Brisbane Airport partners with TravelbyBit to enable cryptocurrency payments

Caleb Yeoh, CEO of TravelbyBit (left), said: “We are building a genuine use case for cryptocurrencies in the tourism industry.”

Passengers arriving at or departing from Brisbane Airport will soon be able to spend cryptocurrency in a number of stores and F&B outlets at the airport.

Brisbane Airport and a number of retailers have partnered with TravelbyBit to bring decentralised blockchain-enabled payments to the two terminals.

Travellers will be able to use TravelbyBit’s cryptocurrency payment system, which includes Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum and other digital currencies, to dine and shop at stores such as Botanist, Spoon, Windmill & Co. and Forte Espresso, as well as AWPL stores including Australian Way, Merino Collection, Carry On, Dreamtime Journey and News Travels.

Roel Hellemons, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) General Manager Strategic Planning and Development, said: “Many people around the world have made money investing in cryptocurrencies and a lot of these people travel internationally, so it makes sense to offer a digital currency experience within our terminals.

“We’re also proud to be the first airport in the world to achieve this in partnership with a small local startup business such as TravelbyBit, whose pioneering thinking is drawing attention to Brisbane as a serious breeding ground of innovative thinking. This is just the beginning for us as we hope to expand the digital currency option across the business, so watch this space.”

TravelbyBit has already built a network of merchants throughout the city of Brisbane who take payments in digital currencies. 

Caleb Yeoh, CEO of TravelbyBit, said: “We are building a genuine use case for cryptocurrencies in the tourism industry. The application of digital currencies in this sector makes a lot of sense.

“Whenever you travel overseas you have to deal with multiple currencies and you never know what exchange rates the banks are charging you. Here at TravelbyBit we are promoting the Bitcoin travel movement…It’s simple, safe and there’s no bank fees.”

FTE’s view:

Cryptocurrency is very much in fashion at the moment, thanks largely to the “Bitcoin boom”. However, the number of people who own, let alone spend, digital currency remains relatively low (there are around 3 million active cryptocurrency users worldwide according to the 2017 Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study) and Brisbane Airport’s decision to embrace digital currency is unlikely to be based on a sudden demand among passengers. Instead, it’s more likely that it provides an opportunity for Brisbane Airport Corporation to highlight that it is serious about innovation and preparing for the potential future impact of new technologies and trends, while also supporting the local startup scene. It’ll be interesting to see how many people use cryptocurrency as a payment method at BNE during the six to 12 months after rollout. We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on it.

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