Lonely Planet Writer

Have Bitcoin? This airport is starting to accept cryptocurrency

If you happen to have some wildly valuable Bitcoin hanging around, there’s now a chance to spend some of the cryptocurrency at an Australian Airport.

Pay for items with Bitcoin at Brisbane Airport. Image by Brisbane Airport

Brisbane Airport is working with the company TravelbyBit to bring “decentralised block chain enabled payments” to retailers in the airport’s terminals. That means, anyone with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dash or Ethereum can used them at restaurants, coffeeshops and retail stores.

People use digital currencies as a way to protect their personal identity, and to benefit from low transaction fees and exchange rates – something that can hit particularly hard when travelling between countries. The airport asserts that giving the option of using digital currencies is a benefit to people who travel internationally.

Shop with Bitcoin at Brisbane Airport. Image by Brisbane Airport

But TravelbyBit is hoping to extend their services beyond the airport, brining digital payments to airport transport, luxury hotels and food and entertainment in “Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley which has been rebranded by locals as ‘Crypto Valley’.” Already more than 20 merchants there take digital currency.

Caleb Yeoh from TravelbyBit and George Drivas Windmill & Co. try out the new cryptocurrency option at Brisbane Airport. Image by Brisbane Airport

Caleb Yeoh, TravelbyBit’s CEO, said, in a statement that the company is “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. Digital currency for world-wide travel. It’s simple, safe and there’s no bank fees”.

Bitcoin has worked its way into other areas of tourism – particularly when it comes to high-end purchases. The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu announced it would accept Bitcoin in exchange for citizenship, while the owner of a Caribbean island put their private paradise up for sale to anyone with enough of the cryptocurrency.