Expedia taking bitcoin for hotel stays

Travelers booking hotel rooms through Expedia are now able to pay with the virtual currency bitcoin, the online travel giant announced on Wednesday.

The Bellevue, Wash., company said that accepting the cryptocurrency would make it easier for customers looking to book hotels.

"We're continually looking at ways consumers want to pay for their travel; bitcoin is a great example of how Expedia is investing early in an array of payment options to give our customers and partners more choice in the ways they interact with us,” Michael Gulmann, vice president of the Expedia's global product, said in a statement.

The announcement adds to a string of good news for bitcoin proponents, who say that the currency and the technology on which it operates has the potential to revolutionize the way people send money across the globe.

In recent weeks, the satellite TV company DISH announced that it would start taking bitcoins to pay monthly bills, joining a growing cadre of companies in the arena. Rapper 50 Cent is also accepting bitcoins for sales of his new album. 

The moves, along with growing interest by major Wall Street institutions, is helping to remove some of the stigma that has been associated with the money.

Bitcoins only exist online and can be spent relatively anonymously, which has raised concerns that they can make it too easy for drug dealers and terrorists to launder money.

Expedia is partnering with Coinbase, a popular bitcoin processing company, for transactions with the currency. Customers looking to pay with credit cards will not experience any changes.