Cryptocurrencies were the hot topic of 2017 and a lot of people were rushing in to get themselves involved in the crypto-rush last year. So much so that near the end of the year, cryptocurrency prices shot through the roof, with Bitcoin going as high as USD20,000 and many other currencies making massive gains.
Three months down, however, it’s a totally different story. Prices have dropped like a rock. Bitcoin’s value as of publishing was hovering around the US$7,000 range with many other alt-coins and cryptocurrencies taking big losses over the last 3 months.
Has that stopped the interest in cryptocurrency or the underlying technology behind it, blockchain? No, though many are now a bit wary of sinking their money into it. Despite the volatility and slump, this hasn’t stopped AirAsia from going ahead to launch their very own cryptocurrency.
Called BigCoin, it is actually the result of turning the budget airline’s existing frequent flyer points into cryptocurrency. According to a report from the Nikkei Asia Review, AirAsia’s websites will be quoting ticket prices to customers in both fiat currency as well as in BigCoin starting from April onwards. That’s not all, the budget airline plans to implement BigCoin as currency for seat upgrades, in-flight meals and other services within the next three to six months.
According to Air Asia CEO and founder, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, the vision in the long-run is to see BigCoin accepted by third party businesses. Fernandes has also considered looking at an initial coin offering (ICO) for Air Asia though details on that particular move has yet to be revealed by the budget airlines CEO.
As for the current volatility of the cryptocurrency market, Fernandes is not worried as to him, digital currency is a tool to alleviate currency fluctuation risks from overseas revenue.
Air Asia has made some major moves into the digital payment field by launching its own mobile wallet service called BigPay in January. The service allows Air Asia passengers to buy food and drink on board by smartphone by using the plane’s onboard Wi-Fi. In the future he also plans for the mobile platform to enter the money remittance and lending businesses.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review