The WannaCry hackers aren’t the only ones asking to be paid in bitcoin. On May 22, Peach Aviation Ltd. announced that it will now accept bitcoin as payment for airline tickets, following in the footsteps of Latvian airline airBaltic and Universal Air Travel Plan.
The Japanese discount airline capitalized on a recent change in Japan’s law on fund settlements. Customers will be able to purchase plane tickets with bitcoin by the end of the year, Peach said in a statement Monday. The airline hopes the strategy will attract more tourists from other parts of Asia.
“We want to encourage visitors from overseas and the revitalization of Japan’s regions,” Shinichi Inoue, chief executive officer of Peach, told reporters in Tokyo Monday. “This is a real first step in partnerships for Japan, and we are aiming for more company and service tie-ups.”
Those tie-ups with local and regional companies should help spread usage of the cryptocurrency, which has seen unprecedented popularity in recent weeks, surging to $2,197,78 per coin on Monday. That’s a 13 percent increase, making bitcoin 70 percent more valuable than gold.
The digital payment system enables users worldwide to conduct transactions without interference from intermediaries, governments, regulators or central banks.
Bitcoin has simplified payments for Universal Air Travel Plan, a payment network owned by major international airlines such as American Airlines, British Airways, JetBlue and Lufthansa, since it teamed up with Bitnet to handle payments from its network of more than 260 airlines in 2015.
“It’s very much in the airlines’ interest for the consumer to pay with bitcoin, given that the airline will have cheaper fees and they know that money can’t be taken away in a fraudulent transaction,” Akif Khan, vice president of Solutions Strategy at Bitnet, told Coindesk at the time.
Universal Air Travel Plan had previously added PayPal and Alipay integration.
Three years ago, airBaltic — ranked among the top 10 most innovative airlines worldwide — was the first airline to accept payment by bitcoin.