Less than a decade ago, cryptocurrencies were thought of as something underground, digital currencies that only digital tech enthusiasts were familiar with. Some adventurous companies accepted bitcoin payments for goods and services, but on the whole, their doing so was partially seen as little more than a gimmick. However, huge rises in value have made people sit up and pay much closer attention, with even Wall Street now investors taking cryptocurrencies seriously.
Major retailers are also getting in on the act, with over 100,000 merchants worldwide accepting bitcoin payments, including huge brands we recognize such as Microsoft and Expedia. For those of us who like to travel, the latter is particularly important as one of the key online presences in the tourism industry, which has led others to follow suit.
Online casinos have embraced the use of cryptocurrencies, particularly in countries where online gambling is prohibited or heavily restricted, making resources such as where to use bitcoin on Gamble.io useful when comparing them. Yet, surprisingly, when visiting the world’s most famous gambling destination, Las Vegas, you can’t yet fund your bets at the ‘Sin City’ casino tables with cryptocurrencies, although since 2014, both The Golden Gate and The D hotels have accepted bitcoin to pay for rooms, meals and gifts. There’s also a growing number of bitcoin ATM machines being installed around the city.
Image Source: @Vegas via Twitter
Given the recognised volatility of bitcoin markets, some say that investing in cryptocurrencies is a gamble in and of itself, but when it comes to the speed and ease of international transactions, accepting bitcoin payments has become increasingly appealing to the tourism industry. Expedia remains arguably the biggest name in the travel market to accept bitcoin, and although only hotel bookings with the currency are accepted at present, there are plans to expand that to flight bookings.
For adventurous tourists looking for a quite literally out of this world experience, Virgin Galactic led by eccentric British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, is expected to launch its first space tourism flights later in 2018. Branson himself is an admirer of bitcoin technology and a keen investor, so it comes as no surprise that back in 2013, he announced that Virgin Galactic customers can pay with bitcoins, highlighting a female flight attendant from Hawaii who had already done so.
Image Source: @Virgin via Twitter
Meanwhile, closer to home, while that flight attendant awaits her dream trip beyond Earth’s atmosphere, a hotel chain on her home islands has started to embrace bitcoin payments from visitors to one of their signature resorts. In March 2018, Kauai Shores Hotel began accepting cryptocurrencies as an online reservation option, and they’re just one of thousands of destinations around the globe now doing so.
Indeed, the travel industry appears to have been the most excited by the possibility of bitcoin transactions, as fortune.com highlighted in a recent report, pointing out that it’s now possible to book reservations at over 150,000 hotels around the world with cryptocurrency payments, while there are more and more airlines getting in on the act too, plus for more domestic vacation trips around the USA, the leading gas stations around the country are accepting CoinFuel gift cards as an increasingly popular form of payment.
If you have a wallet brimming with bitcoin and are thinking about your next vacation, the options for using your digital currency are increasing all the time. Bon voyage!