The use and adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in everyday life are evolving as various industries seek to incorporate revolutionary technology into their payment systems. As a result, the airline industry is beginning to embrace blockchain technologies to interact with customers more effectively and expand its reach.
In a statement released earlier this week, Emirates, the largest airline in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced that it will accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments and distribute non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for trading on its websites.
During a media event held at the Arabian Travel Market, Emirates' chief operations officer, Adel Ahmed Al-Redha, reportedly stated that the Dubai-based airline will be onboarding new employees focused on blockchain-related initiatives such as crypto installments, and blockchain monitoring, metaverse, and NFTs. These initiatives will be the focus of new employees hired by the carrier.
Al-Redha also stated that the airline is looking into the possibility of using blockchain technology to maintain track of aviation data. Furthermore, the airline executive noted that the metaverse could be used to transform processes such as operations, training, website sales, and other aircraft-related experiences into those that occur in the modern world. According to the airline's chief operating officer, this will make the processes "more interactive."
Al-Redha stated that the airline industry is gradually returning to the scene as there are waves of new travelers. The company is implementing new technologies, such as an NFT collectibles trading platform and a Bitcoin payment processing service, to broaden its scope and expand its customer base.
Emirates announced in April that it would spend "tens of millions of dollars" on a metaverse strategy and the development of collectible and utility-based NFTs, with a launch expected in the coming months.
Also, Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has made its official foray into the metaverse as more Dubai-based businesses embrace blockchain and cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency regulator recently purchased a property in The Sandbox metaverse to establish a virtual headquarters, or "MetaHQ," there.
Consequently, airports and airlines worldwide are exploring ways to better coordinate blockchain-based technologies and cryptocurrency payments. In February 2021, Air France collaborated with a few other organizations to develop a blockchain-based framework that verifies the COVID-19 results.
Also, the Latvian airline airBaltic added Dogecoin (DOGE) and Ether (ETH) to its list of accepted payment methods in March 2021. The airline has accepted BTC and other cryptocurrencies since 2014, including USD Coin (USDC), Binance USD (BUSD), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD).
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele announced in October 2021 that the Central American country's low-cost airline, Volaris, will accept BTC payments. The announcement came after El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender, boosting its adoption.
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