Cheapest site to buy air tickets. I’ve been closely following the Bitcoin craze for many months now, ever since demonetisation sent Bitcoin prices rocketing in India.
Being part of numerous shady cryptocurrency groups finally paid off when someone posted about an Indian website that allows for booking domestic flight tickets using Bitcoins.
For those not in the know, Bitcoin is digital money used for secure and instant transfer of value anywhere in the world. It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency.
Although Zebpay and Unocoin allow you to recharge your mobile, DTH, datacard and buy movie tickets on BookMyShow, most Indians aren’t really using Bitcoins for purchases
It is not controlled or issued by any bank or government — rather its value is determined by buying and selling in the open market, similar to stocks or property. A bitcoin’s price changes in real time based on the number of people who want to buy or sell it at a given moment.
It was worth roughly $13 in early 2013 and went up to $260 in early 2015 before skyrocketing to a record-high of $3000 in June this year. It is currently hovering around the $2600 mark.
India accounted for almost 11% of global cryptocurrency trade in the past month, according to data from a Bitcoin trade analyst, Chris Burniske.
— Chris Burniske (@cburniske) June 15, 2017
This isn’t particularly surprising as the meteoric rise of Bitcoin prices recently has led to it becoming a viable alternate investment vehicle with the potential for quick short-term gains. The value of Bitcoin in India soared to over Rs 1,70,000.
There are a number of startups that have opened Bitcoin exchanges in India, making it easy to buy the cryptocurrency in Indian rupees. Unocoin, Coinsecure and Zebpay are the three main bitcoin players in India, with over a million users among them.
Also read: How to book free flights in India?
Although Zebpay and Unocoin allow you to recharge your mobile, DTH, datacard and buy movie tickets on BookMyShow, most Indians aren’t really using Bitcoins for purchases.
The average person on the street today needs to have many more experiences where using Bitcoins is much more easier, secure or more advantageous in some way than using fiat currency
Because of the ubiquity, security and ease of use of fiat currency (legal tender backed by the government, unlike cryptocurrency), Bitcoin today fulfils the “store of value” function of money more than the “medium of exchange” function that economists traditionally use to define money.
While Bitcoin has many advantages over traditional currency: It is inherently scarce (the protocol specifies that only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be created), it’s decentralised (its price cannot be manipulated by any government), it’s readily transmissible over the internet, easily stored and infinitely divisible, to the average person all of this means nothing.
While we early-adopters in the tech industry may try something for potential, it can only cross the chasm into the mainstream by transforming that potential into actual experience.
For a new entrant to disrupt an incumbent solution, it has to be better, not just by a few degrees, but by a margin big enough so as to shake users out of their inertia
The average person on the street today needs to have many more experiences where using Bitcoins is much more easier, secure or more advantageous in some way than using fiat currency. For them to use Bitcoins without knowing any of the underlying protocols is just like using the Indian rupee without really knowing how the Reserve Bank of India functions.
Also read: Indian Train Ticket Booking hacks.
While there have been a few cases of merchants in India who’ve started accepting Bitcoins, which makes for a great tweet, there hasn’t been a clear articulation of why paying in Bitcoins is substantially better than using other modes of payment.
— Rahul Sanghi (@RahulSanghi1) July 18, 2017
For a new entrant to disrupt an incumbent solution, it has to be better, not just by a few degrees, but by a margin big enough so as to shake users out of their inertia.
And Flybit strikes at India’s sweet spot — cheaper prices!
I checked prices for a Bangalore- New Delhi flight on India’s most popular online travel agent (OTA) — MakeMyTrip.
The price for the ticket after adding a convenience fee came to around Rs 3,508. When I checked the price for the same on Flybit, I was pleasantly surprised to see it being more than Rs 450 lower at just Rs 3,049.
Cheaper prices on Flybit!
Flybit asked me to pay 0.01843519 in Bitcoins to a specific Bitcoin address, and sent me the tickets within a couple of minutes of payment.
According to Prayank Gahlot, who runs Flybit, the prices on most domestic routes are discounted by more than 15% compared to traditional OTAs, but he wouldn’t reveal the name of the travel third party that provides the APIs behind Flybit. He also plans to provide a free Ola/Uber coupon with every domestic flight ticket soon.
Flybit calculates the Bitcoin-INR exchange rate by taking the mean of all the rates on the Indian exchanges at any moment in time, which also means that those who buy their Bitcoins from US exchanges (where it’s cheaper by 1.5%-2%) can save even more money.
Also Read: How to Travel for Cheap in India?
Flybit is currently running on a break-even basis to provide the cheapest possible domestic air tickets for users, to promote adoption of Bitcoins in India.
Flybit is currently running on a break-even basis to provide the cheapest possible domestic air tickets for users, to promote adoption of Bitcoins in India