Last November CheapAir became the first airline to accept Bitcoin and then later, the first to let travelers book hotel rooms and Amtrak train seats with the digital currency.
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Since then its Bitcoin sales have topped $1. 5 million, an amount that exceeded the company’s initial expectations, Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir, tells Forbes.
CheapAir is hardly alone. In the last twelve months or so, Bitcoin has inched and then pushed its way into mainstream commerce, prompting such companies as Dell, Overstock, Expedia and Dish Network to start accepting the currency.
Dish, in fact, processed its first Bitcoin payment last month when Austin and Beccy Craig, the stars of a new documentary film “ Life on Bitcoin,” used it to pay their monthly cable bill.
Ebay may soon join that list, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal last month: it has been quietly to integrate the virtual currency into its Braintree payments subsidiary, sources told the WSJ.
CheapAir, though, is leaving all these companies in the dust and moving into new territory – at least for a mainstream brand – by accepting payments in Litecoin and Dogecoin. It will process the payments via GoCoin.
It has also launched a dedicated e-support line staffed by CheapAirTravel Advisors for digital currency travel advice and questions.
Litecoin and Dogecoin, like Bitcoin, are peer-to-peer, open source cryptocurrencies. Litecoin is the closest challenger to Bitcoin, based on its market cap and price ($154, 407, 677 and $ 4. 87 respectively, according to CoinMarketCap, a website that tracks digital currencies.
Dogecoin is No. 7 on CoinMarketCap’s list with a market cap of $ 13, 055, 906 and a price per unit of $ 0. 000143.
CheapAir decided to expand its array of digital currencies that it supports after receiving requests from the developers, Klee says.
“ In general I am very supportive of alternative currencies and the technology is very promising.” Like many company executive Klee is delighted with the cost savings digital currencies offer companies like CheapAir.
He is less sure of their momentum, given their smaller user base, but Klee is willing to take a flyer.
“ Big banks have such a stranglehold on commerce with their 3% per transaction fees. They need some competition and digital currencies are best suited to provide it.”