9flats hosts now can earn money in Bitcoins | 9flats blog - inside the world of social travel

9flats hosts now can earn money in Bitcoins

A Personal note from Stephan Uhrenbacher, CEO of 9flats

Last week, we announced via TechCrunch that we would be one of the first larger companies to accept payments via Bitcoin. The implementation of this quite simple technical step did cause a stir.

Now, we are taking it one step further:
From today, 9flats hosts are able to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment. So for the first time, anyone can make money in Bitcoin, not just the geeks “mining” them or the rest of us buying them via an exchange.

This is something which our hosts have asked for repeatedly and we are glad that we can do this. Here is a bit of the underlying reasoning on why we support Bitcoin.

Transactions are expensive. 9flats moves a lot of money. Payment costs are the single biggest expense we have in accepting payment from our guests and transferring the money to our hosts. This is the reason why we see so many new payment startups that all make it easier to accept credit cards for merchants: These 1-3 % per transaction just add up. For us, of course we like to see the cost of these transactions to go down. Bitcoin is a cheaper payment method and I think transaction costs will rather go down than up. With Visa and Mastercard you have strong shareholders who demand a dividend, a decentralised system like Bitcoin in theory should foster competition amongst providers. Our hope is that the current rates to simply get your money from A to B should go down in the future.

International Financial Transactions are be a pain. As we currently offer places in 159 countries, we often have trouble with international bank transfers. Not everyone uses PayPal and in Russia for example it is not even possible to set up a PayPal account. In some cases we had to resort to Western Union even in the US  in order to ensure that people got their money. This is clearly not the way we think a global economy should work.

Setting up Bitcoin was no hassle for us at all. Within our processes we convert Bitcoins into the respective currency (mostly Euro) at the moment of transaction. This ensures that neither 9flats nor the guest are put at risk of currency fluctuations of Bitcoin which are presently a big issue. Of course, the host has a choice whether to directly transfer Bitcoin into local curreny or to hold on to it with full exposure to ups and downs to the exchange rate of Bitcoin.

I have one more philosophical reason to support bitcoin:  Over the past years in reality both USD and Euro have not been a great store of value. Printing money is not a good way of preserving the value of the currency. If you were on the lookout for something that had a trend to appreciate then you would have chosen currencies of countries like Canada or Australia with a strong link to the price of commodities such as crude oil or iron ore. In essence regardless whatever you do to hedge your bets there will always be some level of speculation involved. Adding another currency that is not linked to politics of an individual country does make a lot of sense to me.

Important: We do not advise for or against investing in Bitcoin. Bitcoin as a currency provides an easy way for transferring money. Because of the recent surge in the share price of Bitcoin, many people are starting to hoard Bitcoins as a kind of speculation. While it is entirely possible that the trend of an increased value for Bitcoin might continue we do also see the risk that any sudden change in regulation or negative news about Bitcoin could result in the price falling quite rapidly. This would not have an effect on the use of Bitcoin as a payment method, but it would mean that people would risk losing the value they have invested in Bitcoin.

9flats enables Bincoin as a payout method

Written by , April 11, 2013


  • Poowo Ro says:

    The Bitcoin developers say “Put only money into Bitcoin that you can afford to lose”. Some put their life savings into Bitcoin and that can kill their economy and put them in debt for life, so beware. I like Bitcoin, but you have also to use your brain when dealing with your economy or you may be roaming the streets very soon…

  • Niels says:

    Nice PR stunt! But how many people will actually use this?

  • Kevin says:

    I have been a long time user of Airbnb, and will now be posting my listing (hopefully plural soon) on 9flats. Any time I have the option to accept Bitcoin I’ll take it and plan to offer a small discount on my 9flats listing. Congratulations on great news!

  • Anonymous says:

    If a host doesn’t take bitcoin but the guest pays with bitcoin, will 9Flats route those bitcoin towards paying hosts that do want bitcoin but whose guests paid with fiat?

    Otherwise, the only time that the loop is closed is where both the guest chooses to pay in bitcoins and the host chooses to accept bitcoins.

    • Juliane says:

      Our hosts receive their payout in the currency they’ve chosen before, no matter whether the guest paid in Bitcoin or any other currency. We will exchange Bitcoin in the moment of payment into the needed currency.

  • colbert lau says:

    Glad you guys are using Bitcoin now. It will be the De-facto internet payment system in 3 years.

  • Fjordo says:

    I’ve used a similar website a lot when going to New York (the rooms are cheaper than a hotel and you get a full kitched, kind of a no brainer). If I can get Manhattan rooms for bitcoin instead, then I’ll be doing that for sure. Great move!

  • Dante says:

    Hey –

    Your last post 9flats hosts now can earn money in Bitcoins was freaking awesome. I have gone ahead and added your stuff to my Feedly account. Please keep me updated if

    you post anywhere else.

    Keep rocking –


  • Toni says:

    i’m Big Fan of Bitcoins, Bitcoins are the best way to Show Governments how Currecy work without the intermeddling from politicans Meanings about what you are allowed to do and what not! For Sure the News are saying “Don’t put your Money in Bitcoins” They’re scared that some IT-Nerds had made a Currency wich is much better! You also can “produce” your own Money, if you have very very fast Servers.