What Can You Buy With Bitcoin?
Although the original design of Bitcoin was for it to be used as an alternative payment system that operated independently of any governments and worked beyond borders, most people buy cryptocurrency as an investment, buying and selling on the market to make money or holding the currency as a long-term moneymaking plan.
As a decentralized funding system, cryptocurrency does not rely on any real-world items or promises from governments to have value – instead, it is given value through the blockchain.
The first ever ‘real-world’ payment for goods came from a man in Jacksonville, Florida, who paid 10,000 BTC for two pizzas from Papa John’s in 2010. He did this through trading another Bitcoin owner the BTC in exchange for the other person ordering him the pizzas, because Papa John’s did not accept direct BTC payment.
There are still limited options if you want to directly pay for things using a Bitcoin balance. But the number of places you can pay for things with cryptocurrency is going.
More and more retailers and service providers are getting on board with allowing cryptocurrencies – and especially Bitcoin (BTC) – to be used as a form of payment.
There are some things that you will need to consider before you buy your weekly groceries or a brand-new Lamborghini using cryptocurrency.
To use your Bitcoin, you will need a wallet that can store your BTC and send it to the recipient’s address.
There are three main types of wallets that you can choose from:
- Software wallet – This type of wallet is an online app that stores your BTC securely. There are also mobile apps available that come with a QR code to make it easier to send and receive BTC.
- Hardware wallet – Often a USB stick or an external hard drive, this is more secure against thefts but less easy to spend.
- Paper wallet – This old-school storage is the most secure, using a printed QR code for access to BTC and other cryptos – but this might not be the simplest way.
There are several different places where you can spend Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – and some of them can be quite surprising.
Some businesses have a wallet that you can send your Bitcoin to directly, while others use a third party to complete the payment and transfer the funds.
Online retailers are probably the most obvious places that Bitcoin can be spent, with some payment companies like Square and Stripe offering BTC as a payment option in even the smallest stores.
With most of the bigger online stores, you can make payments directly by sending the BTC to the company’s wallet, but others might use another platform.
Some online stores that take BTC are:
- Home Depot – This home improvement store offers purchasers the opportunity to shop for tools and DIY equipment online using Bitcoin.
- Overstock – Stocking designer brands in home furnishing, furniture and clothing, Overstock is a well-known online retailer that supports Bitcoin payments.
- Microsoft – The Xbox Live platform allows US users to pay for in-game content, games and subscriptions with Bitcoin. This is the same for PlayStation users on the PlayStation Network too.
After the first ‘real-world’ use of Bitcoin, some other restaurants, takeaways and grocery stores started accepting digital currencies for everyday purchases. These include:
- Wholefoods – This well-known grocery chain, focused on organic and ethical produce, accepts Bitcoin.
- Subway – Subway first accepted Bitcoin in 2013. Subway stores are franchised so it varies from store to store.
- Starbucks – Since around 2019, more and more Starbucks locations have begun to accept BTC, due to partnering with a new payment processor called Flexa.
Online service providers are other places where cryptocurrencies are commonly accepted, as the online nature of the environment is designed to make all types of payment options easier.
- ExpressVPN and NordVPN – A virtual private network (VPN) is meant to increase user’s privacy by hiding personal information from companies and governments, so it makes ideological sense for them to accept cryptocurrencies, which aim to decouple currencies and governments, to pay for monthly subscriptions.
- Twitch – Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, can be used to support people who stream online content using Twitch services.
- PayPal – The super-popular online payment service now offers users the ability to buy, trade and spend cryptocurrency.
Luxury items are another way you can spend your BTC.
You can buy yachts and even private jets with cryptocurrency these days, although one of the most fun luxury items is the Franck Muller Encrypto Watch, which is a luxuriously designed watch that also functions as a Bitcoin wallet – and can also be bought using Bitcoin.
There are also a few car dealerships, specializing in luxury and prestige cars like Lamborghinis and Porsches, that accept BTC and some other major cryptocurrencies – these include BitCars and AutoCoinCars.
There are a few travel companies that accept Bitcoin; most use a third-party access service.
- Air Baltic – This is the currently only commercial airline that openly allows Bitcoin payments.
- Travala – This is a travel comparison site that works with both Booking.com and Expedia, which means that you can get access to flights, hotel rooms, car hire and even complete holiday packages while paying with Bitcoin.
There are many third-party platforms that exist as ways for the public to be able to donate to non-profits, although there are usually fees involved. Using BTC to donate to charity can keep the source private, too.
- Wikimedia – This is the non-profit that runs Wikipedia, and it relies on donations to be able to provide a service. While not necessarily considered a charity by many people, it does accept donations and potential donors can choose to use BTC if they prefer.
- The Giving Block – This blockchain is designed to allow non-profits to be able to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – just by adding some software to their donation process.
The first home in the UK to be bought entirely using Bitcoin was a house in Kent, which sold for the Bitcoin equivalent of £350,000 (around 65 BTC) in 2017. In 2021, 65 Bitcoins are worth around3 million.
Now, you can use BTC and other cryptocurrencies to buy a house.
But you will need to go through a crypto-specific realtor like BitHome – or invest in cryptocurrency REITs.
This is a growing option in a range of physical and online educational establishments.
In 2014, Kings College in New York City was the first educational establishment to accept tuition payments in Bitcoin. In 2021, the Wharton School of business studies at the University of Pennsylvania also began accepting BTC for tuition.
Of course, one of the best places to spend your Bitcoin is to use it to invest in other cryptocurrencies.
With the mercurial rise of BTC and the subsequent growth of other types of alternative currency, reinvesting in a different type of crypto might be a great way to increase your profits.
There are many brokers that offer Bitcoin as a deposit method, as well as any other cryptocurrency.
While this list provides some good examples of places and companies that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the number of companies where you can use Bitcoin is updating every day as more and more businesses come to accept digital currencies as more than just something for investors to play with.
Keeping up with the changes can be difficult, but there are some resources online that can help you find the right companies to spend crypto with.
These include aggregators like:
These are essentially a directory of places that accept Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, both physical stores and online, including restaurants and services.
Even stores that do not accept cryptocurrencies can be places where you can spend your Bitcoin – if you have it available in a format that is more commonly accepted.
In most brick-and-mortar stores, digital currencies are not available as payment options, so you might have to think outside the box a little.
There are several places where you can buy a gift card that can be used in physical stores using Bitcoin, effectively transferring your BTC into fiat (traditional) currency.
Once the gift card has been topped up with BTC, it can be used in any store or online retailer where gift cards are accepted.
Certain cryptocurrency brokers offer both online wallets and the opportunity to get a cryptocurrency debit card, which means that your Bitcoin can become available to use in place of fiat currency wherever debit cards are used – so in almost every retailer.
It might not be as convenient as spending BTC and come with extra charges and costs – but it does mean that you are able to make use of your cryptocurrency even in places that you would not usually think of.
You can learn more about cryptocurrency debit cards here, including how to choose the best one for you.
As more companies get on board with the idea that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency can be considered an alternative and valid payment system, it becomes much easier for you to be able to spend your BTC both online and in physical stores.
Bitcoin can be spent in a number of different ways, with payment providers like Stripe and Square offering a service for small businesses, while larger online retailers specifically are set up to be able to accept direct deposits of BTC to their own wallets.
If you want to be completely sure that you can spend your digital currency balance on the goods and services that you need, you can make use of Bitcoin gift cards or get a cryptocurrency debit card.
Use an online aggregator like the ones above to keep track of all the places that are accepting Bitcoin as payment, as the list is growing almost daily.
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