Who accepts Bitcoin? A 2018 guide to where you can spend your bitcoins.
Spending bitcoin has been the dream of many enthusiasts since its inception. In fact, it’s even emphasized in the very first sentence of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper.
"A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution."
It was meant to be the cash of the Internet. A safe, fast and anonymous means of paying for goods and services.
But Bitcoin’s story as a means of payment is complicated. Still, not many businesses are willing accept it for their goods or services. Even some companies that used to accept it have flip-flopped citing high fees, extreme volatility, or security risks.
Though challenges remain, there are a lot of promising features poised to help the young currency realize its true potential. From side chains that will allow millions of instantaneous, fee-free transactions per second like the Lightning Network, to specialized debit cards that allow users to spend their cryptocurrencies anywhere that accepts card, Bitcoin has a bright future (there are now even Bitcoin debit cards).
In the meantime, however, there are still plenty of places to spend your bitcoins.
Ecommerce and Retail
Overstock.com, the retail giant, was one of the world’s first mega-corporations to begin accepting Bitcoin. The company’s CEO, Patrick Byrne, has been notoriously bullish on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for years. Byrne is even looking to leverage the company’s name in order to expand on Bitcoin services, creating a venture capital fund in order to invest in other blockchain-focused companies.
In an interview, Byrne noted that for all Bitcoin payments, the company keeps 50 percent in bitcoin and 50 percent is converted to U.S. dollars. In order to accept payments in Bitcoin and easily liquidate the cryptocurrency, Overstock uses Coinbase’s payment gateway, Coinbase Commerce. The gateway allows the company to process any number of transactions, create invoices, and more.
Though Overstock may have initially been lured into the crypto world with Bitcoin, it’s the tech behind it that really captured its attention in recent years.
Overstock is currently working on its own blockchain spinoff, tZero, a distributed ledger platform for capital markets. The goal of the project is to develop solutions in existing market procedures in order to reduce settlement times and processing costs.
Shopify.com is an ecommerce giant, allowing merchants to set up a personal shop and sell goods. The platform facilitates the creation of online shops, including everything from design to payment processing. One key feature is that it allows stores to accept Bitcoin seamlessly with the BitPay gateway.
After integrating the feature into their platform in 2013, Shopify has seen immense interest from merchants and customers looking to spend and accept Bitcoin.
Like with other platforms using BitPay, the process is fairly straightforward. Simply check the Bitcoin icon in the shopping cart and scan the QR code or copy the BitPay address with a compatible wallet and wait for the payment to confirm.
Gift Cards for When Bitcoin Isn’t Enough
eGifter.com allows customers to load gift cards from hundreds of big-name brands. Restaurants, clothing stores, hotels chains and more will now accept Bitcoin whether they want to or not…kind of.
eGifter offers solutions for businesses and frequent buyers alike, with bulk orders and even a points’ system to receive even greater value on all of your purchases. Additionally, they offer an "Insiders Club" which can be purchased for a yearly fee, increasing points and allowing customers to receive special deals.
One of eGifter’s best features is its app. Available on both Android and iOS devices, it gives users an easy way to spend and keep track of their purchases.
Gyft.com, like eGifter, provides similar services, allowing customers to purchase gift cards from Walmart, Best Buy, Uber and more. Not only does Gyft have a wide variety of choices, it has even partnered with another service, FirstData, allowing businesses to create their own cards.
aBitSky.com offers flights to and from all over the world. Flights are reasonably priced, though slightly more expensive than other budget-air options that only accept fiat. ABitSky has an easy-to-use website with no ads and a straightforward checkout process. Booking a flight can take as little as 5 minutes, with no hassle and no hidden fees.
It should be noted, however, there have been cases in which a customer has made a last-minute booking and the purchase was not confirmed in time. Be sure to book long enough in advance in order to avoid the stress of a confirmation that may come too late.
CheapAir.com became the world’s first travel agency to accept Bitcoin in 2013, and in 2014, it became the world’s first travel agency to accept Bitcoin for hotels. The website is a little sloppier than aBitSky, but there are generally more airline options, and in turn, cheaper flights.
The major selling point for CheapAir is that it acts as an all-in-one travel solution for Bitcoin-paying users, even car rental options. And it now uses BTCpay, an open-source alternative to BitPay or Coinbase, allowing users to make payments with whichever wallet they choose.
9Flats.com is the European rival to AirBnB for travelers looking for more personal, homey experiences, as opposed to a hotel. The site features apartments, villas, houses and rooms for all budgets all over the world.
Though Bitcoin is only accepted on ‘instant bookings’, these account for over 50 percent of the site’s listings, so travelers should have no problem finding a nice place to catch some ZZZs.
9Flats uses BitPay as a payment gateway, though, so be sure to take that into account when preparing a trip.
CryptoCribs.com is another alternative to AirBnb, built especially for the crypto-user. Though the site does not feature as many listings as its competitors, it is quickly gaining recognition. From customer payments to hosts’ payouts, all transactions are made with cryptocurrencies.
From ‘hackerpads’ in New York City to luxury apartments minutes away from the Eiffel Tower, CryptoCribs is an excellent way to connect with other Bitcoin enthusiasts and see the world at the same time.
Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson’s space company, is poised to launch into orbit by the end of 2018, and it’s even accepting Bitcoin as a payment option. Branson, an early investor in the cryptocurrency, excitedly noted the space project accepted its first Bitcoin payment way back in 2013 from a flight attendant in Hawaii who made "quite lot of money getting into Bitcoin early on."
Hopefully Branson’s project sticks to its timeline, because a lot of eager Bitcoin astronauts are looking forward to a trip into space.
To Suit Your Tech Needs
Microsoft, the one and only, is another corporate giant that has welcomed Bitcoin into its payment options. Though it temporarily halted Bitcoin transactions after the crypto-market’s meteoric rise and fall in late 2017, it has officially returned.
Users can redeem set fiat values of Bitcoin in the payments section of the Microsoft website. These funds can then be used to purchase PC and Xbox games, Microsoft products and more. The process is fairly straightforward – simply pick the dollar amount you would like to redeem and make the payment using your chosen wallet. Be aware, however, Microsoft uses BitPay as its payment gateway, which is not compatible with many wallets.
Like Overstock, Microsoft is also getting into the blockchain space.
Harnessing the power of its cloud computing service, Azure, Microsoft has launched the Azure Blockchain Workbench, a tool to help get blockchain processes off the ground. The project aims to streamline application development on top of Azure-based blockchains.
NewEgg.com is the go-to computer marketplace with everything from graphics cards to operating systems. Over the years, NewEgg has even expanded its offerings to automobile accessories and power tools. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things hands-on. And it accepts Bitcoin.
It’s worth noting that bitcoin only works on purchases from the NewEgg store. Any items made through third-party offerings are only purchasable through traditional payment methods. Additionally, NewEgg also uses BitPay, so only some Bitcoin wallets are compatible.
Namecheap.com is the first major domain registry to accept Bitcoin as a payment option. It’s a one-stop-shop for website solutions. Customers can snag a domain, hosting, security licenses, website building tools and more – and they can do it all with Bitcoin.
As a leading ICANN-accredited domain name registrar, Namecheap manages over 9 million domains, serving over 2 million customers. And it really shines due to its harsh stance against unwanted and aggressive advertising.
PureVPN announced that it would be accepting Bitcoin in 2013. It operates over 750 servers in more than 150 countries. It offers some of the highest level of security, privacy and anonymity features available on the internet. Not only are users protected from malicious attackers, they’re able to conceal their browsing history even from Internet service providers (ISPs).
With data laws constantly changing, services like PureVPN are necessary for users who value their privacy or simply do not wish to allow their ISPs to sell their browsing history.
GoldSilver.com is a site for investors looking to diversify their holdings beyond the crypto world. The website offers a variety of gold and silver coins and bars. Customers are able to purchase minted, limited edition coins and bars from all over the world and have them shipped directly to their home. Shipping to the U.S. is even fee-free for orders over $499.
BitDials is for those lovers of fine, exclusive watches. As the world’s first-ever Bitcoin luxury boutique, it offers high-end luxury watches and jewelry, all priced in the cryptocurrency. Every item is guaranteed authentic, complete with a valid manufacturer warranty, factory stickers intact, full documentation and the original box, unless otherwise specified.
As a luxury dealer, BitDials prides itself on its high security standards, the integrity of its products and, of course, its world class customer service.
Dadiani Fine Art is another high-class venue accepting Bitcoin. Though you’ll have to travel to London or contact the gallery directly to make a purchase, the extra effort will be well worth Dadiani features a number of incredible artists from all around the world.
Not only does Dadiani accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, the gallery believes so much in blockchain technology and the power of digital cash that it is planning to launch its very own cryptocurrency some time in 2018.
Lamborghini Newport Beach, because if you’ve gotten the Rolex and an exquisite painting flown in from London, you might as well buy a Lambo, right? It is every crypto-entrepreneur’s dream, after all. In Newport Beach, wealthy crypto holders now have the opportunity to drive a Lambo off the lot with the help of BitPay’s payment gateway. But just remember, if you walk into the store ready to drop 91 Bitcoins on a car, make sure you’ve brought a compatible wallet.
BitGive Foundation, for those feeling a little more giving, allows users to donate to any number of charities using Bitcoin. It is a non-profit organization looking to tackle everything that is wrong with other, more traditional, systems. BitGive’s goal is to combat fraud and establish a new standard of transparency and security with the help of blockchain technology.
BitGive has already helped raise millions of dollars for charities across the world, and this is just the beginning.
Watsi is a unique non-profit crowdfunding platform that allows users from anywhere to donate to medical care of those in need. The organization works with a variety of providers and is dedicated to transparency, allowing donors to see exactly where and how their funds are being used.
The Water Project, founded over 10 years ago, has sought to unlock human potential through reliable clean-water projects, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The non-profit organization believes that safe water provides a clear pathway that has the potential to lift entire communities out of poverty, providing them with new opportunities to live long and healthy lives.
There’s also a whole world of local businesses that accept Bitcoin. One fantastic resource to locate such establishments is CoinMap. It features a worldwide map of user reviewed storefronts which allow customers to pay in cryptocurrency. Depending on where you are, you might find some unexpected surprises in your area!
Bitcoin is young in the world of finance, and because of that, there will be new companies accepting the cryptocurrency every day. And of course, there will be others that ditch Bitcoin for any number of reasons. Major companies have already bailed on Bitcoin, such as; Expedia, Wikipedia, Steam, and more. As technology accelerates, however, it’s reasonable to expect that more and more companies will embrace digital cash.