Retreat takes digital currency bite

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser

A small luxury retreat in Denmark has become the first registered tourism accommodation in regional WA to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.

Gadi Barak, owner and founder of Aiyana Retreat, has decided to accept Bitcoin payment at his small accommodation business in Denmark.

He was inspired by his brother, who decided to purchase what many refer to as the new digital currency as a form of investment.

“At first, I said to him ‘you’re crazy’,” he said.

“You’re basically buying a bunch of numbers and paying thousands of dollars for it.

“So I started my own research and then I realised the biggest part of it is actually the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin.”

This technology allows Bitcoin users to complete any transactions in a seamless and transparent way without needing to use services by any financial institutions.

“You can communicate with somebody in Sweden or Nigeria without the need of a middle man — it’s strictly business — and straight communication,” Mr Barak said. “The first thing that Bitcoin will do is to cut the middle men out ...

it’s basically doing to the whole world what Airbnb is doing to the hotel business.”

The algorithm behind blockchain technology has allowedBitcoin to become a decentralised commodity in the world. The currency works from one user to another without any central bank or main user to regulate it.

However, with it also comes instability. Though the price of Bitcoin has increased steadily in recent years, the value dropped significantly in 2013.

The value decreased by 70 percent, as it fell from $233 to $67 overnight. Bitcoin also had a massive drop in 2014 and another one in July this year.

However, overall, the digital currency’s value has increased over time.

In 2009, one Bitcoin was worth less than AU$1 and is now worth close to AU$15,000.

“At the moment, everybody’s calling it a bubble,” Mr Barak said.

“They’re very scared of it and people think that this just another bubble.

“They think that these people are just buying into a frenzy — it will soon pass and a lot of people will get hurt.”

Blockchain Australia president Adam Poulton said Mr Barak’s was one of the only accommodation business in WA which accepted Bitcoin and congratulated him on his bold move.

“I dare say there’s a few Airbnb (operators) that use it, but from my knowledge, Aiyana Retreat is probably the only tourism accommodation business that accepts Bitcoin in WA,” Mr Poulton said.

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