Do you see Bitcoin as a positive or negative element for the tourism industry?
Most of you have already heard about Bitcoin, but for those who haven’t or don’t quite understand it, the first thing you really need to know that it’s the first currency that can be moved freely over the internet between users.
This concept adapted to tourists has immense potential, and companies like Destinia have already picked up on the idea. Destinia was the first travel agency in the world to accept bitcoins as a payment method and also one of the first tourism companies to prepare its technological platforms for the payment system. Furthermore, Bitcoin has already established a presence in the Las Vegas market. In May of last year, the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel introduced the first Bitcoin ATM in the state on its premises, and a few months after the Golden Gate followed suit and started accepting Bitcoins for payments unrelated to gambling.
However, I’d like to point out just how this payment system can benefit the tourism sector:
- Global Currency: it doesn’t belong to any state or government, and you can use it all over the world, regardless of geographical or political barriers.
- Removed from the fiduciary system: debt cannot be created with Bitcoin, and its value doesn’t depend on the intervention of a central bank.
- Issue limit: the increasing demand against the limited supply will lead to an improvement in users’ purchasing power.
- Divisible currency: a bitcoin is currently divisible down to 8 decimal places, but there is no limit, and more decimals may be used in the future.
- Real-time transactions: the transaction is completed in less than an hour.
- Irreversible transactions: there’s no third party in the middle that can cancel a transaction. However, some services are available that can guard your bitcoins until the receiving party has fulfilled their part of the agreement.
- Impossible to falsify: as the bitcoin system is defined today it’s impossible to create a fake bitcoin or use it twice without the network detecting it.
- Anonymity: nobody is required to reveal their identity, and this makes bitcoin especially useful in countries governed by a totalitarian regime.
- Cheap: Bitcoin transaction fees are a lot more reasonable than using credit cards, bank transfers or Paypal.
- Secure: the cryptography behind Bitcoin protects it from being tampered with, it can be stored in multiple locations, and the technology on which the bitcoin protocol is based is several times more secure than that used by banks and credit cards.
- Transparency: all transactions are recorded in a public distributed ledger.
- Micro-payments: given its divisibility and low transaction costs it’s perfect currency making micro-payments.
- Operates 24 hours a day: there are no timetables, public holidays or weekends for bitcoin operations.
- It can be stored in a tiny space: you could amass a huge fortune on a USB stick that can be locked away someplace or moved without the need for a third party.
Sure, there are also problems such as the lack of regulation, the scarcity of places where it’s accepted or issued, etc. However, what is clear is that this phenomenon is closely tied to others that have been seen across the globe, where citizens’ and their autonomy prevail over the regulations that benefit a select few.
I find it interesting that new possibilities are appearing and that an industry as dynamic as the tourism sector takes advantage of these improvements. Everything that adds to and improves citizens’ freedom with proper regulation, including service, is a positive step in the right direction for the industry.