to pay for family vacations, etc. This signals an introduction of Bitcoin into the extremely profitable tourism industry. As this is an industry where many consumers spend a significant amount of their expendable income, the decision by Expedia not only benefits the tourism industry itself, but it also signals that Bitcoin is a growing trend that is here to stay.

Read More- “Expedia Starts Accepting Bitcoin for Hotel Bookings” (Paul Vigna, The Wall Street Journal)

 

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A rising senior at Colgate University, John is currently working as a research fellow with Consumers' Research.

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