United States citizens can now pay for select passport services with bitcoin. Peninsula Visa announced the change to its accepted payment methods, on Nov. 11.Anticipating an increasingly digital post-coronavirus world, the company describes the service as being “the right move at the right time.”
Peninsula Visa Becomes the First US Expeditor to Accept BitcoinPeninsula Visa, a US-based passport and visa expeditor, now accepts bitcoin for some of the services it offers. According to a press release, the company will allow customers to pay for passport renewals, name changes, and second passports, all with the leading cryptocurrency. Facilitating the bitcoin payments will be Coinbase Commerce. Although the Coinbase payments platform supports alternative cryptocurrencies, there is nothing in either the press release or the products page to suggest Peninsula Visa is accepting payments in non-BTC digital assets. The company, founded in Silicon Valley in the 1970s, says that it’s planning to expand the passport services it offers for bitcoin over the next 12 months. Evan James, its Chief Operating Officer, commented that the move felt right based on predictions of an increasingly digital post-COVID world. He added that Peninsula Visa was thrilled to be the first US company of its kind to accept BTC.
Protections Against BTC VolatilityFor many industry observers, bitcoin has been something of a failure as a payments network. Price volatility makes accepting it for goods and services a headache for some companies. Peninsula Visa aims to protect itself from this by providing a payment window in which the exchange rate is locked for ten minutes. Its website details that, depending on BTC price moves, the company may provide a new exchange rate after this time.
A US, Not World, FirstAs mentioned, Peninsula Visa is offering the first US passport services for bitcoin payments. However, at least one other nation has experimented with BTC passport payments previously. As BeInCrypto reported in July, Venezuela’s Government also began accepting bitcoin to pay for passports momentarily. Prompting the trial was a fresh slew of US sanctions that hindered the South American nation’s ability to transact internationally. Although bitcoin’s censorship-resistant payments seem appropriate to Venezuela’s situation, the trial appears to have been short-lived. The option to pay in BTC disappeared from the website shortly after appearing.
BeInCrypto has reached out to company or individual involved in the story to get an official statement about the recent developments, but it has yet to hear back.