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Are Cryptocurrencies the Future for Holidaymakers?

Bitcoin and various other digital currencies are not only being purchased as investment assets, they are also being used to help individuals travel around the world.

Unlike fiat currencies, which are dished out by central banks and influenced by national and regional economies, cryptocurrencies are 100% decentralized and their values are therefore tightly aligned with their supply and demand.

The value of bitcoin has been a particularly fascinating topic of conversation in 2017. Just over 12 months ago, one bitcoin was only worth $800 and at the beginning of December 2017 it touched $17,000 per bitcoin. This increase in value has seen many people look to cash in on their cryptocurrency investments to spend on lavish holidays.

From long-haul flights to luxury yachts

Image: justluxe.com

More than three years ago in June 2014, Expedia, one of the world’s leading online travel agents, revealed it would accept bitcoin as a form of payment for booking flights and holiday accommodation via Coinbase. Regrettably, leading holiday rentals and short-term lodging marketplace Airbnb does not yet accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, but a tweet by the website’s founder Brian Chesky suggests Bitcoin is one of the most popular user suggestions for the platform to introduce in the coming months.

Furthermore, there is a growing number of Bitcoin-exclusive travel sites, like ABitSky and BTCTrip, which only allow travellers to purchase flights using bitcoin. For example, a long-haul flight from Barcelona to Dubai in mid-May 2018 would cost an individual 0.2057 BTC when booking through ABitSky.

Another leading online flight booking portal, CheapAir.com, has been processing bitcoin payments in exchange for flight seats since November 2013 and it has reportedly facilitated more than $15 million worth of bitcoin transactions since that period. Other modes of holiday transport are increasingly acknowledging digital currency as a legitimate means of payment. A growing number of car rental firms around the world are accepting bitcoin as payment for holiday vehicles, while the likes of CheapAir.com and Destinia are already offering car rental services for bitcoin owners.

For those afraid of flying or those wishing to travel in style and sophistication, it’s possible to purchase and rent luxury yachts. BitPremier is a marketplace which regularly advertises the availability of mega yachts that normally only the rich and famous would be able to get their hands on. In addition, American yacht rental firm Denison Yacht Sales also allow their customers to rent their boats for a weekly bitcoin fee. It’s crazy just how readily available bitcoin ATMs are today worldwide.

Although some bitcoin cards are still not accepted widely at point of sale, there is a growing number of cash machines where bitcoin owners can exchange their digital currency into the local fiat currency. At the time of writing, CoinATMRadar says there are now 2,004 ‘BTMs’ in operation in 61 nations worldwide. Although many BTMs are located in well-established cities and towns, they also exist in more remote locations such as Barbados, the Canary Islands and even Costa Rica.

Furthermore, bitcoin ‘gyft’ cards from gyft.com can also be purchased to use at merchants with worldwide outlets such as Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza and Burger King for much-needed refreshment.

Other industries embracing cryptocurrencies

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The travel and tourism sector is just one of many industries that have embraced the use of bitcoin and other leading cryptocurrencies.

The residential and commercial real estate industry is beginning to integrate cryptocurrencies as one of their preferred methods of payment. Czech Republic-based firm HOME Hunters, which oversees rentals and sales on the Czech property market, accept commission via their crypto wallets with all deals recorded instantly and securely on the blockchain for 100% transparency.

In London, developers The Collective are allowing those seeking shared rental accommodation to pay for their rent and deposits in bitcoin. As for the iGaming sector, according to Betway Casino it is fast acknowledging digital currencies for online casino payments, due largely to the instantaneous nature of bitcoin transactions and the no-fee nature of completing these deposits and withdrawals via bitcoin exchanges. Finally, the online music streaming industry, which reportedly saw revenues of $15.7 billion in 2016, is also beginning to take note.

The blockchain technology, which processes all crypto transactions, can be utilized to transfer payments directly to artists’ wallets and use smart contracts to immediately put a stop to licensing disputes.

Is bitcoin the future for holidaymakers?

The unrivaled security of transactions and their decentralized nature – away from fiat currency exchange rates – means that cryptocurrencies will continue to redefine the concept of digital payment processing for holidaymakers worldwide.

Bitcoin payments for holiday-related bookings can now be made using just smartphone devices via wallet apps at the touch of a button, with exceptionally low transfer fees and almost instant transaction completion that enable thrifty travellers to save money overseas.

As consumers, we all enjoy frictionless transactions, and if cryptocurrencies can make the holiday process even less painful in the New Year we will certainly drink to that.