In a world where digital currencies have rapidly transformed the way financial transactions are conducted, BitLux, a premier private flight jet company, has taken a pioneering leap by embracing cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for its luxury services.
The decision to accept digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, has set the company apart in the aviation industry, where traditional payment methods have long been the norm.
To gain deeper insights into this groundbreaking development and the company’s vision for the future, we had the privilege of sitting down with BitLux’s visionary leader, CEO Kyle Patel.
In this exclusive interview, Patel shares his thoughts on the journey of BitLux, the advantages of accepting cryptocurrencies, and what the future holds for the intersection of private aviation and digital currencies.
Here’s how it turned out!
1) Can you explain how your cryptocurrency-focused model works for private jet bookings, and what advantages it offers over traditional payment methods?
Hopefully, those reading this already know the advantages. Crypto, in most shapes and sizes, has one key functionality that is often overshadowed by the “tradability” of the market.
That functionality is this, Global, nearly instant, peer-to-peer payment processing. No middlemen, no weekends, no holiday delays, no credit card fees, just simple transacting, person to person or business to business.
2) Which cryptocurrencies can customers currently use to book private jet flights with your company, and are there plans to add more in the future?
Our process is pretty simple, but typically we will only accept cryptocurrency in the top 10 on CoinMarketCap for volume. We are people who enjoy the simple things in life, having an obnoxious backend to support payments certainly would go against the grain.
3) Cryptocurrencies are known for their price volatility. How does your company handle and mitigate the risks associated with cryptocurrency price fluctuations when it comes to booking and pricing private jet flights?
Great question and one we get a lot. The answer is simple: we have a lot of indicators for the market which lets us know whether it is a safe time to hold, accumulate, or whether we should protect our financial standing by selling the asset for FIAT. Most of the time, we do prefer to HODL and, of course, we stock our accounts payable with crypto whenever we can.
4) Private jet travel is often associated with high-net-worth individuals and corporate clients. How do you see the adoption of cryptocurrency aligning with the preferences and needs of your target clientele?
Private jet travel will be and, in my opinion, should always be associated with anyone and everyone who doesn’t conform to the limitations of cookie-cutter travel. While I think airlines are vitally important, they certainly leave very large gaps in coverage of both area, time, and ability. In saying this, the adoption of crypto won’t change the underlying fundamentals of who and how private aviation is used in the marketplace.
As crypto grows and appreciates, the new generation of HNW individuals will step in, however, the premise is the same – high net-worth individuals or companies who need more out of the skies than most.
5) How do you handle refunds or cancellations when customers pay with cryptocurrency, considering the irreversible nature of most cryptocurrency transactions?
We work with each client individually on their preferences — typically they prefer to have the USD value locked as opposed to the asset value. What we do on the back end is proprietary and we let the market dictate what we do. The psychological aspect of this is, that when making a purchase, the expense is done and paid once the money is out. Whether the asset goes up or down, its value that was traded at the time and remains that value for the remainder of history.
We have only had a few cancelations in the past, and several clients prefer to hold any pending funds as credits. We have issued two refunds in our history and those were both due to permitting issues during COVID from foreign countries.
6) Can you share any success stories or client feedback related to using cryptocurrency for booking private jet services?
My personal favorite is one that took place in Russia. Grozny to Oslo, Norway. When we were still, as a global population, trying to figure out what was going on with COVID-19, peak fear, and unknown circumstances, it was extremely difficult to begin with.
We got a call at about 3 AM EST over a weekend. This guy was freaking out not knowing what to do as his mother was in critical condition in a hospital in Russia while visiting family/friends. He explained that the hospital she was taken to, for unknown reasons, couldn’t treat her and he had to move her to Oslo, where she was from. This way she could get proper medical care under the umbrella of her own home country.
Shortly after the call, the client phoned us back, saying that he couldn’t produce a credit card to be able to secure the trip. Being a weekend, this would be impossible for a bank transfer or any traditional form of currency trade. Luckily, we had all the infrastructure in place to accept Bitcoin and existing relationships with the plane owner to get things moving. His brother happened to have quite a few bitcoins from years back and they decided to use those to move their mother.
Again, maybe two hours after this, he called back and told us the doctors were fearful that the passenger’s lungs were collapsing and he remitted bitcoin to us. Within 90 minutes, we had a medically equipped air ambulance in the air over Europe to go pick her up. Within 4.5 hours, she was on board and under medical care inside the aircraft where she was kept stable, and ultimately she landed in Oslo and right into a hospital.
The immense amount of gratitude we received from the family still sticks with me. It absolutely gives me goosebumps thinking about how a simple payment solution provided so much value and likely saved this woman’s life.
For those curious, it was 79 bitcoin. At the time, its value was far different from what it is today.
7) Many companies are also exploring NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and the metaverse. Are there any plans for your company to embrace them, and if so, in what capacity?
We do not have any plans to run any NFT processes on our end. For now, nearly everything we do is internal and we’ve got a very smooth system in place to process and pass data from one side of the business to another.
On the customer end, perhaps we will roll out a form of NFTs that can be exchanged back to us, but for the time being, our focus is ensuring that our brand message reaches whom it needs. The message is simple: flying private should be just like our finances should be. Fast, easy, simple, and efficient. Any other way is a waste of your time.
8) In terms of long-term sustainability, how do you see the role of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology evolving within the private aviation industry?
Take the example I gave you above — aviation works on the banking hour schedule. Unfortunately, nobody in the industry moves tens of millions of dollars on a contract and hopes someone pays when Monday rolls around. Crypto removes this barrier. A major one at that. Heck, we’re all about flexibility and limitless travel — why limit the plane and geographic movement of people or things based on a flawed financial system?