The global economy is becoming increasingly digital, and it’s no surprise that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are starting to have an impact on the travel industry. Many travel agencies now accept Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital currencies as payment, with some even providing discounts to customers who pay in cryptocurrency. Here is a list of popular travel booking platforms that take BTC and embrace blockchain technology.
1inch Network to bring crypto payments to the travel industry
On Thursday, the decentralized exchange aggregator 1inch Network announced a partnership with the travel booking platform Travala.com, which will allow users to pay for their hotel bookings with cryptocurrency. Users of Travala.com can now use their favorite cryptocurrency to purchase millions of goods, thanks to this collaboration. This decision is expected to boost crypto adoption and foster innovation in the travel industry.
The integration with Travala.com will allow 1INCH token holders to book over 2.2 million hotels and residences, 600-plus airlines, and 400,000-plus activities in 230 countries. This is a huge step forward for the 1INCH Network, which will now be able to offer its services to a broader range of users.
TravelX raises $10 million to build a blockchain-based travel distribution protocol
TravelX, a new firm, recently received $10 million in seed financing to create a blockchain-based distribution network for travel. Juan Pablo Lafosse, the former CEO and creator of Almundo, launched the Miami-based business last year. He believes that blockchain technology will provide businesses with additional distribution alternatives as well as help them to deal with stock more effectively in a variety of situations.
Alternative Airlines partners accept cryptocurrency payments
As reported by Cointelegraph, Alternative Airlines — a travel company based in the United Kingdom — partnered with cryptocurrency service Utrust to facilitate payments with crypto.
Alternative Airlines became the first merchant in the travel business to partner with Utrust on Nov. 13, when it announced a new relationship with the Swiss-based digital payments processor. Customers can book flights using cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, Dash, DigiByte (DGB), and Utrust's native currency, UTK.
On its web and mobile applications, Destinia, a well-known hotel and flight booking service founded in 2001 by Ian Webber and Amuda Goueli, provides discounts to BTC users.
The company, based in Spain, has been an early adopter of cryptocurrency payments. In 2014, Destinia.com became the first online travel agency in the Middle East to accept BTC payments. With Bitcoin integration, the business swiftly became one of the most popular payment options offered by the firm, with transaction volumes mirroring that of PayPal.
Lawmakers in the United States are moving to protect the country from the potential undesirable impacts of the global adoption of China’s national digital currency.
Three Republican senators, Tom Cotton, Mike Braun and Marco Rubio, introduced a bill on Wednesday, aiming to limit the use of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the United States.
The bill is referred to as “Defending Americans from Authoritarian Digital Currencies Act” and proposes to prohibit the use of China’s digital currency payment system, e-CNY, for U.S. app stores and other purposes.
The term “app store” covers all publicly accessible websites, software apps or other electronic services distributing apps from third-party developers to users of computers, mobile devices or any other “general-purpose computing device,” the senators noted.
According to the bill, app and software distributors in the U.S. shall not support or enable transactions in e-CNY or support any app that features such transactions in the country.
The senators reasoned that banning China’s digital yuan in the U.S. would help the nation avoid “direct control” and surveillance of users’ financial activity.
“The Chinese Communist Party will use its digital currency to control and spy on anyone who uses it. We can’t give China that chance — the United States should reject China’s attempt to undermine our economy at its most basic level.”
“We cannot allow this authoritarian regime to use their state-controlled digital currency as an instrument to infiltrate our economy and the private information of American citizens,” senator Braun said. “This is a major financial and surveillance risk that the United States cannot afford to make,” Rubio stated.
China is one of the world’s first countries to pilot its own digital currency, launching its first digital yuan trials in April 2019. Following multiple internal tests, the Chinese government has been actively promoting cross-border implementations of the digital yuan, working with central banks of Hong Kong, Singapore and others.
Historically, U.S. authorities have viewed the Chinese CBDC as a national security threat. In March, another bill also proposed to limit the use of China’s digital yuan as it may be used to circumvent sanctions and compromise users' personal information.
As reported by the University of Sao Paulo (USP), the metaverse-centric research will be carried out by research groups interested in 3D modeling, psychology and human behavior, and the effectiveness of virtual and augmented reality devices. These research domains will be evaluated within the context of the metaverse to understand how the new virtual world impacts user interactions.
USP professor Marcos A. Simplicio Jr. highlighted that this is the first time USP had received a nonfungible token (NFT) via partnership. The token in question is a rare piece of land in the United States of Mars (USM) metaverse, which is being built in collaboration with other universities.
"USP is the first university in Latin America to have a partnership with USM to support the construction of its metaverse," said Simplicio.
The partnership will initially feature a collaboration with researchers stemming from an existing agreement called the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), which is sponsored by Ripple.
As Cointelegraph reported, opportunities involving the metaverse were discussed at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, which concluded on Thursday. Specifically, the panel titled “The Possibilities of the Metaverse” explored how metaverse technologies can be used to enhance children’s learning. The panel featured Philip Rosedale, co-founder of High Fidelity; Pascal Kaufmann, founder of Mindfire Foundation; Peggy Johnson, CEO of Magic Leap; Hoda AlKhzaimi, assistant research professor at New York University, Abu Dhabi and Edward Lewin, vice president of Lego Group.
“One in three people using the internet are young adults and children, so I would really focus on building from kids’ perspective, given they are the future users,” Lewin said during the panel discussion.
The University of Sao Paulo and United States of Mars (USM), which recently rebranded from Radio Caca, have announced an agreement that aims to promote research around the technical, economic and legal aspects of the Metaverse.
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