Uber Has New CEO and Is in Favor of Bitcoin
Uber would have chosen Expedia chief Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO. Under Khosrowshahi’s lead, Expedia started accepting bitcoin. He is also a personal investor in Bitcoin startup 21 Inc.
Uber Technologies Inc reportedly chose Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO on Sunday, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. Bloomberg reported: “Uber Technologies Inc. will appoint Expedia Inc.’s Dara Khosrowshahi to run the global ride-hailing leviathan.”
Khosrowshahi began serving as Expedia’s CEO in August 2005, helping the company extend its global presence to more than 60 countries. “Under his leadership, Expedia, Inc. has grown to become the largest online travel company in the world,” shows its business profile. The Brown University graduate became the highest paid CEO in the S&P 500 in 2015, with compensation totaling $94.6 million, according to a report compiled by Equilar and the Associated Press.
In March 2015, he personally invested an undisclosed amount in the $116 million Series B fundraising round for 21 Inc. In addition, his Linkedin profile shows that he is a member of the professional Bitcoin P2P Digital Currency group.
If Khosrowshahi accepts Uber’s offer, he would be replacing founder Travis Kalanick, who resigned after a shareholder revolt. At press time, he has not yet accepted the offer.
During Khosrowshahi’s leadership, Expedia started accepting bitcoin on June 11, 2014. However, the option is only available for hotel bookings, which is still the case today. For flights, the only payment options are debit/credit cards and Masterpass currently.
Bitcoin’s payments for Expedia are processed by Coinbase. Customers who pay with bitcoin are directed to the Coinbase website. Michael Gulmann, global vice president of global products for Expedia, explained at that time that:
“Coinbase immediately converts all customer bitcoin transactions into U.S. dollars with its instant exchange feature, so we at Expedia never actually collect or hold any bitcoin.”
While Uber does not accept bitcoin, some Uber drivers have independently explored the option.
In July 2016, in Argentina, Uber drivers began accepting payments using the Bitcoin portfolio and the Xapo card service to avoid a political blockade that would prevent them from accepting credit cards in the country. It was reported at that time how Xapo debit card could use Uber’s existing card readers, giving Argentinians a way to pay for their Uber rides in addition to cash. The political embargo stopping Uber from using credit cards did not affect Xapo’s debit card since they are topped up using bitcoin, Xapo explained.
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