The ever-expanding business uptake of bitcoin continues as more companies realize its increasing popularity amongst tech-savvy consumers. As a result, many progressive companies like Virgin Galactic, Overstock.com, and Atomic Mail have embraced the digital currency as a method of payment. Now Expedia.com has added its name to that list by announcing that it, too, will accept bitcoins for payment of hotel accommodation.
Bitcoin is seeing a steady increase in its exchange in businesses worldwide, not just because it has a public ledger that indicates it is set up as a trustworthy and secure technology, but because consumer uptake is increasing. Not the least of which is because Bitcoin is touted as basically inflation-proof. That is, the gradual restriction of supply – rather than a continued production of money like in "quantitative easing" – is part of the Bitcoin protocol. Total supply is topped at a loosely-defined limit of 21 million, and every four years the creation rate of bitcoins is halved.
To help create a Bitcoin payment system, Expedia partnered with Coinbase, a third-party Bitcoin payment processor, to integrate bitcoin payment support on Expedia.com. A Bitcoin consumer wallet and merchant payment processing platform, Coinbase claims 1.3 million consumer wallets and the support of 32,000 merchants. Coinbase’s business model includes securely storing bitcoins in the cloud, accepting bitcoins as payment and receiving funds in US dollars.
"Expedia, Inc. is in a unique position, as one of the world’s leading online travel agencies, to solve travel planning and booking for our customers and partners alike by adopting the latest payment technologies," said Michael Gulmann, Vice President, Expedia Global Product. "We’re continually looking at ways consumers want to pay for their travel; bitcoin is a great example of how Expedia is investing early in an array of payment options to give our customers and partners more choice in the ways they interact with us."
Expedia customers can find and select Bitcoin as a payment option at check-out along with all other methods accepted on its website, including all the major credit cards, Discover, JCB, Diners Club and PayPal. To purchase hotel reservations using bitcoins, customers indicate this as their method of payment at the appropriate prompt and then follow a few more steps to complete the transaction.
Expedia’s acceptance of Bitcoin for hotel transactions begins this week.