In a win for cryptocurrency advocates, major travel site Expedia announced Wednesday that it had begun accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for hotel bookings. Transactions will be facilitated by Coinbase, a third-party bitcoin processor, and will be integrated into the booking process on Expedia's website. If the payment option is received well by customers, Expedia plans to offer it for other types of reservations on the site as well.
Expedia is one of the largest and best-known companies to start taking bitcoin for payment. The decision will lend the Expedia's legitimacy, as a well-recognized brand, and its popularity among millions of travelers to the cryptocurrency. Since the start of the year, Overstock.com, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Dish Network have also begun accepting bitcoin, and more than 60,000 retailers accept it across the world. Despite this, bitcoin still fluctuates wildly in value and has a significant number of skeptics.
For Expedia, one benefit is that purchases made in bitcoin currently have lower transaction fees than most standard forms of payment. While a credit card provider like Visa charges merchants as much as 3 percent per transaction, Coinbase issues a fee of just 1 percent and only after the merchant reaches a minimum sales volume.