Brisbane Airport Will Soon Become Crypto-Friendly
Brisbane, capital of the Australian state of Queensland, will be making its airport terminal “crypto-friendly”. The plan is to have most of the airport’s restaurants, coffee shops, and other stores accept payments in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Brisbane Airport (BNE) will be partnering with TravelbyBit, a tourism company that offers a digital currency payment platform, to help various retailers at the airport to accept payments in cryptocurrency.
Roel Hellemons, General Manager for Strategic Planning & Development at Brisbane Airport Corporation, believes that many people who have made large profits from investing in cryptocurrencies also tend to travel a lot. Therefore, he says, “it makes sense to offer a digital currency experience within our terminals”. Some of the retailers at the airport that will accept crypto payments include Forte Espresso, Merino Collection, Windmill & Co, Botanist, and Carry On.
TravelbyBit’s Growing Network of Merchants
TravelbyBit, which started off as a relatively small crypto-startup, has managed to build a network of over 20 merchants in Brisbane who will accept payments in crypto. These merchants include up-scale hotels and airport transport companies. Caleb Yeoh, co-founder of TravelbyBit, says that there is a practical use case for digital currencies in the tourism sector. He explains that international travel requires dealing “with multiple currencies and you never know what exchange rates the banks are charging you”. Because of these complications, travelers would be better off if they switched over to cryptocurrencies, according to Mr. Yeoh. He describes crypto-transactions as “simple” and “safe” with “no bank fees”.
Since TravelbyBit has already put together a network of merchants in Brisbane who accept cryptocurrencies, extending this network to include the city’s airport seems logical and it will probably just make it even more convenient for travelers who prefer to use cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment. According to recent data, Brisbane’s airport happens to be one of Australia’s busiest airports. Nearly 23 million people traveled through the airport in 2016 alone. So, giving people the option to pay using crypto could potentially encourage a lot more people to spend money at the city’s airport. Obviously, this would be good for business.
Challenges That Lie Ahead
By allowing the airport’s passengers to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrencies, the city’s airport could become a pioneer among the world’s airports that offer a crypto-friendly environment. Furthermore, TravelbyBit’s crypto payment system network could grow even faster due to its partnership with the bustling airport. However, it may not be as safe and convenient to pay with crypto as TravelbyBit and its partner airport might have you believe.
Although they’ve come down a bit recently, transaction fees with cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin, can be quite high. In addition, it may take a long time to process transactions with certain cryptocurrencies. It’s also not as safe as to deal in cryptocurrencies as TravelbyBit might claim. To date, approximately $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen by hackers. Clearly, crypto-related technology needs to be improved; but these types of initiatives, where organizations are working towards developing real-world use cases for cryptocurrencies, should be encouraged and supported by the crypto community.