[UPDATE: It appears that Uber has suspended Bitcoin Builder's account and thus, the service is no longer operational.]
US-based bitcoin exchange platform Bitcoin Builder has announced their release of a bitcoin service that enables users to pay with bitcoin for Uber rides.
How it Works
Bitcoin Builder created a business account on the Uber network, which allows the firm to display itself as a payment method on the Uber mobile app.
Users are required to use the Bitcoin Builder multi-sig wallet to associate it with the firm’s Uber business account. After the activation, users will see Bitcoin Builder as a payment option on the “SELECT PAYMENT” section of the Uber mobile application.
The service works everywhere Uber works, even in countries like India, where credit card penetration is below 2%. According to a report published by The Hindu Business Line, the number of credit cards stood at 21 million by 2014-15. Currently, Uber does not accept debit cards in the country. Uber India takes Paytm, a centralized payment network in India for its local users. But now, Bitcoin Builder’s bitcoin-to-Uber service will give many in India that do not own credit cards or bank accounts an option to pay for the service in another way.
“India needs this service terribly,” said an Uber user in India on Reddit. “Uber does not accept debit cards and many of us don't have credit cards…people use cash a lot in India. Bitcoins bought in India are primarily bought in cash. If service like this could be extended to other services, it would be awesome.”
If a user decides to stop using the service of Bitcoin Builder or if Uber decides to cancel the firm’s business account, Bitcoin Builder will refund the remaining balance instantly via bitcoin.
"You can always request all the money remaining in your account back at any time, and it'll be paid instantly via bitcoin,” a Bitcoin Builder representative announced. This refund method is similar to Fold’s approach with its discounted bitcoin payment option at Starbucks.
As of now, all balances are held in U.S. dollars. However, users are allowed to send the bitcoins right before the ride, as Bitcoin Builder accepts bitcoin with zero confirmation. The firm’s representative explained:
“It's held in USD […] but you can always just send the BTC in right as you're about to ride, we accept it with zero confirmations, so that way you can keep it as BTC as long as you're not about to use it.”