Football Fans will be able to pay with bitcoin for their accommodation when they visit Russia for this year’s World Cup. Hotels in Kaliningrad, expecting guests from eight countries, are partnering with a local payment provider to offer the service. Booking a room for the day when England plays Belgium will cost approx. $300 in fiat.
Kaliningrad, the capital of Russia’s westernmost region, is one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The mundial is scheduled to take place in the Russian Federation from June 14 to July 15. The city is expecting teams and supporters from Spain, Belgium, Serbia, England, Switzerland, Croatia, Morocco and Nigeria. Hotel owners in the Russian exclave have decided to offer their guests the opportunity to pay for their stay in bitcoin. According to local media, a hotel chain has already teamed up with a payment processor to provide the service. Anna Subbotina, manager of Apartments Malina, commented: We are seeing increasing interest in cryptocurrencies. 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”, Subbotina told Buying Business Travel Russia.
She expects other hotels in the area to soon follow the example and offer cryptocurrency payment options. Her company is partnering with one of Russia’s electronic payment providers, which supports cryptocurrency transactions, including bitcoin payments. “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”, he noted. Accommodation rates in host cities have skyrocketed months before the championship. Kaliningrad is among the most expensive destinations, according to Yanis Dzenis, PR Director at Aviasales Travel. “Booking a room there on June 28, when England plays Belgium, will cost you ₽18,000 RUB (over $300)”, he told Interfax. That’s 10 times more than the regular fare, he added. Mundial of Many Firsts The World Cup matches will be played at 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities. This is the first mundial to be held in Russia, in Eastern Europe, and on two continents – Europe and Asia. The video assistant referee will also be used for the first time. Most of the stadiums are newly built or renovated. Kaliningrad will host 4 games. 32 national teams will compete for the World Cup. Two bills regulating different aspects of the crypto ecosphere have been introduced to Russia’s parliament this year. The first one, the law “On Digital Financial Assets”, legalizes blockchain technologies, mining operations and initial coin offerings. The second draft, which was filed this week, amends Russia’s Civil Code to regulate the use for cryptocurrencies and protect investors’ rights. Both are expected to be adopted by the summer, possibly before the start of the World Cup.