Expedia has announced it is now accepting bitcoin, an online virtual currency, as a form of payment for hotel purchases.
It is thought to be the first time customers have been able to book holiday accommodation through a consumer website using a virtual currency.
Bitcoin is stored on computer hard drives and has been the subject of controversy because it is difficult to track by governments, and its value has fluctuated wildly in recent years. It is however, becoming increasingly popular as a form of payment, with several major companies and individuals publicly throwing their weight behind it.
Michael Gulmann, vice president for Expedia global product, said: “Expedia is in a unique position…to solve travel planning and booking for our customers and partners alike by adopting the latest payment technologies.
“We’re continually looking at ways consumers want to pay their travel; bitcoin is a great example of how Expedia is investing early in an array of payment options to give our customers and partners more choice in the ways they interact with us.”
Expedia partnered with Coinbase, a third-party bitcoin payment processor, to integrate bitcoin payment support into the hotel booking process on Expedia.com.
Customers can now select bitcoin as a payment option at check-out before following the steps to safely and securely complete each transaction.
Fred Ehrsam co-founder of Coinbase, said: “We are pleased to partner Expedia.com to welcome them into the growing community of forward-thinking companies that have opened their business to accept bitcoin payments.
“By accepting bitcoin as a form of payment, Expedia is giving a wider community of users the opportunity to book hotels from their site’s inventory of properties all around the world quickly and easily.”