It is fair to say that cryptocurrency has never been so well known. From record Bitcoin highs, to sports sponsorship deals – and even becoming legal tender in El Salvador – crypto has definitely arrived in the public sphere.
From being used by only those in the know just a few years ago, crypto has definitely arrived in the mainstream. There is still some distrust in traditional financial circles, but the deregulated and privacy arguements of cryptocurrencies have made a lot of people sit up and take notice. Major companies around the world now accept crypto as a payment method – and here are five of the biggest making that more acceptable.
Although the holiday and tourism industry has taken a major hit in recent years, for obvious reasons, there are still huge online companies facilitating those all-important trips abroad. Expedia is probably one of the most well known and now accepts Bitcoin as part of its operation.
After a brief pause in accepting crypto, Expedia teamed up with travel booking platform Travala to allow payment by Bitcoin – and other cryptocurrencies – for around 700,000 of the hotel rooms on its site. The idea was to allow Expedia customers to use more innovative payment systems.
Tesla and Elon Musk have had a changeable relationship with cryptocurrency in recent years. In 2021, Musk announced that the carmaker would be accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for purchasing electric vehicles. The move made headlines worldwide and was more proof that crypto had gone mainstream.
But just two months later, Musk announced on Twitter that the acceptance of Bitcoin would be postponed, as he was concerned about the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining. It does seem likely that it will return when a more renewable energy is used in the mining though.
With digital transactions involving Bitcoin booming, MasterCard became the latest major player to integrate cryptocurrency into its business last year. It teamed up with Bakkt to allow its customers to use crypto in the same way as it was able to transfer loyalty points for hotel rooms and the like.
With this move customers would be given the option to take cryptocurrency into their digital wallets. This would have far-reaching consequences considering how big MasterCard is on the world payments stage. If this move were successful in the long run it would mean even greater exposure for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
It is always going to be big news when a company as traditional as Sotheby’s starts accepting cryptocurrency – and that is exactly what happened last year. Sotheby’s became the first auction house to accept Bitcoin as a payment for an original piece by celebrated artist Banksy in May 2021.
Sotheby’s then went on to announce that it would be fielding real-time bids in Ether (ETH) live from its New York showroom for more pieces by the artist. Ether has become the preferred cryptocurrency for digital art and is used by many in the NFT world.
One of the surest signs that cryptocurrency is becoming more mainstream is that payment services like PayPal are allowing customers to invest in Bitcoin with just a click of a button. It is currently only those in the US that can buy, sell or hold selected cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin as well as Bitcoin.
PayPal customers can invest as little as $1 – and it does seem as though the move is designed to boost awareness of the service before introducing it on a wider scale. But, as with all the announcements profiled here, a major global company accepting crypto as part of its every day business is the surest sign yet that Bitcoin and other digital currencies are here to stay.