Fortaleza to Let Residents Pay for Public Transport in Bitcoin

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Brazil’s fifth-most populous city could soon be about to get an upgrade to its public transport network. Cootraps – the company that runs the public transport in Fortaleza – has announced that it will be upgrading its systems and will allow customers to pay for their bus fare in Bitcoin, card, cash, or frequent flier miles come the end of 2019. A screen will generate and display a QR code that a bus rider can scan in order to pay for the bus fare, a fairly novel way of implementing the system.

Still Potential Flaws

Should the bus passenger not have enough Bitcoin in their wallet, they could scan the QR code and get a free bus ride. Due to the fact that Bitcoin transactions still take upwards of 10 minutes – not to mention it’s rather expensive to use – means it’s not the ideal solution for bus fare. If Cootraps deploys its own Bitcoin wallet that can be used specifically for travelling by bus – similarly to how Flexa works in the US – then it could solve this issue.

Following in the Footsteps of Argentina

Earlier this year, the Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico (SUBE) in Argentina announced that it was allowing customers to top-up their travel passes with Bitcoin in 37 locations. The passes filled with Bitcoin can be used on a range of public transport vehicles, including busses, trains, and ferries. The minimum top-up value is 50 pesos and highlights Argentina’s commitment to welcoming Bitcoin into the national economy.

Is Japan Up Next?

Japan is the home of tech innovation, so it comes as no surprise that The East Japan Railway Company has teamed up with the IIJ. The duo is exploring ways to integrate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into the regional rail pass system. If the pair manage to succeed, Japanese rail users will be able to pay for their rides in Bitcoin, as well as a basket of other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular in South America, largely due to the poor economic reports that are emerging from the nation’s media. As countries head into recession and hyperinflation, residents turn to Bitcoin as a way to escape poverty. By allowing people to pay for the bus in Bitcoin will mean that Cootraps continues to make money even if the Brazilian economy begins to falter and head down the same path as Venezuela – not to mention cashing in on crypto tourism which is booming at the moment.