Online travel booking site Expedia announced it will accept Bitcoin for hotel reservations beginning Wednesday this week. Users would just have to select Bitcoin as a payment option instead of current choices, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners Club and PayPal. The payment option is integrated using Coinbase, a digital wallet, as the processing option (Skift).
Although Expedia isn’t the first online travel agency to accept Bitcoin as Calabasas, it is setting a standard as one of the major players in online travel. The first company in the travel sector to accept Bitcoins was California-based CheapAir, which began doing so for flights in November 2013 and also hotels in February 2014. Meanwhile other companies have started to offer similar schemes, such as MGM Resorts International and HomeAway, a vacation rental booking site. No major airline carriers have approved the currency for payments. For the time being, Expedia is only accepting Bitcoin for hotel reservations. The company will expand the payment option for other services depending on the success with hotels.
Bitcoin enables electronic purchases, even though the currency isn't linked to any particular country. It's got technophiles excited, but its shift toward the mainstream has been difficult over the last year. However, Expedias push might help the currency to establish itself even more. Given that a major e-commerce site lending its brand clout to a new technology and making its sizeable customer base aware that it believes Bitcoin is legitimate, not risky, could help the crypto currency to become mainstream. In the US, the vast majority of customers pay with credit cards, but many other forms of payment are popular in other countries, and Bitcoin is particularly popular in southeast Asia.
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