Would you ever engage in an “around the world” trip with only bitcoin and crypto in your wallet? It sounds like a challenging feat, but for one man, the trip became a reality through what’s known as the Money 2020 Payments Race.
Racing with Digital Currency
The person who made this trip is Alex Hobern, the reality star of a controversial television program in the United Kingdom known as, “The Circle.” Hobern took part in the Payments Race and was part of Team Crypto, meaning he could only use digital assets to pay for things like hotel rooms, airfare, meals and other assorted travel-based items. The trip lasted 12 days and took Hobern through many different regions of the globe including the U.K., Ireland, Canada, eastern Europe and the Middle East. The trip (and the race) ended in Amsterdam.
While he admits that the trip was fun, the entire situation was a huge challenge and a learning experience for him. He admits that he had virtually no cryptocurrency experience prior to taking part in the race. While he was aware of what cryptocurrency was, he had never utilized it or engaged in crypto trading prior to the event.
He ultimately had to learn about cryptocurrencies as he went, utilizing sites like Coin Map to find crypto-accepting hotels and restaurants. For the most part, he says he used Ripple’s XRP and ether tokens to pay his way through the 12-day race. He comments:
In general, the easiest parts were the hotels and flights. There were middlemen who were able to accept bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in exchange for booking these things.
One of the biggest problems Hobern appears to have encountered on his journey is the extreme lack of cryptocurrency knowledge and education amongst everyday citizens. It’s one thing for a company to say it accepts cryptocurrency as a means of payment, but if it’s not going to train its employees in what it is or how it can be used, that’s going to defeat the purpose.
Hobern discusses one situation in which he came across a store in Ireland that allegedly accepted bitcoin:
There were a lot of stores and merchants who said online or in their window that they accepted bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, but we were unable to use it when we arrived. One in Ireland had a bitcoin sign in the window, but the person behind the counter didn’t know what bitcoin was.
Happy with Crypto; Not So Much with the Team?
In the long run, Hobern says that the experience has been quite positive and has given him a taste for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. He states:
I’ve certainly got the bitcoin and cryptocurrency bug. I’d do the race again, but I’m not sure if I’d want to be on Team Crypto.