Cryptocurrency is Dope, but What Can You Buy With Bitcoin? | Medium
You might have heard that cryptocurrencies are digital currencies — so what can you buy with Bitcoin? Cryptocurrency is quickly going mainstream and some businesses now accept it along with fiat money (like the US dollar) and credit. If you’re wondering, “Will Amazon accept Bitcoin?” then the answer is “Not yet,” but there are plenty of real companies that do.
There is an entire market dedicated to trading digital assets and a ballooning segment of entrepreneurs accepting them. In this piece, I’ll cover the topic of using cryptocurrency for real transactions.
How to Use Cryptocurrency
“What can you buy with Bitcoin?” is a more elaborate question than most people realize. When thinking about Bitcoin, in particular, try not to compare it to cash. The popularity of Bitcoin makes it an excellent store of value over the long term. If you’re looking for a cryptocurrency to buy as a store of value, Bitcoin is probably your best choice. However, if you’re not content with holding Bitcoin and you want to use it for something, you have two main choices:
- Buy Real-World Goods/Services
Bitcoin’s ability to hold value makes it an attractive asset to people around the globe. It is a currency that surmounts political boundaries. More businesses are recognizing Bitcoin’s value every day and accepting it from their customers.
- Buy Altcoins
Bitcoin isn’t just a good option for buying altcoins — in some cases, it’s the only option! See a new project that you want to invest in? Most new coins and tokens can’t be bought with fiat; they can only be bought with Bitcoin (or Ether in many cases). The fact that so many altcoins can only be bought with Bitcoin also helps BTC hold its value.
Learning how to spend cryptocurrency is all about understanding where its value lies.
The Value of Altcoins
If you want a diverse crypto portfolio, you’ll need to buy and hold some altcoins. One of the best parts about many altcoins is their relatively low price. In many cases, you can own thousands of tokens by spending just a few hundred dollars. For a fraction of a Bitcoin, you can get a great opportunity for massive profits. Altcoins are one of the best examples of what you can buy with Bitcoin.
Why Companies Will Want to Accept Cryptocurrency
Cash is king — right? Why would a business want to complicate its operations by accepting cryptocurrency? Will Amazon accept Bitcoin? You might think that businesses won’t accept crypto because it’ll make things too complicated. However, there is a long history of businesses accepting increased complications in order to cater to their customers. Here are some of the most notable things that complicate operations but have still been accepted by businesses:
- Credit Cards
Consumers love credit cards. They make buying faster and even give individuals incentives to spend more with reward mechanisms. Businesses pay fees between 1.5–3% on every sale that involves a credit card.
- Absolute Transparency
Businesses in America abide by strict laws that make it mandatory to keep their finances transparent. Every expense, every sale is painstakingly recorded and then sent to the government.
Consumers can dispute charges from their credit cards and bank accounts. Sometimes, business owners will have already conducted a service and then the money in their bank account will be taken out.
- Bank Accounts
Trusting a financial institution to hold onto money is in a business’s best interest. It allows for fast fiat transactions and deposits. However, that money is controlled by a financial institution, not kept in-house. Businesses lack autonomy over their own resources when using banks.
The challenges mentioned above seem commonplace, a “normal” part of doing business. That’s not true. Consumers and businesses have been conditioned over the years to accept the current transaction system but there is a better way to conduct business. Clearly, businesses are willing to adapt to accommodate customers and this may very well include accepting cryptocurrency as payment in the near future.
To fully answer the question “What can you buy with Bitcoin?” understanding the current value transaction options and what the future will bring paints a bright future for Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency radically fixes problems that many business owners don’t even realize are problems.
- No Transaction Fees
Cryptocurrency transactions are peer-to-peer. Unlike credit card transactions which utilize large companies as mediators, there are no third parties required when goods and services are purchased with crypto. This means transaction fees can (theoretically) be removed from the equation. Crypto transactions often come with a fee that goes to the hosts of the network utilized, but the percentage of the transaction is so small, it’s often negligible.
Cryptocurrency is decentralized; there is no centralized point for data collection. Depending on the currency being used, business owners can enjoy anonymous transactions. Consumers are just as protected. There are no third party servers storing consumer data, so you don’t need to worry about anyone selling your transaction history.
- No Chargebacks, No IOUs
When a transaction is conducted via a blockchain, there are no re-dos. Consumers can’t file a claim to reverse their spending and business owners cannot overcharge. Cryptocurrency transactions are trustless and immutable.
- Freedom From Banks
Cryptocurrency is stored in private wallets, not on servers in a bank. As long as your passwords are kept safe, it’s virtually impossible for someone to hack your wallet. Business owners that want complete control over their finances will use cryptocurrency to free themselves from bank fees, restrictions, and business hours.
When Will a Company Like Amazon Accept Bitcoin?
The benefits of crypto are obvious, but large companies have no incentive to accept cryptocurrency any time soon. It’s a hard pill to swallow for Amazon to accept Bitcoin, their fortune is built on fiat currency, they are invested in the status quo of current transaction systems. They like credit cards, large companies enjoy having a bank account — they have no desire for private transactions. Even government regulations are designed to help the largest companies stay large.
On the flip side, large companies are successful because they are at the cutting edge of technology. It would be asinine to think fortune 500 companies aren’t testing the waters in regards to tokenization and accepting crypto. They understand what can you buy with Bitcoin and are lying low. As stated before, a serious move to accept cryptocurrency will only happen after the market dictates it, not the other way around.
Companies That Accept Bitcoin
While the biggest companies aren’t yet accepting crypto, there are plenty of companies that are. Who accepts Ethereum? Who accepts Litecoin? Companies that accept Bitcoin will usually accept top 20 altcoins.
Some companies, such as OKCupid and Expedia have stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment. While the public reason for this was the volatility of the currency, I speculate it actually has to do with recurring payments. Bitcoin wallet addresses are not like credit card numbers; every payment must be authorized by the owner of Bitcoin. It also prevents them from amassing enormous amounts of information and then selling it. Consumer data is highly valuable for these companies and without it, they are not profitable.
How to Use Cryptocurrency in the Real World
What can you buy with Bitcoin? While you wait for the day Amazon accepts Bitcoin, shop at your local stores instead. Discovering who accepts Ethereum and who accepts Litecoin is as easy as finding companies that accept Bitcoin. There are more “Mom & Pop” stores that accept Bitcoin than you might think. While pizza shops and restaurants accepting bitcoin are mainly located in large cities like New York or San Francisco, a quick google search of your town should illuminate any crypto-friendly stores that accept Bitcoin.
Local Places That Accept Cryptocurrency
Every online store has the option of taking cryptocurrency. There are countless apps that exist for the purpose of facilitating mobile payments for cryptocurrency. All you have to do is look for them.
CryptoWoo formed as a partnership between CoinBase and WooCommerce. This plugin has the potential to be added to every Wordpress website in existence. All a local business has to do is install it on their website.
Sellers now have the option to check the box, “cryptocurrency ok” when creating a post. This allows buyers to search Craiglist for their favorite items and services while filtering for crypto-friendly individuals.
- Real Estate
If you have perused your local real estate listings, you may have noticed the words, “cryptocurrency accepted.” When you look at the more expensive homes and off-grid cabins, the amount of crypto-friendly language seems to increase dramatically.
Use Cryptocurrency for Your More Personal Purchases
What can you buy with Bitcoin? If you’ve heard of the Dark Web, you might have also heard that Bitcoin has been used to buy illicit goods and services. When an untraceable, trustworthy payment system is invented, certain aspects of the economy that are outlawed suddenly find themselves with a new viable method of payment.
When the government controls the money supply while also regulating the economy, it’s only natural for the free market to invent new ways of facilitating value transactions. Making purchases without needing fiat currency frees certain industries from government oversight. There is both technology and a demand for private transactions. The following three points illustrate key terms to better understand this hidden market.
A browser that lets people surf the web anonymously. It also hosts websites anonymously, which makes it hard for governments to shut them down.
- Dream Market
An unregulated digital marketplace where cryptocurrency is exchanged for goods and services. Anonymous, users can buy pretty much anything here — use your imagination.
- Local Entrepreneurs
For most people, the use of cryptocurrency is hyperlocal. Individuals who specialize in regulated substances and/or services will gladly accept cryptocurrency as payment.
If you’re interested in learning how to use cryptocurrency for personal purchases, you’ll probably need to know that privacy coins are generally preferred over Bitcoin. While Bitcoin is more private than using a credit card, for example, there is still transaction data involved. Other coins, like Monero, ZCash, and DASH are more private.
With purchases of this nature, there’s often more of a conversation between buyers and sellers than there is when buying something off Amazon or from WalMart. This conversation is where you’ll find out who accepts Ethereum and who accepts Litecoin, for example.
What You Can Buy With Bitcoin is Increasing Daily
The technology behind cryptocurrency is superior in terms of ultimate cost to both buyers and sellers. As cryptocurrency increasingly turns mainstream, there will be more companies that accept Bitcoin. Even more, businesses will be invented around the industry, completely divorcing themselves from fiat currency. From airplane tickets to real estate, options for how to use cryptocurrency are rapidly growing.