Controversial payment method gets a major boost
Travel agency Expedia is offering its customers an option to pay through bitcoins, on a trial basis limited to hotel payments in the US.
Expedia said that it will not directly deal with the bitcoins but has tied-up with bitcoin payment processor Coinbase to handle the transactions.
Customers are shown the prices in dollars and are offered an option to pay through bitcoins, in addition to cash or card payment.
Expedia vice president of global product Michael Gulmann said, "It’s quite similar to how we accept other forms of currency, particularly PayPal.
"A customer comes to our site, wants to pay for a hotel, decides to use PayPal, we indicate to PayPal that there’s a customer ready, PayPal conducts the payment, and sends us an indicator that the customer has paid, and we can provide the customer a receipt."
According to Gulmann, Expedia felt that providing more transaction choices to customers was an important step in improving online travel experience.
Expedia’s addition will be a major boost to the use of bitcoins which have been mired in controversies since their introduction in 2009. The collapse of Japanese bitcoin exchange MtGox, concerns over the safety of this means of payment, and taxation issues have marred its reputation but over 60,000 retailers across the world are accepting bitcoin payments.