As we wrote earlier this summer, Bitcoin’s notoriety continues to increase. The digital currency has gradually gained legitimacy, and with some strong performance in the last year or two, the media headlines have been virtually endless. More people are looking at Bitcoin as a viable commodity, and something to be considered and evaluated as a potential investment. In all the hubbub it’s almost become easy to forget that this technology was designed as a currency.
Bitcoin was meant to be used as a sort of digital token that would take the place of regular currency in digital form. It’s supposed to be secure and anonymous but still traceable. It offered pretty much everything one could want in an online payment. But because more people are thinking of it as a resource like gold rather than a currency like the dollar many of us have lost track of the idea of spending it.
If that describes your attitude toward Bitcoin, or if you’re just not on board with the cryptocurrency, you may want to take some time to research just how many online and in-person merchants and even entire industries are now accepting it as a legitimate form of payment. Here are five such places you might be unaware of.
It’s said that Overstock was the first big online retailer to accept Bitcoins, when it started doing so back in 2014. In order to make it happen, the company partnered with Coinbase, which is one of the most popular Bitcoin exchanges on the market. Overstock may not be the trendiest name in retail, but it’s one of the most useful, and its openness to Bitcoin gave interested parties a way to purchase just about any kind of retail product they could imagine with cryptocurrency. Thanks to this development, you can just about literally outfit an entire apartment with Bitcoin purchases.
Shopify’s decision to work with Bitcoin was interesting because in a way it left it up to individual merchants to decide whether or not this was something they wanted to bother with. We sometimes see headlines about more independent retailers and brick-and-mortar stores beginning to accept digital currency payments, and this is essentially the online version of that progress. Because people can set up their own online shops to sell their goods, they’re given the ability to choose whether or not to accept money in cryptocurrency form.
3. Gaming Sites
Some conventional gaming sites like Steam have started to accept Bitcoin payments. More noteworthy is the way that casino sites have embraced the currency. It’s a natural match, and a potentially lucrative one. Encryption and privacy are high on the list of things people appreciate about cryptocurrency. So it makes perfect sense that people who engage in this sort of gaming would prefer it to regular currency. It can be far more appealing to pay for a game deposit with Bitcoin than to sign up with an actual bank account!
4. Payment Processors
While some people think of Bitcoin as an alternative to existing digital payment processors, the new currency has worked to facilitate some of their use. Both Square and PayPal accept Bitcoin, meaning users can use the currency to make deposits. There are also emerging Bitcoin wallets that allow for easy peer-to-peer transfers, and those tools may rival these kinds of processors.
Gyft is another interesting one because, like Overstock and Shopify, it gives people a way of paying for just about anything via Bitcoin—albeit somewhat indirectly. This is a site that sells gift cards (for just about anything), and it accepts Bitcoin as legal tender. The site saw a decline in Bitcoin use not too long ago, but it still represents an interesting concept for those who want to use the technology as functional currency.