You may be able to use cryptocurrency to pay for your next vacation. Bitrefill, a Sweden-based company, recently began offering gift cards that can be purchased with bitcoin, ether, dash, litecoin and even dogecoin. These gift cards can be exchanged for more than 750 products, including booking a place to stay in the U.S. on a popular alternative-to-hotel website. Once at your destination, you can also buy or renew your favorite streaming subscription using cryptocurrency through Bitrefill. Other businesses that have recently begun to accept bitcoin as payment include a five-star hotel in Switzerland and a state-run transportation system in Argentina. Starting in April, Innisfil, Ontario, will allow its residents to pay property taxes using bitcoin.

A recent report by DataLight highlighted an advantage that the Bitcoin network may have over other electronic payment systems. According to the report, the average bitcoin transaction volume was $41,615 during the period studied. In comparison, major credit card and other online payment providers averaged less than $100 per transaction. The report concludes that the Bitcoin network may be more suitable for larger international payments due to its smaller fees.

This competition has not discouraged payment systems from investing in blockchain technology. A prominent Internet payment company recently announced an investment in Cambridge Blockchain, a company working on digital identity solutions. The purpose of the investment will be to support research into verifying a customer's identity during a financial transaction while limiting the company's access to their personal information.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, there was a large jump in the value of 1 BTC by more than $1,000. According to Bloomberg, one culprit for this sudden price increase may have been algorithmic cryptocurrency trading software used by one or more hedge funds to automatically execute a $100 million trade in bitcoin across three cryptocurrency exchanges. In other cryptocurrency exchange news, on March 26, 2019, Zero Hash, a subsidiary of Seed CX, launched its over-the-counter trade settlement services, providing for spot settlement of digital assets. Zero Hash's new service will increase the number of counterparties firms can trade with and promises to streamline the reconciliation, reporting and settlement of trades.

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