Expedia to accept Bitcoin for hotel bookings

Expedia has become the latest company to accept ‘virtual currency’ Bitcoin transactions as a form of payment.

The OTA will initially accept Bitcoins for hotel bookings only, and is currently restricting the trial to its US site, the BBC reported.

A number of smaller online travel sites already accept virtual currencies, including Travel Keys and CheapAir, but Expedia is the first company of its size to adopt Bitcoin.

Expedia global vice-president Michael Gulmann said the company was “in a unique position” to “solve travel planning and booking for our customers and partners alike by adopting the latest payment technologies”.

Expedia will use Bitcoin exchange Coinbase for processing transactions, but Mr Gulmann told the Wall Street Journal that the firm would not hold the currency, but would convert its Bitcoin deposits back into US dollars every 24 hours.

Emily Spaven, managing editor of Bitcoin news site CoinDesk, told the BBC the move was “brilliant news” and it “brings digital currency further into the consciousness of the mainstream”.

However, Bitcoin – the world’s most prominent crypto-currency – has been the subject of controversy in recent months.

The collapse of Japanese Bitcoin exchange MtGox, following a number of security breaches, harmed the currency’s reputation, and there have been several controversies surrounding taxation of transactions made with the online currency.

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