We all know the story of Bitcoin and Pizza, the first ever physical product to be purchased using Bitcoin. Laszlo Hanyecz bought 2 Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 BTC on 22nd May 2010. It was those times when the value of 10,000 BTCs was equivalent to about $25. Bitcoin has come a long way since then. Now we can buy anything (well, I mean almost anything) with Bitcoin, but from a limited number of vendors.
E-commerce industry has caught up with Bitcoin, people can buy stuff from online shops by either paying directly or indirectly with Bitcoin. Rakuten, a major Japanese e-commerce player has started accepting Bitcoin, and for those sites like Amazon which hasn’t adopted Bitcoin payments yet, people can always buy gift cards or vouchers from third-party sites with Bitcoin and use it later to buy stuff of these sites.
That’s not all, airline tickets can now be bought with Bitcoin. The first airline to accept Bitcoin payments was airBaltic, a Latvian airliner. They started accepting this digital currency as a mode of payment almost a year ago. Now we have another latest addition to the list in the form of TAR Aerolineas.
TAR Aerolineas is a Mexico based airline operator which was started early last year. Headquartered in Queretaro, the company operates a fleet of 8 Embraer ERJ 145 aircrafts to connect 12 destinations across the country. With the announcement regarding acceptance of Bitcoin, TAR Aerolineas became the first Latin American airlines to include Bitcoin payments.
The Bitcoin payment service for TAR Aerolineas is provided by Openpay through BitPay. It is also a major milestone for Openpay as TAR became the first merchant to accept Bitcoin through its platform. According to Jose Calzadias – Commercial Manager and PR for TAR, they have started accepting Bitcoin to provide a better customer experience while promoting economic and tourist activity in Mexico. It will also be helpful for international tourist who would want to avoid forex charges on currency conversion to pay for the tickets.
It is surprising to see that the smaller players in the airline industry are taking a more proactive approach to explore alternative modes of payments, while the big giants are still lying dormant. Guess it is bound to change soon.