Bitcoin Tourism | How Far Are We From True Borderless Payments

Bitcoin tourismBitcoin tourism

As far back as 2012, companies were starting to experiment with Bitcoin payments as an alternative to mainstream solutions. In the years following those early tests, companies have jumped on and off the crypto bandwagon trying to figure out if a new wave of consumers would flock to virtual currencies.

Tourism is one of those industries where Bitcoin could make a real difference. Money changing hands across borders has always been a tricky business. Who wants to deal with multiple currencies, confusing exchange rates, getting ripped off on those rates or handling large amounts of foreign cash? Many of these issues are now coming to a head as cryptocurrencies challenge the fundamental idea of border-based financial systems.

The Good

Cryptocurrency is one the more convenient and cheaper way to transfer funds internationally, particularly if youre in a country with sticky capital controls. Its not uncommon for central banks and clearing houses in these countries to pile on the red tape and deny payments without seeking a hefty cut. The middleman is still alive and well.

With cryptocurrency, you can book and pay for an international holiday in 30 minutes or less (depending on how busy the blockchain youre using is, of course). No clearance required. International wire transfers, on the other hand, can easily take around a week to clear. Not so good if youre abroad and need to send money fast.

But credit cards solve that problem, I hear you say. That may be true to some extent. However, credit cards have a couple of problems for traveling wannabes. Firstly, they can be insanely expensive: account charge, finance charge, cash advance, balance transfer, interest, foreign transaction, you name it theyll charge you for it. Secondly, when youre off the beaten path its highly unlikely youll run into someone with a card machine. These machines usually also carry their own, sometimes rather large, expenses with them.

Theres little incentive for small and sleepy destinations to pay for unnecessary systems. Credit cards are features of highly banked western economies. Everywhere else? A simpler, more accessible solution is required. With a smartphone and an internet connection just about anybody can create the next Bitcoin hotel.

Crypto Town

Speaking of small and sleepy, Agnes Water in Eastern Australia has taken the plunge and crowned itself as Australias first Digital Currency Town.

Agnes Water, Australia's first digital currency town. Source: Facebook/NEMAgnes Water, pioneering cryptocurrency tourism adoption. Source: Facebook/NEM

Over 30 local businesses including restaurants, tour operators, hotels and guest houses have warmed up to the idea because, well:

If its going to take cryptocurrency to get tourists to town, then bring it on.

Wise words from Moondoggie Beach and Bush Tours owner Arty Cipak. Tourism is a tough business because its cyclical and relies heavily on disposable income and good marketing. Its also Agnes Waters primary industry, like so many other smaller towns around Australia and indeed the world. Catering to the tech-savvy younger traveler whos i ...

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Tags: Bitcoin, Tourism, Border, Payment, Samuel L. Jackson, The Middleman (TV series), Virtual currency, Agnes Water, Queensland