Vueling, a member of the international United Airlines group, has signed an agreement with BitPay to allow customers to pay for flights using cryptocurrencies.
Starting in 2023, Spain’s largest airline, Barcelona-based Vueling, will accept cryptocurrency payments from individuals through Atlanta-based BitPay.
The technology will be provided by the Universal Air Travel Programme (UATP), a global payment network owned by airlines around the world. Last September, BitPay partnered with UATP to allow air, rail and agency payments using Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and, most recently, Shiba Inu.
Once launched, fares will be listed in euros, with the option to use one of 100 cryptocurrency wallets.
“With this agreement, Vueling reaffirms its position as a digital airline,” said Jesus Monzo, Vueling’s Distribution Strategy and Alliances Manager.
“Vueling recognizes the potential of cryptocurrencies to transform the airline industry, making payments faster, safer and cheaper globally,” said BitPay VP of Marketing.[potentialofcryptocurrenciestotransformtheairlineindustrymakingpaymentsfastermoresecureandlessexpensiveonaglobalscale”saidBitPay’svice-presidentofmarketing[potentialofcryptocurrenciestotransformtheairlineindustrymakingpaymentsfastermoresecureandlessexpensiveonaglobalscale”saidBitPay’svice-presidentofmarketing
Vueling is the first European low-cost airline to accept cryptocurrency. In 2014, Latvia-based airBaltic was the first airline to accept crypto payments via BitPay, while Dubai-based Emirates earlier this year announced plans to accept bitcoin for airline tickets to attract new customers.
E-commerce company Newegg and hotel group Kessler Hotels teamed up with BitPay to accept crypto payments in 2021.
BitPay thrives in the early days of Bitcoin payments
Between 2013 and 2015, many merchants “accepted” cryptocurrencies for payments, including space travel company Virgin Galactic, to much hype.
However, it soon became apparent that merchants were using BitPay as a payment processor, shifting liquidity and transaction risk to the latter. This was the case last year when New York-based Magnum Real Estate used BitPay to process payments at three retail stores on Manhattan’s East Side. BitPay will receive the payment in BTC on behalf of the real estate company and convert it into U.S. dollars to deposit into Magnum’s account.
BitPay, which charges merchants a percentage of all transactions, added support for the Lightning Network in April to make cryptocurrency payments more mainstream and reduce transaction costs. The BitPay card allows customers to use cryptocurrencies like cash with instant settlement.
BitPay hires legal force
BitPay’s partnership with Vueling comes at a time when regulatory pressure is impacting the crypto industry. The payment processor hired Allison Raley on June 13 as chief compliance officer after Eden Doniger left in April.
Market pressure also sent bitcoin below $20,000, while ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, fell to $1,000.
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