The airline industry could be one of the ways poker players become more comfortable with the use of cryptocurrency after Air New Zealand partners with the decentralised travel partner Winding Tree.
The guy next to me is doing my head in. Beads of sweat glisten like stray bubble bath bubbles. Overweight; his breath stinks. He’s not even that close to me. I feel trapped in a tiny elevator with the man.
“I’m going to be late goddamit!”
My 13-month-old daughter says “Goddamit,” like the good little parrot.
I’m stuck in the world’s smallest queue waiting to check in for a flight from Burbank to Portland. Evidently, the airline industry still has a lot of work to do when it comes to treating customers like Jamal does in my local falafel joint.
“I’m going to be late!”
My daughter shouts “Late!” It’s soooo cute. The fat, bald angry guy doesn’t think so. I picture a six-inch blade, intestines on the floor. It’s all very American Psycho. My nipper takes the edge off.
It’s not like Air New Zealand whispers American Psycho from somewhere within my skull.
I always have a cracking experience with Air New Zealand. It’s my favourite way to get from London to Los Angeles, and the airline I have chosen to get me close to the World Series of Poker since I first started my annual jaunts.
The check-in process is a doddle, the seats are comfortable, and I can order my grub via an artificial intelligence called Oscar, and now they’re getting into the blockchain business, and that’s a good thing for poker players.
Why is it a good thing for poker players?
When it comes to the honeycomb of the poker community, we often get quite stuck with the expensive last-minute flight tickets. Some poker players are lazy, and leave things until the last minute. Others are too successful and always have to cancel and re-book flights.
With CoinPoker and Virtue Poker flexing their cryptocurrency muscles as the first two principal online poker rooms to move into Mr Robot territory, Alex Weldon wrote an excellent article on the future of crypto in poker aptly titled, Is Crypto The Future of Poker?
I don’t want to simplify Weldon’s insights, but the answer to the question is YES. The world wants to move away from cash. It’s dirty in so many ways. And noises are coming from Scandinavia that Sweden wants to be the first cashless country.
Check out this great podcast by Freakonomics to understand why?
So if the world eventually burns it’s cash KLF style, the 800+ cryptocurrencies that are currently confusing the fuck out of everyone who doesn’t have a PhD in complicated matters will rule the world.
And that includes poker.
And the link to the airline industry?
One of the problems Weldon alludes to in his piece is the evolution of the ecosystem at Virtue Poker and CoinPoker. If you want to be a successful poker player, or just have fun (it’s no fun to lose your money), you need to compete against players you can beat, and I can’t see too many fish turning up at these sites.
While the growth of cryptocurrency seems a foregone conclusion. Evolving from dirty cash to digital looks as complicated as getting off this rock and terraforming Mars.
What poker players need is a way of dabbling in cryptocurrency before they go crazy on an online poker room, and this is where the airline industry comes in because if you travel to a lot of live poker tournaments you know how much of a drain this is on your bottom line.
Air New Zealand (ANZ) has partnered with the decentralised travel platform, Winding Tree, to investigate the use of blockchain technology. ANZ CEO Avi Golan is interested in examining the potential of the new tech to improve efficiences in baggage tracking, ticket booking and loyalty programs.
Winding Tree promises end users cost savings while simultaneously promising suppliers additional profits, and we get to practice doing all of this while preparing our trips to the poker tables. The Swiss-based outfit uses the distributed server processing system Ethereum.
ANZ is also investing in Winding Tree’s ICO, planned for January 2018.
ANZ isn’t the only airline interested in backing Winding Tree. Last month, the airline Lufthansa climbed into bed with them in a similar deal that will also see them investing in the ICO. The token of choice for Winding Tree is called Líf (download the white paper here).
In addition to ANZ and Lufthansa, Air France is also exploring how blockchain tech can improve things, and despite Vladimir Putin’s warning that blockchain technology presents a “significant risk” for money laundering and fraud, the Russian airline S7 is using the Ethereum blockchain to manage airline tickets.
Crypto is coming.
Angry, fat bald men complaining about nothing in airline queues will soon be a thing of the past.
All we have to do now is learn how to use it.
Read this when you are standing in your next line.