Demand is growing for bitcoin payment
PrivateFly was the first global private jet company to accept payment in bitcoin, when we started doing so nearly four years ago. (Read more in this article in The Telegraph from January 2014).
We’d been closely following bitcoin and in 2013, started to receive requests from clients to accept it. As our ongoing aim is to make choosing and buying private jet charter as fast, efficient and cost-effective as possible, it was a logical addition to our private charter payment options.
With bitcoin payment being fast, flexible and not subject to banking hours, it can be a very practical choice for our customers. Over 20% of our flights are booked for the same day or next day departure so often clients are looking to make payment quickly. (See more stats on lead times, pricing and more in our quarterly Private Jet Charter Trends report.)
We weighed up the risks – including exchange rate volatility and money laundering – against the benefits. And concluded that the flexibility, speed and low cost of bitcoin payment processing made it worth offering. The private jet market is all about fast turnaround and processing bank transfers or clearing credit card payments at short notice can slow things down.
With bitcoin we can easily process payments at midnight when the banks are shut. To process the transaction, we convert the payment instantly to sterling, euros or dollars to minimise the risks.
Our first bitcoin customer was Belgian tech entrepreneur Olivier Janssens, a cryptocurrency advocate who was happy to talk publicly about his payment choice. For his first bitcoin-powered flight, he flew from Brussels to Nice in January 2014, booking and flying at short notice.
Since then we’ve had a number of other clients who like to pay this way. And not just for one-off flights – we also have regular flyers who set up a Jet Card account with us, using bitcoin.
With awareness of cryptocurrencies increasing, we expect to see more and more clients looking to pay this way. The concept is here to stay – even if it evolves considerably from today. And we’re always open to looking at ways of making it faster and easier for our clients to book and fly.