Online travel firm Expedia Inc has announced that it will now allow the use of bitcoin to make payments for hotel bookings in response to demand mostly from international travelers. The decision makes it the biggest online travel agency to accept bitcoin payments.
Expedia revealed that its partnership with San Francisco-based bitcoin processor Coinbase Inc will allow travelers to pay for their hotel bookings by helping convert bitcoins into cash, reported Bloomberg. It added that it will also accept bitcoin payments for airline trips and tickets if the demand, according to its vice president Michael Gulmann.
Already, CheapAir.com started accepting bitcoin payments in November last year. Other prominent online firm that accept bitcoins include Overstock.com and Tiger Direct Inc.
“We think there’s growth potential for bitcoin as a currency,” Gulmann said. “We see it now as something that’s growing that we want to be a part of. If you look back 14 to 15 years, PayPal was a strange thing that was out there in e-commerce, and now it’s fairly mainstream.”
Expedia will start with hotels in order to test the payment system, according to Gulmann. He revealed that if the initiative turns out successful, the company will start accepting bitcoins for other bookings.
Bitcoin, a virtual currency that was created in 2009 that isn’t backed by any central bank or government, has rapidly gained popularity over its short life. Recently, Dish Network announced last month that it will start accepting bitcoin payments this year. Earlier in June, EBay’s CEO John Donahoe signaled that PayPal will soon integrate bitcoin, while Apple said it will allow interested developers to create apps that facilitate bitcoin transactions. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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