The United Arab Emirates (UAE) largest carrier Emirates has announced that it will “employ bitcoin as a payment service” in light of plans to embrace blockchain and metaverse projects. 

Is this the future? 

Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel Ahmed Al-Redha, attended the Arabian Travel Market trade show in Dubai – the event lasted from 9 to 12 May. Whilst there, Al-Redha told the press that the carrier will be hiring qualified staff to work on NFT and metaverse-related projects and operations – they will also focus on bitcoin payments. 

But, crucially, the UAE carrier specified that bitcoin is not a payment method but a payment service…there’s a slight difference. A payment service refers to a third-party company that provides payment services to businesses that accept online payment methods. Examples include PayPal and Amazon Pay. 

While the UAE flag carrier has recently discussed exploring NFTs, the metaverse, and other entities within that realm, this is the first time it has publicly discussed more concrete plans regarding bitcoin. 

And as fellow competitors explore the metaverse (Qatar Airways joined the metaverse by launching QVerse), it makes sense that Emirates does not wish to be left behind. 

Emirates’ acceptance of bitcoin as a payment service would be a momentous occasion and a significant milestone for the aviation industry and commercial airline sector as the Dubai-based carrier would become the largest global carrier accepting a type of cryptocurrency. And as the United Arab Emirates is turning into the hub for cryptocurrency, Emirates’ decision becomes even more fitting. 

An Emirates spokesperson confirmed that the carrier has not started accepting Bitcoin or any other type of cryptocurrency yet but it will be explored as an alternative payment option in the future. 

Elsewhere, it is thought that the carrier will also add NFT collectables on its website for trading purposes. 

How do you feel about paying for a flight with bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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