Crypto Tourism Is Growing – For Better or Worse

Cryptonation. Blockchain Cruise. CryptoCribs.

These are just several of the names of tourism programs focused on the blockchain industry, from luxury cruises to Middle East startup tours, that are part of a growing trend targeting crypto-curious travelers.

The Blockchain Cruises, organized by the tourism arm of Edinburgh, Scotland-based crypto wallet provider CoinsBank, have garnered a significant amount of attention. Already, the company has hosted two, where crypto millionaires partied hard on the sea, and now they’re gearing up for their third cruise through the Mediterranean in September.

During the cruise, headline speakers include BTCC exchange founder Bobby Lee, infamous token promoter John McAfee, plus investor and bitcoin cash advocate Roger Ver.

While CoinsBank expects 2,300 people to attend the luxury cruise, half the tickets are already reserved and the others go for between $1,000 and $3,000.

A representative from CoinsBank told CoinDesk:

“It’s not just tourism but a lifestyle that we promote.”

Sure enough, it’s the lifestyle of the newly crypto rich and famous – one that many others, including those that didn’t get in early on bitcoin (what are referred to as newbs), want a piece of.

“We’ve also planned several more workshops, the hackathon and even Miss Blockchain contest to support diversity in the industry,” the CoinsBank representative said.

CoinsBank is hardly the only company capitalizing on demand for travel geared towards the crypto-curious.

And although these programs are still relatively small compared to the tourism industry at large, these efforts – including the rash of blockchain activity in (and relocation to) Puerto Rico – are increasing.

For many, the question becomes: Is this community building or problematic propaganda?

Education or solicitation?

But first, it’s important to note that not all crypto experiences are created equal.

So far there appears to be a spectrum of opportunities and goals emerging – some more likely to raise red flags than others.

For instance, as the number of blockchain projects funded and hinging on a separate crypto token (typically created out of an initial coin offering, or ICO) increases, a number of tours have launched focused on introducing people to those businesses and their tokens.

While Switzerland’s Crypto Valley tours don’t specifically focus on ICO projects, the country (with its business-friendly regulations) has become home to many of the entrepreneurs and companies working in the space.

Yet another tourism company getting into crypto, Innovation Experience, sees ICO promotion as part of the company’s mission. According to co-founder Ryan Fain, Innovation Experience is not only about highlighting the unique approaches taken by Israeli technologists in the blockchain ecosystem, including members of the Israeli Bitcoin Association, but also promoting local ICOs.

What rattles some people in the space about these ICO-focused tours is the balance between education and solicitation – which isn’t easy given the opaqueness in the space in terms of investor relationships to such projects.

“The [ICO] tours … in Europe, we have these coffee tours where you get senior citizens on a bus and then try to sell them some shady product, it sounds a little like this,” said Erasmus Elsner, co-founder of crypto-focused home-sharing platform CryptoCribs.

That said, Elsner does believe there’s no better way to experience the crypto community’s camaraderie than traveling together.

And because of that, CryptoCribs, an Airbnb-like application for connecting traveling crypto-enthusiasts with crypto-friendly accommodations throughout the world, was born. Since launching in September CryptoCribs has facilitated 170 trips across dozens of countries…

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