AirAsia, the Malaysian budget airline, is looking to run an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). At the same time, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes just launched BigPay, the airline’s digital payment’s platform.
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Blockchain-Powered Loyalty Program
“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,”
An innovative businessman, Fernandes is said to have changed the face of the AirAsia airline. He is the driving factor for diversifying the company’s wealth, mainly into fintech. The $3 billion USD company has more than 65 million registered customers and has won the low-cost category of the Skytrax awards nine times in a row. Now, the Malaysian-born businessman has officially set his eyes on the crypto space.
“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,” Fernandes said. “We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency, there’s no point having a currency that can’t be used.”
Just weeks before, Malaysian government released new regulations for the crypto trading market. According to the new central bank legislation, Malaysian exchanges will have to identify traders on their platforms to mitigate money laundering.
For now, Fernandes cannot reveal how the ICO would take place and how much it wants to raise. According to him, AirAsia is in a negotiation position with the government when it comes to regulations.
Blockchain in the Airline Industry
AirAsia’s plan to enter the blockchain space underlies how several other aviation industry participants have espoused endorsements of blockchain technology in recent weeks.
For example, AirAsia’s regional competitor Singapore Airlines just announced itself a blockchain-backed loyalty wallet. The digital wallet will serve its KrisFlyer program, enabling customers to conveniently spend their air miles at retail partners.
Earlier this year, Australia’s third-busiest airport, Brisbane International Airport, started taking payments in bitcoin, ether, and more cryptocurrencies at retail shops in its facilities. Last year, Europe’s biggest airline Lufthansa their intent to invest in Swiss blockchain startup Winding Tree’s Ethereum-based ICO.
Will AirAsia’s announcement of a potential ICO reflect on its share price? Let us know your views in the comments section below.
Images via Fortune, AirBus