Expedia Confirms No Longer Accepting Bitcoin For Payments
BITCOIN-A spokesperson for Expedia, the popular U.S. based travel company which collects over 10 billion USD in annual revenue, has confirmed with Cointelegraph that the company will no longer be accepting Bitcoin for digital payments. The news of Bitcoin no longer being listed with the site was first pointed out by community members on June 10th, when the company quietly did away with the option to use the leading cryptocurrency by market cap for digital payments. While the company has yet to issue an official statement detailing their reasoning for removing the currency-and likely has no intention of doing so at this point-price volatility in addition to plunging Bitcoin prices is most likely to blame for discontinuing the service. Expedia, with a market cap hovering around 18.2 billion USD, has a responsibility to shareholders that supersedes their interest in accepting cryptocurrency.
Despite the fact that some community members have stated they will no longer be using Expedia given their stance on accepting cryptocurrency, the company has chosen to distance themselves from the tumultuous price of Bitcoin. Undoubtedly, BTC payments made up a small fraction of overall sales, but enough for investors to question Expedia’s holding of the currency-particularly in light of the price plunging 70% in value since the last all time high. Given that Expedia has been accepting Bitcoin since June 2014, when they announced a partnership with Coinbase, the company has benefited from the appreciation of BTC over the last several years. CheapAir, a travel agency which still accepts Bitcoin for payment, made the transition from Coinbase to BitPay following the change in service. Without a reliable merchant program, Expedia may have found dealing in Bitcoin to not be worth the effort of accepting the currency for payments.
It’s possible the agency will resume crypto-based payments in the future, assuming they can find the right partnership to fill their need. While BTC holders always have the option of cashing out their crypto to pay for travel, having companies deal directly in crypto brings greater benefit. For those crypto users of Expedia looking for a new outlet to spend their BTC on travel expenses, the aforementioned CheapAir still accepts Bitcoin.
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Amazon Web Services
Expedia provides travel-booking services across its flagship site Expedia.com and about 200 other travel-booking sites around the world. The Expedia Worldwide Engineering organization supports all websites under the Expedia brand. Expedia began using Amazon Web Services in 2010 to launch Expedia Suggest Service, a typeahead suggestion service that helps customers enter travel, search, and location information correctly. At the time, Expedia operated all its services from data centers in Chandler, AZ. The engineering team realized that they had to run ESS in locations physically close to customers to enable a quick and responsive service with minimal network latency.
Expedia considered on-premises virtualization solutions as well as other cloud providers, but ultimately chose Amazon Web Services because it was the only solution with the global infrastructure in place to support Asia Pacific customers. Expedia provisions Hadoop clusters using Amazon Elastic Map Reduce to analyze and process streams of data coming from Expedia’s global network of websites, primarily clickstream, user interaction, and supply data, which is stored on Amazon Simple Storage Service. Expedia uses AWS CloudFormation with Chef to deploy its entire front and backend stack into its Amazon Virtual Private Cloud environment. Figure 2 demonstrates the architecture of the GDE service on AWS. Expedia can add a new cluster to manage GDE and other high volume applications without worrying about the infrastructure.
To simplify the management of GDE, Expedia developed an identity federation broker that uses AWS Identity and Access Management and the AWS Security Token Service. If an employee ever leaves the company or takes a different role, Expedia simply make changes to Active Directory to revoke or changes AWS permissions for the user instead of inside of AWS. The success of the ESS and GDE services sparked interest from other Expedia development teams, who began to use AWS for regional initiatives. Expedia applies Amazon EC2 Security Group firewall settings to safeguard applications and services. Amazon VPC is completely integrated into Expedia’s lab and production environments.