Cryptocurrency users are leveraging their new-found wealth to fly more often with private jets. This week the directional aviation company Privatefly revealed that close to 20% of the firm’s sales were paid in cryptocurrencies last month, and 13% out of that aggregate used bitcoin.
On-Demand Private Flights and Crypto
According to data from the company Privatefly, purchasing flights with digital assets has soared in recent times. For instance, the directional aviation company said a few years ago, the company pulled in 1-2% from crypto payments for flights. The numbers jumped significantly in December 2020 to 12%, and subsequently spiked to 13% during the first month of 2021. Out of the 13% in BTC payments, cryptocurrency settlement, in general, makes up 19% of Privatefly’s revenue.
The flight company says that Privatefly started accepting bitcoin early in 2014 and since then, it has expanded its cryptocurrency support. The company uses Bitpay for one-off flights or memberships, and this week it has started a new bitcoin program. Privatefly has launched the “Bitcoin Jet Account,” which allows customers to hold their BTC and open a membership at the same time, but keep the funds held in crypto.
“While we have accepted bitcoin payments for many years now,” Adam Twidell, Privatefly’s CEO said. “Cryptocurrency transactions have really taken off in recent months. These are in line with Bitcoin’s climb in value – to the extent that 13% of our flights were paid for in this way last month. We have previously seen just 1-2% each month,” the CEO added.
Some of these are clients who are looking to realise their gains, while others want to hold onto their cryptocurrency, in expectation of future increases. So, in addition to taking out a membership with us in bitcoin and converting the account funds into traditional currency (as we have offered for a while), we now offer a membership program that allows the account funds to stay in bitcoin.
‘The Perfect Way to Pay’
Privatefly explained that years ago, that the Belgian tech entrepreneur, Olivier Janssens, was the firm’s first customer to pay in bitcoin. Janssens took a flight to Nice Cote D’Azur from Brussels and booked and paid for the trip on the same day.
“The flight was the biggest Bitcoin payment transaction I have made,” Janssens said at the time. “But it was very easy and efficient, particularly as I wanted to fly at very short notice. It was the perfect way to pay.”
Recently, Credit Suisse Group AG, BNP Paribas SA, and a number of other financial institutions said demand for private jets has increased massively and should continue throughout 2021. “Looking back we had a very good year and much, much better than expected,” the chief of aviation for the equipment-finance unit of Societe Generale SA, Werner Slavik, noted during a Jet Investor event.
The aviation company Privatefly offers one-off ‘on-demand’ private flights, but regular patrons can also create a membership account and deposit funds regularly. “Privatefly has always sought to make private jet travel easier to book, combining innovative technology with deep industry expertise and the secure backing of one of the world’s largest private aviation groups, with annual revenues of over $2 billion,” Twidell noted during the announcement.
“Many of our clients are tech-savvy and entrepreneurial people, which is why we started accepting bitcoin payments for one-off flights in 2014, a world-first at the time,” Twidell concluded. “We are now the first to offer a private jet membership program based on bitcoin funds.”
Privatefly also supports payments in bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), and four USD-pegged stablecoins (GUSD, USDC, PAX, and BUSD).