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Russian Hotels to Allow Worlcup Fans to Pay With Bitcoin

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Russian hotels will allow football fans visiting Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to pay for their accommodation with bitcoin. Hotels in Kaliningrad that expect to host visitors from about eight countries have partnered with Free-Kassa, an electronic payment provider to provide the bitcoin payment service. Booking a hotel room on the day Belgium plays England will cost approximately 300 USD in fiat. 

Kaliningrad city is the capital of the Russian Federation’s westernmost region, and it is expecting supporters and teams from Nigeria, Morocco, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Serbia, Croatia, and Spain. Media reports reveal that a hotel chain in the exclave has teamed up with a local payment processor to offer fans the bitcoin payment services.

“We’re seeing an increasing interest in digital currencies. They will gradually get into use as a payment option,” stated Anna Subbotina, the manager of a leading hospitality firm in Kaliningrad. In an interview with Buying Business Travel, Russia Subbotina said that “We’ve decided that supporters should easily be able to make payments for services with this innovative technology,” adding that she hopes that other hotels will soon follow suit and start offering cryptocurrency payment options.

Subbotina’s firm is partnering with Free-Kassa, one of the top electronic payment providers in Russia which support crypto transactions including BTC payments. “This is a really interesting experience, we have not worked with any hotels so far,” commented Vitaly Lavrov, Free-Kassa’s Development Manager. “The hospitality sector is somewhat sensitive to new trends,” he stated.

Months before the World Cup starts, accommodation rates in Russia, particularly in host cities have surged. According to a PR director at Aviasales Travel, Yani Dzenis, Kaliningrad is one of the most expensive cities right now. Dzenis reveals that booking a room in the city on 28th June when England will be playing Belgium will cost about $18,000, approximately $300. That is ten times more than standard rates.”

The 2018 FIFA World Cup matches are scheduled to be played at twelve stadia in eleven cities across Russia. This is set to be the first ever Mundial held in the Russian Federation, in Eastern Europe, on two continents, that’s Europe and Asia. Again, for the first time, video assistant referees are going to be used in all matches. Most of the stadia are newly built while some have been renovated. The city of Kaliningrad will host four matches. This year’s FIFA World Cup will take place from 14th June to 15th July, with a total of thirty-two teams set to compete for the championship.

This year only, there have been two bills tabled in the Russian Parliament about regulating various aspects of the cryptocurrency industry. The first bill is about the law on Digital Financial Assets, which seeks to legalize the blockchain technology, crypto mining operations and ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). The second one, which has been filed this week, aims to amend Russia’s Civil Code in a bid to regulate the circulation and use of cryptos while protecting the rights of investors. Both drafts are anticipated to be passed and implemented by the summer.

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