Cryptocurrencies are often in the news these days. If it isn’t enough that the value of Bitcoin has risen to a new high of $60,000 (€50,500) for the first time, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, is spending billions in it.
While it is becoming more normal to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, the possibilities for spending them are limited due to their volatility.
However, a growing number of businesses across a wide range of industries – from major tech to airlines – are embracing cryptocurrencies and allowing customers to pay for their goods and services with them.
Elon Musk, the CEO of electric manufacturer Tesla, has had a rocky relationship with Bitcoin. Earlier this year, the firm announced that it will accept Bitcoin payments for automobile purchases in the United States. It follows Elon Musk’s company’s $1.5 billion (€1.2 billion) investment in the cryptocurrency in February. This has now been turned on its head, with Tesla announcing that Bitcoin transactions will be halted until more than 50% of tokens are mined using renewable energy.
Starbucks customers can now pay for drinks and merchandise with converted Bitcoin via the new Bakkt app, following a successful pilot. 500,000 people signed up for the invitation-only, early access program to test the digital wallet as a payment mechanism, according to the app’s founders.
Microsoft’s acceptance of Bitcoin payments, as one of the world’s leading software businesses, is crucial in terms of instilling trust in the use of cryptos. Bitcoin, which can be redeemed for credit and used to top up user accounts, can be used to pay for a variety of services, including Xbox Live and Skype.
The company’s interest in cryptography isn’t limited to that. In late March, Microsoft introduced ION, a two-layered authentication technology based on blockchain, on the Bitcoin network. Instead of accepting cash, the system generates digital IDs that may be used to verify online identities.
Customers in Switzerland will be able to pay their bills with Bitcoin starting in April, according to the insurance broker behemoth. Since the company’s market analysis in 2019, roughly a third of respondents aged 18 to 55 had invested in cryptocurrencies or were interested in doing so, and the choice to embrace them has been in the works.
Customers will now be able to pay their non-life insurance premiums using a reference number printed on their bills, which will be converted into Swiss Francs via the crypto exchange Bitcoin Suisse.
The Pavilion Hotels & Resorts group, based in Hong Kong, has become the first international hotel chain to accept cryptocurrency payments as the latest enterprise to do so.
Beginning in July, the company, which owns properties in Amsterdam, Madrid, Lisbon, and Rome as well as Bali and Phuket, will accept bookings in 40 different currencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, thanks to a partnership with payment provider Coindirect.
Amazon was rumoured earlier this year to be joining the ranks of other internet behemoths, such as Facebook, in laying the basis for its own proprietary cryptocurrency. However, the e-commerce company does not take cryptos directly at this time. You may, however, purchase Amazon vouchers through Bitrefill, a crypto-only startup that makes living on cryptocurrency easier by converting Bitcoin into gift cards, phone refills, and other items.
Visa revealed at the end of March that it was testing a scheme with cryptocurrency platform Crypto.com to accept cryptocurrency for payment settlement on its payment network. USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin cryptocurrency tethered to the value of the US dollar, will now be accepted.
PayPal users in the United States can now purchase, trade, or hold a select number of cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, following an announcement in October of last year. You’ll also be able to track bitcoins using the PayPal app. The sole disadvantage is that money cannot be transferred out of the digital wallet of the company.
PayPal said in August that users in the United Kingdom can now trade in Ether, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash on the company’s website and mobile app.
PayPal has been tight-lipped about its plans to spread the service to other nations.
In 2014, Latvian airline airBaltic became the first airline in the world to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for tickets. Since launching the payment option seven years ago, the company claims to have processed over 1,000 Bitcoin transactions. Following in its footsteps, LOT Polish Airlines, an eastern European carrier, followed suit the following year.
Sotheby’s, a prestigious auction house, originally accepted bitcoin as payment in late June and has now fully embraced both cryptos and NFTs.
Since announcing that cryptos were now accepted, it has accepted Bitcoin as payment for a rare 101 carat diamond that sold for $12.3 million (€10.4 million) in July. It became the most valuable item ever purchased at an auction using cryptocurrency.
The auction house will accept Bitcoin and Ether as payment for lots marked as “cryptocurrency payments.” Payments will only be accepted through specific recognized exchange wallets, including Coinbase, therefore there are certain limitations.
Through its relationship with the Centrapay platform, Amatil, the beverages giant’s bottler and distributor in the Asia-Pacific area, has enabled cryptocurrency as a payment mechanism. By 2020, there will be over 2,000 vending machines in Australia and New Zealand that take cryptocurrency as payment for drinks.
In 2015, LOT Polish Airlines stated that it would accept Bitcoin as a payment mechanism for flights, following in the footsteps of airBaltic. Despite the passage of six years since its decision, LOT remains one of the few European airlines that accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.
Expedia, through its relationship with crypto-friendly travel booking platform Travala, is one of the most well-known travel providers to accept Bitcoin. More than 30 different cryptos, including Bitcoin, may now be used to book 700,000 hotels from the website’s listings.
Lush was one of the first worldwide corporations to adapt to the usage of cryptocurrencies, completely embracing them in 2017 when, through a cooperation with Bitpay.com, the handmade cosmetics company began to accept Bitcoin payments for orders on its website.
Kiara Sofia Smith
My current focus is blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. One could even call me a blockchain “enthusiast.” I have worked for almost a decade on several financial projects related to the stock market news, fundamental research and technical analysis for several blogs.
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