Webjet invests $4.1M into blockchain startup LockTrip

Australia-based online travel agency Webjet is advancing its position in the cryptocurrency space by investing $4.1 million into blockchain startup LockTrip.

As part of the cash deal, Webjet has agreed to a second optional tranche of $4.2 million – for a total of $8.3 million – into LockTrip, which historically has not accepted investment from venture capital offers.

In a blog post, LockTrip says the partnership with Webjet has been underway for two years and answers “questions about the end-game and not so much about a short-term financial boost.”

With the Bulgaria-based startup – which counts more than $2.1 million hotels and properties in its network – Webjet will integrate the LockTrip Marketplace and the LOC token economy into its OTA websites in Australia and New Zealand.

Webjet managing director John Guscic and director of corporate development Lynne Oldfield will join LockTrip’s board of directors.

“We first made contact with the LockTrip founders in early 2019 to share views on blockchain, given Webjet’s blockchain journey with [blockchain-based booking verification solution] Rezchain,” Guscic says.

“From the initial conversation, we were impressed with the way the founders approached solving the well-known challenges of a public blockchain, and felt they had a game-changing opportunity to utilize the fundamental features of blockchain to improve the hotel distribution landscape.”

Webjet and LockTrip will explore the opportunity to migrate Rezchain onto Hydra chain, which is a truly decentralized proof of stake blockchain and emerged out of the combination of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Qtum.

Adds Oldfield: “Public blockchains are typically slow, resource hungry and have unpredictable pricing; with the release of Hydra chain, the founders of LockTrip provide a robust, scalable platform for genuine commercial applications and we are excited to invest with them as they grow this opportunity.”

LockTrip CEO Nikola Alexandrov says the deal is “a testament on how traditional tech giants spot opportunity in blockchain technology” and is “unprecedented” in the blockchain space; it is expected to be completed within a two-year timeframe.