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You will likely have to use cryptocurrency to cash out the ransomware hacker who frozen your laptop, but where else could you put all of your bitcoins, ethereum and other digital coins in for actual use?

Tesla may still be unsure whether Bitcoin will be accepted again for its electric vehicles, but cryptocurrency holders can now grapple with other avenues as travel companies warm up to the idea.

Airfare website Cheapair.com, Latvian airline Air Baltic and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic have long accepted Bitcoin, and Berlin-based tour and activity booking site GetYourGuide started accepting Dogecoin in June as part of its U.S. expansion, that are processed via BitPay

Cryptocurrency transactions are becoming “really important for travel,” and his company is considering accepting other coins in the future, said Johannes Reck, CEO and co-founder of GetYourGuide.

“People want to get their crypto back into the system [and] Travel is one of the biggest categories out there, ”he added. “We’re bringing Dogecoin into the real world now; You can apply it and actually have a real, kinetic experience. “

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Cryptocurrency also appeals to younger generations of travelers, say industry players.

Alex Simon, co-founder and CEO of the upcoming travel app Elude, said next-generation vacationers are “looking for modern ways to plan and book trips.”

“The ability to buy your plane ticket or hotel using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is inevitable,” he added. “Although the travel industry is antiquated, the new generation of travelers, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, will require new forms of payment and alternative ways to buy travel.” (It is widely believed that Gen Alpha is made up of those born after 2010, often the children of millennials.)

Other tourism players currently engaged in crypto transactions include Nevada’s new Resorts World Las Vegas hotel, which it accepts for select payments through a partnership with UK crypto exchange firm Gemini, and the Bobby Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, where guests stay and Can book events with Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies via BitPay.

For its part, the online travel agency giant Expedia stopped accepting Bitcoin directly in 2018, but since 2020 700,000 hotels and accommodations of the Expedia group have been available via the crypto-friendly booking platform Travala.com.

Travala.com also works with Tripadvisor company Viator to offer more than 400,000 bookable activities as well as food delivery company Zomato.

At the self-described “blockchain-based” Travala.com, which accepts payments in its own native AVA altcoin as well as 50 other cryptocurrencies, 70% of all bookings are now made via digital coins, according to CEO Juan Otero. The company said it is currently seeing more than $ 1 million a week in business.

“These are massive partnerships with some of the largest online travel brands in the world, all of whom use crypto,” Otero said. “In total, Travala.com offers over 3 million travel products, which not only makes us the biggest crypto-friendly ones [online travel agency]but one of the greatest overall. “

Is B&B now “bed-and-blockchain”?

Matthew Leete | Photo disc | Getty Images

The cryptocurrency model is also starting to change the travel industry itself. Otero said it was the core of Dtravel, which he described as a new decentralized home sharing network based on the blockchain model that Travala.com launched in June.

“There is not a single board of directors who makes all the decisions,” he said. “Instead, this new home-sharing network is run entirely by its community through its ‘Decentralized Autonomous Organization’, which any host or guest can participate in.”

Otero said the blockchain technology on which Dtravel is built enables “smart contracts” between hosts and guests. The platform revolves around TRVL, its native crypto token.

The token is made available to all registered hosts and every guest can buy it; those who have TRVL are voting members of the Dtravel DAO. (More than $ 35 million in TRVL awards were reserved for the first 100,000 hosts to register with Dtravel, Otero said. On July 21, Dtravel announced that it had joined more than 200,000 properties in more than 2,000 cities. The platform aims to list more than 1 million rentals in the first year.)

There is certainly no isolated island that all crypto enthusiasts travel to.

Juan Otero

CEO of Travala.com

“Hosts can propose changes – for example fee structure, organizational policy, use of shared funds – and vote so that it is possible [them] control the fate of the Dtravel platform to meet its evolving needs, “he said.

In a world of an estimated 100 million cryptocurrency holders, where consumers spent more than $ 1 billion on crypto in the first half of 2021 alone, everything makes sense, according to Otero. An April 1st Travala.com poll of 1,000 Americans found that 71% of respondents plan to spend more on travel than they did before Covid, and a surprising quarter say they will pay for some of that with crypto.

Still, for many, crypto trading seems to be the responsibility of a particular subset of the population – say, the Elon Musks of the world. But in general, people who use digital coins on Travala.com book everything from cheap travel at online travel agents to its luxury concierge branded products, Otero said, and their preferred travel destinations are not much different from those who pay traditionally Cash or credit.

“There is certainly no isolated island that all crypto enthusiasts travel to,” he added, although he noted that crypto uptake in Travala.com’s second and third most popular destinations was above the global average. Turkey and United Arab Emirates. (The US is the # 1 seller of the platform.)

“As more people own cryptocurrencies and more companies accept them for real things, travel is of course a desirable experience to use crypto,” he said.

Of course, Bitcoin and competing coins can fluctuate greatly in value; Because of this, travel providers tend not to rely on the volatile tokens, but have third-party vendors convert them to fiat values ​​at the time of purchase, says Otero.

Consumers also reserve their options. “We generally see more credit card payments for travel when crypto prices are down than when they are sky high,” Otero said.