CheapAir Asks Customers For Feedback After Coinbase Shuts Down Merchant Processing Solution

Francisco Memoria
  • CheapAir has been accepting bitcoin since 2013, and is now looking for a company to help it manage cryptocurrency payments, as Coinbase is shutting down its merchant processing solution.
  • The company sees BitPay as an alternative but would like to hear from users. It's also set on adding BCH, Dash, and LTC.

US-based flight aggregator CheapAir, a company that’s been accepting bitcoin payments since 2013, recently published an open letter in which it asks its users for feedback on which cryptocurrency payment processor it should go with to replace Coinbase, as the latter is shutting down its Merchant Tools.

In the letter, CheapAir chief executive officer Jeff Klee notes that the company has been accepting bitcoin payments for a while and plans to keep doing so. Taking into account Coinbase is shutting down its “custodial” solution for merchants, accepting cryptos will be harder.

One of the solutions Klee proposes is using BitPay, whose merchant applications allow for Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) payments. CheapAir cites having a “great experience” with the company, and claims integration is largely complete. However, it notes BitPay requires specific protocol-compliant wallets, which could be an inconvenience to users.

Klee wrote:

“We understand what Bitpay is trying to accomplish. The issues they are trying to address – delayed or incorrect payments – are real and were especially rampant back in December and January when transaction volumes spiked. On the other hand, I am not keen on the idea of asking our customers to, in many cases, do more work or change wallets just to be able to transact with us.”

Jeff Klee

While asking for feedback in the letter, the chief executive also revealed it will use the opportunity to start accepting other cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin. It’s also set to automate some processes to issue refunds faster.

In the document, the CEO revealed that CheapAir needs to convert most of the bitcoins it receives as payments to fiat, because its partners – such as hotels and airlines – don’t accept bitcoin.

CheapAir has in the past revealed accepting bitcoin affected sales in both direction, as they dropped when bitcoin’s value dropped, but surged when bitcoin hit a new all-time high. In a March 2017 press release, Jeff Klee claimed the company saw a 74 percent year-over-year increase in bitcoin sales “over the last six months.”

Coinbase’s move to shut down its Coinbase Merchant Tools in favor of Coinbase Commerce has affected other companies as well. As covered, Reddit recently stopped accepting Bitcoin payments for its Reddit Gold membership program because of the move.

The San Francisco-based wallet and exchange service recently came under fire for suspending WikiLeaks Shop’s account “without notice or explanation.” In response to Coinbase’s move, WikiLeaks revealed it will “call for a global blockade of Coinbase next week as a unfit member of the crypto community.”

Microsoft's Bing Reportedly Blocked Over 5 Million Cryptocurrency Ads Last Year

Francisco Memoria

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has reportedly blocked over 5 million cryptocurrency-related ads last year, as a result of a ban the search engine enacted in an attempt to protect its users from fraudsters.

According to Bing’s ad quality review, the company’s bad account takedowns doubled in 2018, with cryptocurrency, weapons, and third-party tech support scams being the main problems it faced. Overall, Bing suspended “nearly 200,000 accounts” last year, and removed 900 million ads from its platform.

As covered, Bing banned cryptocurrency-related ads back in May, in a move it claimed was made to protect users from scammers, as the crypto market being unregulated meant cryptocurrencies “present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers.”

At the time Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, who published the company’s blog post on the move, wrote:

To help protect our users from this risk, we have made the decision to disallow advertising for cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency related products, and un-regulated binary options. Bing Ads will implement this change to our financial product and services policy globally in June, with enforcement rolling out in late June to early July.

The move saw cryptocurrencies join other questionable products and services Microsoft banned from its platform. These include Ponzi and pyramid schemes, and the mentioned third-party tech support scams.

Bing notably banned cryptocurrency-related ads following bans enacted by search giant Google and social media giant Facebook. These two firms have since started allowing crypto-related ads from a few companies.

At the time, various cryptocurrency associations threatened lawsuits against the tech giants over what they claimed to be “cartel collusion” against cryptos, made in an attempt to manipulate the market.

Although Microsoft’s search engine has banned crypto ads, the tech giant itself has been accepting bitcoin payments since 2014. Its website even has a how-to page walking users through the process of topping up their accounts using BTC.