If government corruption affects the stability of the national currency, it’s only natural that citizens will turn to gold or other assets like Bitcoin (BTC) to invest their savings. It offers them a sense of financial control in an otherwise unstable market.
And it’s not just investing that is feeling the impact of crypto. This technology has the capacity to change the way we live. The freedom to travel and transact is a fundamental right everyone should have, and cryptocurrency adoption is all about providing freedom.
The world is becoming easier to navigate, and people are increasingly traveling to parts that are not equipped to deal with tourism. Often travelers can be caught out in less developed countries with no access to ATMs and a shortage of reliable ways to pay for goods. The use of digital currencies and smartphones could become the best solution.
Imagine not having to search for the best exchange rates or having to carry the local fiat currency around in a wallet. This is freedom. Paying for goods and services on a mobile phone — and even a watch — has been an increasing phenomenon with services like Apple Pay and Google Pay on Android.
According to research, the amount of people who own mobile phones around the world is on the rise. Ownership levels in developing economies are highest in Vietnam, where 97% of adults own a mobile device, although about 90% or more also own one in Jordan, Tunisia, Colombia, Kenya, Lebanon and South Africa. Ownership is lowest in Venezuela, India and the Philippines, but even in these countries, about 70% of adults own a mobile device.
In the future, more hotels, restaurants and shops will be set up with crypto wallets on a smartphone or similar device to accept global payments in seconds — and this may happen in the developing world faster than the developed world.
The travel industry is one of the biggest industries in the world with around $1.7 trillion expected to be spent this year alone, making it the world’s second-fastest-growing industry. Now, crypto travel companies are making global crypto travel a reality.
As with all technology development, government and community help are paramount. The state government of Queensland in Australia is committed to technological innovation within the travel industry.
They have helped to make the Brisbane airport the first in the world to have 30 merchants accept cryptocurrency. In fact, Queensland is trailblazing crypto tourism with the regional town of Agnes Water, located at the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Here, travelers can find more than 40 businesses that accept crypto, allowing them to pay with Bitcoin for their accommodations, meals and even a day tour to the reef.
Additionally, travel giant Expedia is now back in the crypto game, having stepped out of it in 2018 when they stopped accepting Bitcoin payments directly through their platform. Now, they are offering cryptocurrency holders the ability to book their travels and holidays through the site and giving them access to thousands of hotels around the world.
Helping the unbanked
The figures speak for themselves. Globally, there are around 1.7 billion adults who are unbanked, mostly in developing countries like India, Egypt and parts of Africa. Without a fiat bank account, people from these countries can struggle to participate in the global economy. This affects many of the developing countries and their ability to trade in the world market. Crypto adoption can help change that.
It is important to understand that while it is still in the very early stages of adoption, crypto is much more than just a speculative asset, but it also has the ability to be used in the same way as any currency.
However, problems do exist. For example, many businesses that accept crypto for their services will charge users a high premium, which poses a barrier to adoption. This must be addressed and changed. Crypto must be usable, which is why it is important to provide incentives for early adopters.
Visa debit cards that convert crypto into fiat are becoming more common and are helping to grow the ecosystem. Allowing users to use cryptocurrency anywhere that accepts credit card payments will broaden adoption and take off.
Enticing users into the space with incentives will also help drive adoption, and as with credit card payments, more competition in the marketplace will help drive down fees. As crypto becomes more widely used, it will become more attractive to those who have never experimented with it and will lead more individuals to “give it a try.” This can only be a good thing for the wider crypto travel industry.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Caleb Yeoh is the CEO of TravelbyBit, an Australia-based company that has been instrumental in driving crypto adoption in Australia. Its travel booking platform was launched with the help of Binance, and lets travelers book their flights and hotels with cryptocurrency and earn rewards by doing so.