Amid growing regulatory concerns about the cryptocurrency space, a relatively large European airline has taken a brave step, recently revealing that it may soon accept Bitcoin payments for airline tickets. If confirmed, this payments method would mark one of the largest adoption events for BTC thus far.
Bitcoin Takes to the Sky
Sorry, Bitcoin believers, the cryptocurrency is first taking to the sky before the moon. According to a recent report from Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, the fittingly-named Norwegian Air, which is marketed as a low-cost, budget airline, is looking into directly accepting Bitcoin payments for airfare.
According to the publication, this move stems from a pro-crypto attitude from the son of Bjørn Kjos, Lars Kjos. The junior Kjos purportedly has invested over $400,000 into the cryptocurrency market since at least late-2017.
His proponency for this asset class also likely led his father to push for the creation of the Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX), an exchange slated to launch in August that will cater to a number of countries in Europe.
NBX is expected to integrate Norwegian Air’s reward program, which will give cryptocurrency investors the opportunity to save on airfare and to gain access to certain upgrades by using the exchange for its intended purpose. A roughly translated excerpt from the local media outlet reads:
“NBX’s customers are given the opportunity to earn ‘cash points’ on trades on the crypto exchange, as well as on payments made through the payment solution NBX provides for the airline.”
It has also been reported by Dagens Næringsliv that NBX will be the medium through which the European airline accepts Bitcoin payments.
Crypto & Travel, a Match Made in Heaven
Norwegian Air’s embrace of cryptocurrencies is the latest in a seeming trend to associate crypto with travel — a global asset class with a global pastime.
Per previous reports from Blockonomi, Lolli, a Bitcoin fintech startup launched just months ago, recently bagged a partnership with Hotels.com. Started in late-June, users of Lolli can earn Bitcoin when they book vacations with Hotels.com.
The site, which sees over 55 million visits each month, joins Priceline, Hotwire, Hilton, the Marriott, among other travel-centric partners of Lolli. While the exact reward scheme for Hotels.com varies, Lolli clients can earn “up to” 3.5% back on their bookings, in Bitcoin no less.
Excited to officially announce Lolli's partnership with https://t.co/x6aEaNWpiS!
Starting today, @trylolli users will now be able to stack sats (aka earn bitcoin) when they book travel with one of the biggest travel companies in the world.
— Alex Adelman (@alexadelman) June 25, 2019
Also, Cheapair, a discount online travel agency, has been accepting Bitcoin for years now. Most notably, Booking Holdings, the conglomerate behind Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, Kayak.com, and other notable sites, was mentioned as a partner in the Libra Association.
While it is unclear how the travel giant will be using Libra, it has been suggested that should the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency launch successfully and see wide adoption, Booking Holdings’ subsidiaries may accept it as a proper payment medium.
Cryptocurrencies have also seen adoption outside of travel. As reported by this outlet on a previous date, video game streaming service Twitch has begun to accept subscription payments via BitPay once again, giving viewers a chance to contribute to their favorite gamers with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Also, electronics distributor Avnet, privacy-centric browser Tor, and telecommunications giant AT&T recently added cryptocurrency payments.
And, Flexa, a payments ecosystem that allows merchants to accept cryptocurrencies and receive U.S. dollars, is currently enabling Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Gemini Dollar payments in over 39,250 stores (and counting) across the United States.
Retail and restaurant chains that accept Flexa-backed payments, which are routed primarily through Gemini, include Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, GameStop, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Petco, and Whole Foods.