Most people who acquire holdings of Bitcoin do so in the hope that it will increase in value over time, eventually allowing them to exchange their BTC for far more USD (or other fiat currency) than they invested in the first place. Whether this scenario plays out in a satisfactory manner for the investors in question can, of course, never be guaranteed: the value of BTC has fluctuated in quite a lively manner since the code behind the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency was released to the public in 2009.
In addition to cryptocurrency investors, there is a growing number of people who are using Bitcoin to pay for goods and services, in lieu of conventional currencies run by central banks. It was with these people in mind that we decided to write this guide, outlining where you can currently spend the Bitcoin that you do not wish to hold for investment purposes. Before we get into the details of where you can spend your BTC and what you can buy, let’s first take a moment to consider why you might want to do such a thing in the first place.
Why Spend Bitcoin Rather Than Convert it Back to Conventional Currency?
When you consider the fact that conventional fiat currencies such as the US Dollar, Great British Pound and Japanese Yen are accepted pretty much everywhere in their respective countries, you may wonder why anybody would want to use Bitcoin to pay for goods and services instead. There are a few very good reasons for doing so, including the following:
- Anonymity – While it is theoretically possible to trace the source of BTC used to make a purchase, the fact an anonymous Bitcoin address is generated for each such transaction you make means it is no easy task. Unless you volunteer information about your purchasing activities, it is unlikely anybody will ever know who was behind them.
- Lower Fees – Although there are small fees associated with every Bitcoin transaction, holding cryptocurrencies does not require you to pay any account maintenance or service fees, such as those charged by banks for conventional accounts. Over time, using Bitcoin for purchases could therefore result in significant savings.
- No Exchange Fees for Local or International Transactions – If you first exchange your BTC for USD or another currency before using that currency to buy goods or services, you will have to pay a fee for the privilege. However, if you simply use your Bitcoin to buy the goods and services you want, there will be no need to pay these exchange fees. Furthermore, when you buy from overseas companies that accept Bitcoin, you will bypass the need to convert from one currency to another, and avoid paying the associated fees for doing so through the international banking system.
- Faster Transactions for Large Purchases – When compared to bank-to-bank wire transfers from one country to another, Bitcoin transactions are almost instantaneous. Instead of having to wait from 1-3 days for the money to appear in the destination account, you can expect your BTC transaction to be confirmed in around an hour under normal conditions. The time it takes does not depend on the location of the sender and receiver so international payments are just as fast as domestic ones.
There are other reasons that some people prefer to pay for goods and services with Bitcoin rather than cash, such as independence from government authorities, but the above-listed reasons are those that are most likely to motivate the average consumer. Now we’ve looked at why you might wish to spend your BTC directly rather than first converting it to cash, let’s get to the meat of the matter and discover where you can spend Bitcoin and on what you can spend it.
Who Accepts Bitcoin?
If you prefer to keep your savings in BTC and you don’t want to go to the trouble and expense of exchanging your Bitcoin for cash every time you make a purchase, you will need to find out exactly where your cryptocurrency is an acceptable form of payment. The following companies are all currently happy to accept Bitcoin as payment for the goods or services they provide:
- Microsoft–Whether you need to buy a Windows 10 license for a new laptop or you want to buy some new games for your Xbox, you will be pleased to know that you can do so by adding the necessary Bitcoin to your Microsoft account, then using your BTC as payment for the software in question.
- CheapAir –This well-established online US travel agency accepts payment in BTC for flight tickets so the next time you fancy going away for a few days in the sun, you can pay for your travel costs directly from your cryptocurrency wallet. Online travel giants Expedia used to accept BTC for hotel bookings but they removed this option on their website in June of 2018. However, if you shop around, you are bound to find more travel agencies that are happy to accept Bitcoin for online bookings and we’d expect the number to grow considerably in the years to come.
- Wikipedia – If you wish to make a donation to go towards the costs of running the largest free online encyclopedia, you won’t have to convert any of your Bitcoin to cash in order to do so. Wikipedia is more than happy to accept BTC donations from its supporters.
- VPN Service Providers – ExpressVPN and many other VPN service providers accept BTC, enabling their customers to maintain their anonymity online. If you are not keen on the idea of government agencies and large corporations keeping track of your online browsing activities, using a VPN service and paying for it with Bitcoin is the best way to protect your privacy.
- Overstock – If you live in the USA and you would like to fund your online retail therapy sessions with Bitcoin, you’re in luck. Overstock gives its customers the option of selecting BTC as the payment currency when they check out. As they sell everything from furniture and kitchen appliances, to toys, jewelry and hot tubs, this gives you quite a lot of scope as far as what you can spend your cryptocurrency on is concerned.
- Newegg – The online electronics retail specialist accepts Bitcoin but not all third-party sellers on the platform do. You will therefore need to check before you get to the payment page if you wish to use BTC on Newegg. You should also note that it is not possible to buy Newegg gift cards with Bitcoin so if you want to treat a friend, find out what they want and buy it directly instead.
- Etsy – A growing number of companies and individuals selling on this popular site accept BTC as payment for the goods they have to offer. Whether you are hunting for an antique pocket watch or a handcrafted ornament, you could well be able to pay for your purchase out of your Bitcoin stash.
- Porn – Yes, I went there. Due to the anonymity of Bitcoin it makes it very suitable for industries such as gambling and porn. There are numerous websites that will accept Bitcoin and will even give you a discount when paying with Bitcoin over paying with credit card. Here are a list of cam sites that accept Bitcoin.
These are just a few of the most well-known companies and online retail platforms that currently accept Bitcoin for some or all of their goods and services: there are many more in the USA and across the globe.
The Best Ways to Spend Bitcoin
Given the many places that now accept BTC, are there any options that are better than others for holders of the biggest cryptocurrency? In terms of the type of things you buy, not really. However, smart consumers will want to do a little research on individual companies before they charge in with their Bitcoin at the ready: it is important to make sure there are no hidden fees involved when you pay for anything nowadays, whether with cash or with Bitcoin. Whilst the majority of retailers and service providers operate in a fair and transparent manner, some do not. In the same way that some online payment processors add on extra fees of their own when converting between fiat currencies for payment purposes (another good reason to pay with Bitcoin whenever you can!), there may be a few companies that charge an additional fee to accept BTC for purchases on their websites.
How to Spend Bitcoin in Any Store
Payment processors such as BitPay have brought prepaid Bitcoin Visa debit cards to market, which allow holders to deposit BTC to their cards, then use the cards to make purchases anywhere that Visa is accepted, which is almost everywhere nowadays. The payment processor offers to convert BTC to USD for retailers for a 1% transaction fee, which compares favorably with the fees charged for standard Visa transactions involving US dollars and other fiat currencies. A contactless BTC Visa payment card is also in the works, which will make life even easier for holders of Bitcoin who want to be able to spend their cryptocurrency wherever they like.
In conclusion, there are many places where you can spend Bitcoin nowadays, including both online and physical stores. As more and more retailers decide to offer their customers the option of paying for goods and services with Bitcoin, it may one day be possible to avoid cash transactions altogether.