By Riley Kaminer
Blockchain-based travel protocol TravelX has landed in Miami. The startup, which was founded less than a year ago, has officially established Miami as its home base. While a large portion of its 60-person team are based in Argentina, TravelX’s C-suite and core team call South Florida home.
TravelX is developing the infrastructure to create what it argues is a better travel industry – both for consumers and companies – by enabling airlines to make their tickets into non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
According to co-founder Facundo Martin Diaz [pictured above], locating TravelX in Miami made sense. “I’ve been living in LA for the last seven years – and the ecosystem there is great – but we felt that Miami is the right place for now,” Diaz told Refresh Miami.
He cited Florida’s favorable business climate as a particularly attractive aspect. Plus, Miami’s connection to Latin America made sense for the founders, who all hail from the region. Not only is South Florida an innovation and crypto hub: it’s also a frequent flier, with MIA as the most international airport in the US. And it didn’t hurt that Miami-based VC Borderless Capital led TravelX’s $10 million seed round in November, 2021.
For consumers, the main benefit of the travel NFTs (or NFTickets, as TravelX calls them) is that travelers can easily re-sell or transfer tickets without friction or unnecessary intermediaries.
“We are bringing more freedom, transparency, and opportunities to the ticket buyers because of how they can purchase, resell, auction, or trade those tickets in a simpler way, wallet to wallet,” explained Diaz.
“We are creating a secondary market for one of the biggest industries in the world,” he continued. Diaz noted that a similar, non-blockchain-based alternative does not exist yet not because of resistance on the part of airlines, but mainly because the legacy systems those companies use would not allow for it.
Diaz also underscored that TravelX does not aspire to create a marketplace as an end goal – they’re laser-focused on building the proverbial plumbing. However, he acknowledged that they are creating a marketplace today as a proof of concept.
TravelX’s NFTs could bring airlines new revenue streams, including from the fact that they will make residual profits each time an NFTicket is sold on the secondary market. Diaz also asserts that these NFTs will save the airlines money by simplifying the purchasing and post-sales ticket management process.
According to Diaz, this has been a compelling argument for airlines. “We thought that our main challenge was going to be how to let the travel industry understand the benefit,” he said. “But fortunately they clearly understand it and are embracing it, which is great for us.”
TravelX has already seen some early traction. Their first-ever NFTicket, for a flight from Madrid to Miami in Air Europa’s business cabin, recently sold for over $1 million. The NFT also included access to a series of exclusive events during Miami Art Week, as well as a piece of art by Miami-based artist Carlos Betancourt.
But don’t fret – you haven’t missed out on your opportunity to purchase a piece of aviation history. TravelX and Air Europa will continue dropping nine new NFTickets through August.
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