Hailo taxi app actively looking into accepting Bitcoin says CEO

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London-based taxi app Hailo could allow customers to pay for their rides using cryptocurrency Bitcoin, according to the company's CEO Jay Bregman.

Speaking to digital currency news site Coindesk, Bregman said Hailo could also allow Bitcoin to be sent directly to drivers. Hailo, founded in London in 2011, gives customers the ability to hail cabs through its own app.

"We have [always] sought to find ways to provide benefit to our drivers and our passengers. I believe strongly that Bitcoin is one of these ways. Absolutely, like many other things, we are actively looking into it," said Bregman.

However, Bregman stressed that his comments were made in a personal capacity, adding that Bitcoin would not replace the current method of credit or debit user-authorisation. The new process would settle the bill by automatically withdrawing money from the customer's account.

To provide the new service the Hailo CEO said it would have to connect with an established Bitcoin wallet provider. Furthermore, Bregman sees potential in using Bitcoin to help those Hailo drivers who send money abroad avoid the high costs of remittance fees.

"What if we could help them solve that problem and therefore change their cost structure by 10, 20 per cent, that would be huge. So why wouldn't we? That's the real question" said Bregman.

Earlier this month, Hailo announced its taxi app would be integrated into Citymapper, the travel app for Android and iOS. It is the first time Hailo has been integrated with another app. The rollout will cover London, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Washington and Boston.

However, the company has faced hostility, with its London offices being vandalised in May, after it opened up bookings to private hire vehicles. In a letter to London cab drivers, Hailo co-founder, Ron Zehibe said:

There is no point in burying our heads in the sand - people want choice and taxis need to be in the mix. A taxi-only app will get isolated and customers will take their money to services without any cabs on offer. It is already happening. Let's win back that work.

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