Air Asia, one of the largest low-cost carriers on the continent, announced its plans to enter the cryptocurrency market through an ICO.
Tony Fernandes, CEO, recently told TechCrunch, that its company’s frequent-flyer rewards program could be converted into a blockchain based cryptocurrency platform, as part of a broader effort to adopt a cashless system. In summary, Fernandes described a platform that allows customers to buy seats, in-flight meals, and several other services using the new cryptocurrency, called BigCoin:
“We have two things that are very interesting which will have relevance to ICOs, one is our loyalty card where we have [loyalty program] BIG Points, and I think those BigPoints can be easily transferred to the blockchain,” He also mentioned that “We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty, [and] we’re building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely. We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency, there’s no point having a currency that can’t be used,”
Fernandes is well known as a businessman always prepared to explore new opportunities. AirAsia is the company that pioneered the low-cost airline model in the region and recently reached 65 million registered customers. Fernandes is also known for being the owner of the English football club QPR.
There is no clear timeline for the ICO, but it expected that the token will be available through a crowdsale in three to six months. Also, there are no details whether the company will develop its own blockchain or will use one of the existing platforms.
AirAsia joins the likes of Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa in exploring blockchain technology to enhance their services.
Singapore Airlines is known to work with KPMG and Microsoft for a similar project and they already developed a proof-of-concept. The full implementation will allow the customers to spend their miles at participating retail merchants.
Lufthansa announced that it has partnered with Winding Tree, a blockchain startup that aims to minimize intermediaries in B2B travel booking.
However, if AirAsia will succeed with this project, it will be the first arline owning a cryptocurrency.