Travel Booking Site CheapAir Is Switching Bitcoin Payment Processors

CheapAir.com is to switch bitcoin payment processors following a service change by Coinbase, but the new integration poses problems for users.

AccessTimeIconApr 23, 2018 at 6:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:51 a.m. UTC
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Online travel booking agency CheapAir.com said Friday that it will switch bitcoin payment processors following a service change by Coinbase.

CheapAir.com – which began accepting bitcoin back in 2013 in a first for the global travel industry – explained the move in a blog post, revealing it is eyeing a move to accept bitcoin payments through Bitpay.

"We were recently informed by our processing partner, Coinbase, that they will no longer support 'custodial' solutions for merchants, and are removing a number of the tools and features that we rely on to accept bitcoin from CheapAir.com shoppers," CheapAir wrote. "These changes are scheduled to occur in a matter of weeks."

According to CheapAir, the process that converts the bitcoin it receives from customers to fiat currencies is key to the platform's ability to accept the cryptocurrency, since traditional airlines and hotel services only take fiat currencies as payment.

The company also said that, as part of the shift, it's looking at accepting other cryptocurrencies, naming bitcoin cash, dash and litecoin as potential options. CheapAir announced in 2014 that it was accepting litecoin and dogecoin by way of GoCoin, another cryptocurrency payment processor.

However, while CheapAir said the integration with Bitpay has already completed, it foresees the adoption may not be as smooth as previously.

"Our one giant concern is that Bitpay does not support 'non-payment protocol wallets' (wallets that aren’t BIP-70 compliant). So if you do not have a compatible wallet, you would have to get one and use it as an intermediate stage for your Bitcoin payment," the company said in the statement, going on to request that users send feedback on the Bitpay option:

"This is where we’d love your input."

Airplane image via Shutterstock

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