Expedia, an online travel booking service, announced on the morning of Wednesday, July 11, 2014 that it will begin accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment. Expedia will be the first major travel service to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment. The company said that it would start out small with its options for accepting Bitcoin payments, bringing Bitcoin to only hotels for the time being. If enough people use Bitcoin to pay for hotel reservations, then Expedia says that they will start expanding its acceptance to other lines of service, such as cruise and airline tickets. Customers will be able to pay for their hotels in Bitcoin upon checkout; the Bitcoin payment option will be placed alongside the other various payment methods, like credit cards and Paypal. Expedia will be receiving payments through Bitpay, which will take the bitcoins received and immediately convert them into dollars. Michael Gulmann clarified that this instant conversion was not “a statement on Bitcoin, pro or con,” but that the instant conversion from bitcoins to dollars is the default method of the Bitpay payment system.
“Customers simply indicate Bitcoin as their method of payment and then follow a few steps to safely and securely complete each transaction.”
Expedia is now the latest name in a growing list of major businesses that accept Bitcoin as payment for their goods and services. The travel company will now join the likes of Overstock, Elon Musk, Dish Network, Euro Pacific Precious Metals, and Virgin Galactic on the forefront of the rapidly expanding Bitcoin economy.
Expedia is no small company either. Their announcement to receive payments in Bitcoin is a major advancement that will bring further legitimacy to the Bitcoin community. The online booking agency has a market cap of $9.75 billion and reported $1.2 billion in revenue last quarter. Additionally, Expedia booked 146 million room nights just last year. Clearly, Expedia is a major player in the travel industry. The fact that they now accept Bitcoin is monumental. Although there was not an immediate spike in prices upon the announcement like there was with Dish Network, Expedia’s decision to accept Bitcoin serves as a continuation of the stream of good news in the Bitcoin community that will bring about steady growth in the purchasing power of Bitcoin. It is likely that Expedia’s decision will not result in a great jump in the price of Bitcoin, until the company actually implements the Bitcoin payment system throughout its network of hotels. Then, if that proves lucrative, the expansion of the Bitcoin payment network to Expedia’s other service lines will bring in a great increase in the value of Bitcoin.
We are coming closer and closer to the realization of a decentralized economy. Every day more and more businesses, like Expedia and Dish Network, are accepting Bitcoin as payment for their services. The use of Bitcoin by the general population, the consumers, will only grow as more business adopt Bitcoin. This spreading awareness of crypto-currency makes for an ever-growing threat to the centralized monetary system controlled by massive, bureaucratic governments, and these corrupt institutions are scrambling to keep the people away from Bitcoin. But it seems as if the people are not listening to their governments, or the central banks, that are destroying the value of their money.
The potential for Bitcoin-funded travel provided by Expedia through the acceptance of Bitcoin, combined with the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis’ acceptance of Bitcoin as payment for their investement-for-citizenship program, is setting up the early stages of the future, decentralized market economy. These two developments make it possible to travel across borders with a passport, hotel room, and potentially a plane ticket, all purchased without using government-controlled money. Travel is becoming more anonymous than ever; soon, no government will be able to track the activities of its citizens. That loss of control over the bodies and wallets of the people will render governments essentially useless, and the era of free society will be ushered in.