I live unbanked, 100% off of Dash. I also recently booked two trips for upcoming speaking engagements, one to the Texas Bitcoin Conference at the end of this month, and one to the European Students for Liberty regional conference early next month. I achieved this without touching fiat currency whatsoever. Here’s a little insight into my experience, and how easy this experience is to replicate.
Dash Only: Domestic US Travel Thanks to BitCart
You can travel in the US, including airfare, travel, and ground transportation, 100% on Dash. The big caveat is that you must use BitCart.io, a service that offers a 15% discount when buying Amazon.com gift cards with Dash. While at present this is an invaluable service for anyone seeking to live entirely off of Dash, right now there are some severe service disruptions that necessitate more long-term planning to make an all-Dash trip a reality.
Airfare: As far as I’m aware, the only option available for Dash is Southwest Airlines, which sells gift cards on Amazon.com. Via BitCart, Dash users can get a 15% discount on flying Southwest in most of the US, as long as they travel to a city serviced by the airline. Also, the gift cards are physical, and therefore proper advance planning must be taken in order to use this option.
Lodging: Again thanks to BitCart, online gift cards to Hotels.com and AirBNB are available. This makes it especially easy and feasible to use Dash, especially when booked in advance.
Ground Transit: Uber gift cards are available via Amazon through BitCart.
Dash/Bitcoin: International Travel Is a Breeze
When travelling internationally, going purely Dash isn’t easily possible, as no international airline ticket service accepts it so far, and no appropriate Amazon.com gift cards are available. This means that the Dash user will have to leverage a service like ShapeShift to convert to Bitcoin. Once this psychological hurdle is vaulted, however, everything becomes quite a bit easier.
Airfare: At the moment there is no direct Dash option available. More indirect options include using a Dash debit card (or virtual card) to convert to fiat currency to pay for airfare, or using a service like Abitsky or CheapAir, which seamlessly allows you to pay for flights using Bitcoin, assuming you use ShapeShift to convert Dash to Bitcoin (either in advance or when time comes to pay).
Lodging: BitCart can still be used for lodging around Europe, since both Hotels.com and AirBNB support locations around the continent. In addition, when converting to Bitcoin is an option, CheapAir also offers hotel booking.
Ground Transit: Uber gift cards are available through BitCart, though the service may be less universal than elsewhere. Rental vehicles are also available through CheapAir.
Conclusion: Crypto-Only Is Doable, Dash-Only Is Possible-ish
Thanks in great part to the heavy ground work put in by early Bitcoin advocates, it’s entirely possible, and even feasible, to book travel entirely with cryptocurrency. This is also achievable purely with Dash at the moment, with a few restrictions, notably that without BitCart you’re out of luck for the most part. If you’re willing to bridge the crossover to Bitcoin and possibly some fiat bridge services like debit cards, travel on only Dash is quite doable. Otherwise, it may be a bit of a struggle so far.
I never really looked at gift cards on amazon https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_hi_4?rh=n%3A2238192011%2Cn%3A%212740804011%2Cn%3A2973079011%2Cn%3A13233820011%2Cp_n_theme_browse-bin%3A2740960011&bbn=13233820011&ie=UTF8&qid=1508533606 there are the ones you mentioned.
Whilst I think this is great news it isn’t really paying in crypto. Most of these purchases are using third party services that convert the crypto – whether that be Dash or Bitcoin – into traditional fiat to make your purchase possible.
If at any point one of these third party services suspends its operations or closes for business its game over. I look for the day when we can pay directly in crypto – from end to end with no fiat entering the equation.
Not “most of these purchases.” The straight crypto airlines provide tickets in exchange for crypto, just like for any other payment. The third-party gift card workarounds are a little trickier, but they’re more direct than fiat conversion, because they don’t convert currencies, they trade currency for a good/service, and as such don’t have to follow financial regulations.
Remember that “wide adoption” and “pure crypto goodness” are also different goalposts. Hold crypto to the same standard as you hold fiat: how screwed would most merchants be if VISA went under?
“The straight crypto airlines provide tickets in exchange for crypto, just like for any other payment.”
So are they accepting crypto directly and keeping it, or are they using a service such as Bitpay that immediately converts the accepted crypto into fiat? If the former that is great. However, without looking further into it I suspect it is the latter.
I am not bashing it – the fact we can pay in crypto at all is fantastic. But isn’t the same as paying purely in crypto and the merchant keeping the crypto without converting it back to fiat immediately upon receiving your payment is my point. So in all fairness I think my original point still stands.
I also accept that if Mastercard or Visa went down there would be problems. But Visa and Mastercard are very large corporations and the day that Visa and Mastercard go down – not on a temporary basis – but permanently the world with have much bigger problems I feel.