Russian Hotels To Accept Bitcoin Payments During FIFA World Cup
Hotels in Kaliningrad, the capital of Russia’s westernmost region, will allow football fans to pay with bitcoin for their accommodation when they visit the country for this year’s FIFA World Cup, which will be held from June 14 to July 15.
Some hotels in Kaliningrad are reportedly partnering with a local payment provider to offer the service. The owners of Apartments Malina hotel said it has already partnered with Free-Kassa, an online payment platform that supports cryptocurrency transactions, including bitcoin payments.
“We are seeing increasing interest in cryptocurrencies,” said Anna Subbotina, manager of Apartments Malina. “They will gradually come into use as a means of payment. We have decided that fans should be able to pay for our services with the help of this innovative technology.”
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is the first mundial to be held in Russia. The matches will be played at 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities. Kaliningrad is expecting teams and supporters from Spain, Belgium, Serbia, England, Switzerland, Croatia, Morocco and Nigeria. Average booking fare has already increased ten-fold to $300 for a room for June 28, when England will play Belgium in the city. The situation with hotel prices is similar in other Russian host cities as well.
“This is an interesting experience for us – we haven’t worked with hotels so far,” said Vitaliy Lavrov, Development Manager at Free-Kassa. “The hospitality industry is quite sensitive towards new trends.”
Currently, the Russian law is neither allowing nor forbidding cryptocurrency payments. However, two bills have recently been introduced in the parliament that could potentially ensure the legal status of cryptocurrencies. The first one, the law “On Digital Financial Assets”, legalizes blockchain technologies, mining operations and initial coin offerings (ICO). The other law works on Russia’s Civil Code in the regulation of the cryptocurrency use and also in the protection of investor rights. The bills are expected to be adopted just before the FIFA World Cup begins.
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