You can buy electronics and every day goods with Bitcoin. You can order powerful custom PCs with Bitcoin. Heck, you can even pay your satellite TV bill in Bitcoin. But Bitcoin took yet another stride toward mainstream acceptance on Wednesday, as Expedia announced that it would start accepting Bitcoin for hotel reservations, becoming the first major travel agency to embrace the digital currency.
Like most of the other big-name retailers who accept Bitcoin, Expedia's transactions will be handled by Coinbase rather than managed internally. The travel agency will convert all incoming Bitcoin to cash as it's processed, rather than holding onto the digital dollars.
If you book a hotel using Bitcoin, you'll also receive a refund in Bitcoin if you need to cancel your reservation for any reason. The exact amount of the refund is tied to the U.S. dollar value of the original booking, however, to compensate for Bitcoin's pricing fluctuations. If you book a $400 hotel room using Bitcoin, your refund will also be worth $400, but pegged to that day's Bitcoin exchange rate.
Expedia's embrace is somewhat limited; currently, you can't book hotels with Bitcoin from Expedia's mobile apps, nor can you book flights, cars, cruises, or anything other than hotels using the crypto-currency. Expedia vice president Michael Gulmann told The Wall Street Journal that he expects the Bitcoin capabilities to other areas of the business if all goes smoothly with the hotel bookings, however.
No, Bitcoin still isn't mainstream--but high-profile acceptances like this proves it can be.
If you want to see what all the cryptocurrency hub-bub is about without spending your cash to find out, take a glance at PCWorld's guide to mining Litecoin, Dogecoin, and other Bitcoin variants. Specialized hardware has made it difficult to create Bitcoins with everyday computers, but other digital currencies are still ripe for the mining, and that article explains everything you need to know about getting started with Bitcoin.