With Lets Fly Cheaper, a major network of travel experts, travelers can now pay for business and first class flights with digital currency such as bitcoin.
“It offers an extra option for payment with lower transaction fees for our company,” Lets Fly Cheaper spokesperson, Ramon Van Meer, said. “We have teams standing by 24/7 to help customers if they have questions.”
Originated by an unknown source called “Satoshi Nakamoto,” bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a currency that is characterized, rather than fancy paper, by numbers much like a credit card. The difference, though, is that IDs (or “blocks”) from transactions are encrypted heavily, hence the term “cryptocurrency.”
How exactly are transactions done? The official bitcoin website notes that a transfer of value between “bitcoin wallets” is included in the blocks. These wallets hold a secret piece of data called private keys, which are used to sign transactions, authenticating the wallet owner.
Bitcoin is encrypted so transactions don’t get hacked. You also don’t mine bitcoins, but if you’re able to crack the cryptographic algorithm that scrambles the transactions, you can receive free money.
Bitcoin is not centrally regulated, so there’s a limit to how many “coins” can be generated.
There are some variants like LiteCoin which have a different type of cryptocoding that focus less on speed of computation and more on having lots of memory space.
There are also specific machines that are dedicated to cracking algorithms, which China and Russia/eastern nations have.
A number of businesses have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon, including Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson, who recently announced that he will be accepting bitcoin in payment for future flights into space.
Newser reports that Branson himself has invested in the digital currency. Tickets for space travel cost $250,000, which equates to 350 bitcoins. Flights are set to launch next year.