Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Blockchain firm to allow users to buy trips on Viator with crypto

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Australian-based blockchain company ShareRing has partnered with Tripadvisor experience marketplace Viator to allow users to pay for almost 400,000 tourism experiences with a variety of cryptocurrencies.

The ShareRing platform, built on Tendermint, will allow users to book, register, and pay for Viator’s 395,000 global activities and experiences, using local fiat currencies or major crypto assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and its native SharePay token (SHRP).

The platform uses the ShareRing ID system to ensure that sensitive personal and financial information is securely handled, and has contact tracing features to help with tourism safety during the pandemic.

“We’re very happy to be adding Viator to the ShareRing ecosystem,” said ShareRing CEO Tim Bos.

He said that when creating an account on the ShareRing app, users are actually setting up an ID on the blockchain. “It is a self-sovereign ID that they have control over,” Bos told Cointelegraph in an interview. “This creates trust between them and the provider, especially where certain experiences might involve higher risk.”

ShareRing claims that users will also be able to book more than 2.6 million hotels, flights, and vehicle rentals, visa and tourist applications via multiple soon-to-be-announced partnerships.

Although the technical side of things is ready, ShareRing will proceed with a soft launch that will see the entire range of products available to customers by Christmas. ShareRing estimates 100,000 users will have signed up to the platform by the end of the year.

“Our reach will be global, although we will initially focus on the South-East Asia region,” Bos explained, adding:

“We are working with the Thai government to connect our platform with the Thai government’s E-visa on arrival system.”

The company has received between $2.5 and $3 million this year in funding from notable investment funds including 12 Peers Capital Markets, Alphabit, GDA Capital and Alpha Sigma Capital. “This funding, which 100% has been put back into the company in operations and marketing, has helped us grow our team including opening new offices in China and Thailand,” Bos stated.

In August, the firm announced an anonymous e-passport app with contact tracing to aid in the safe re-opening of borders, shops, and tourism during the pandemic, with travelers providing a “Proof of Health” at points of entry.

The app allows users to upload important documentation, such as e-visa on arrival (eVOA), passport information, travel insurance, flight and accommodation bookings, and a negative COVID-19 test result.