Bitcoin has been in the headlines even more than usual in the past few months, largely as a result of its inflated value. While the cryptocurrency’s jump up to more than $19,000 in worth near the end of 2017 has so far proven unsustainable, it’s still trading over $10,000, where a year ago it was right around $1,000. This has largely made people take it more seriously as a commodity. However, it’s also still usable as a currency. But where can you actually spend it?
This is an important question to answer if you’re interested in the convenience and security of digital currency, or if you buy into the idea that we’ll be using it more and more in the coming years. At this stage, bitcoin is still something of a niche option where day-to-day transactions are concerned. But there are some places to put it to use, and more are emerging on a semi-regular basis.
Major Online Retailers
Clearly this is a broad category, but it’s just as well because it’s probably the most significant one also. While mobile phones can be used to conduct bitcoin transactions in person at brick-and-mortar locations (which we’ll get to below), the easiest benefit of digital currency is being able to use it while you’re already online. And if you take a look at major stores accepting bitcoin, you’ll see some of the largest online retailers in business today. These include Overstock, eGifter, Etsy, and even Microsoft, to name a few. Together these sites can account for a huge portion of your online shopping (or your shopping in general), and each of them makes it easy to pay for a purchase with bitcoin.
Restaurants & Cafés
Restaurants and cafés have been slower to adopt cryptocurrency, but as mentioned there are instances in which you can use a phone or another mobile device to access your bitcoin wallet and make a payment in person. There’s a handy site called SpendBitcoins that is actually designed to help you find brick-and-mortar locations that accept bitcoin, and it can give you an idea of where you might be able to eat and drink with digital currency. You may just find a few restaurants in your area.
Gaming has proven to be an interesting avenue for bitcoin payments. For a while Steam, perhaps the biggest online marketplace for conventional game downloads, accepted bitcoin, though it recently stopped due to high fees and price volatility. In casino gaming, however, bitcoin seems to have stuck. Numerous bitcoin-only or bitcoin-compatible casino platforms have sprung up in recent years, and more established gaming sites may well follow suit, particularly in the UK and Ireland, where bitcoin is essentially free from regulation. The Irish site SlotSource, a prominent gaming resource, shows that several platforms already accept PayPal so that users can feel secure in making online payments. The leap from there to accepting fully digital currency isn’t a big one, so it won’t be a surprise if this and similar sites are soon on the list of places you can spend bitcoin as well.
Travel Booking Platforms
Technically most travel booking platforms would actually fall back under the heading of major online retailers, but they serve such specific purposes it seems only fair to give them their own category. Expedia is probably the most commonly discussed travel booking site that accepts bitcoin, but it’s been joined by the likes of CheapAir.com, Virgin Galactic, ABitSky.com, and Berkeley Travel to name a few. These options have to be considered particularly interesting given the skyrocketing value of bitcoin, because they involve heftier purchases. At least psychologically, it might seem more natural to buy expensive plane tickets and/or hotel reservations with bitcoin than it seems to order new headphones or something of the like.