- What is Bitcoin?
- What is blockchain?
- What is mining?
- Where are your coins stored? (wallet addresses, keys)
- What is cryptocurrency and why would I need it?
- Where can you spend your Bitcoin?
- What are altcoins and where can I buy them?
- What is Ethereum?
- What is the difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash?
- What is the Lightning Network?
- What is Tether (USDT)? When would you use it?
- Top crypto resources that you should follow
- Ten commandments of cryptocurrency investing
What can you buy with Bitcoin?
As cryptocurrency grows in popularity and becomes easier to use, we’re starting to see a huge increase in the number of individuals, e-commerce sites, traditional retailers, and other businesses that accept crypto payments. Since you already know how to invest in Bitcoin, let’s take a look at how to use Bitcoin by actually spending it. I mean, what’s the point of your Bitcoin investment if you can’t use it like fiat? Here are some great examples of how and where you can spend your coins.
E-commerce Stores & Retailers
Now that you know HOW to wield your crypto purchasing power, let’s talk about WHERE you can use it. Thousands of websites and retailers are now accepting crypto payments, and some of the best known include:
- Virgin Mobile and Virgin Airlines
- Domino’s Pizza
- Intuit including Mint.com
- Dish Network
- The Pirate Bay
For an extensive and ever-growing list of over 9,000 merchants accepting crypto payments, check out Spend Bitcoins or coinmap.org.
Purse.io: Buy Amazon products at a DISCOUNT with crypto!
Via Purse.io you can order Amazon products at discounts from 5% (fast delivery) up till more than 15% (slower delivery) and you can only pay with Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash! A great way to actually spend your cryptocurrency and get a discount as bonus for doing so. In fact this is a marketplace where people with amazon gift card balances want to trade their balance for cryptocurrency by accepting your crypto payment and then order the goods with you as the recipient of the product. Purse.io’s escrow service will ensure that the sender will not receive the payment before you have received the order from Amazon. Because of the Shapeshift integration into the platform, you can now also use your other cryptocurrencies (Ether, Litecoin, and many more) to pay for items (these will be exchanged by Shapeshift into BTC or BCH to fulfill the payment).
The best and most developed example for this possibility is Openbazaar.org! This is an Amazon/Ebay-like decentralized marketplace where you can buy or sell goods, services for cryptocurrencies peer-2-peer! The platform itself doesn’t charge any fees, you only pay blockchain network fees or a fee for independent moderators that can serve as escrow service for trades and transactions. Read more about it in this thread on our forum.
Use Bitcoin to Buy Gift Cards
If your favorite company doesn’t yet accept Bitcoin payments, they will soon! But if you want to use crypto with them right now, here are two companies that allow you to buy gift cards to well-known retailers with your Bitcoin.
Gyft: Gyft offers access to gift cards from over 200 retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target, Whole Foods, and Nike, all available for purchase with Bitcoin. Plus, they have a handy phone app so you can buy, send, and manage your gift card collection from your phone.
eGifter: eGifter offers a similar service, and allows you to buy gift cards to over 250 retailers with your Bitcoin. Their best sellers include Adidas, Amazon, American Eagle, Applebee’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and iTunes.
Wegift: Coinbase users can now instantly withdraw their crypto balances directly into gift cards for big brands such as Nike, Uber, Zalando, Tesco and Decathlon. Advantages to use this are extra discount and faster withdrawal than fiat withdrawal from Coinbase.
Crypto Debit and Credit Cards
As the acceptability of cryptocurrency is rising in the real world, many companies strive to provide services similar to fiat currencies in the crypto domain. Crypto credit card is such an innovative addition to a crypto sphere that may cause a significant ripple in day-to-day life spending.
Crypto credit and debit cards are similar to fiat credit cards but they are connected to a crypto wallet instead of a bank account. When you make a purchase with a crypto card, the coins in the wallet automatically get converted to fiat at the current prevalent exchange rate and sent to the merchant without any hassle. That way you can pay for items with your cryptocurrency EVEN at merchants that don’t accept cryptocurrencies directly (yet).
Is it Advantageous to Use Crypto Card?
Like every new technology, Crypto card too has its advantages and disadvantages. However, with every passing day, the advantages are overpowering the disadvantages.
Freedom from Dynamic Forex Rates: The cardholder can spend in any country without worrying about the forex rates as cryptocurrencies are universal.
Majorly accepted: Like Mastercard and Visa powered cards, crypto cards are slowly being accepted everywhere. As a vendor, one does not need to hesitate to accept payments via crypto card as the money is immediately converted to fiat currencies.
Rewards: Most crypto cards offer rewards which are better and beneficial compared to using fiat cards and cash.
Volatile prices of the cryptocurrencies: As the prices of cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, the cardholder is always under the confusion of how much money does he hold.
Trusting the card company: Storing your crypto on your account with the card issuer means that you are trusting them to safely store your crypto on your behalf (as you may have learned: your private keys, your bitcoin; not your private keys, not your bitcoin). If the card issuing company gets hacked, this may affect your ability to get your crypto back.
Although it is just a matter of time for the acceptability to increase.
Key Players in Crypto Card Domain
Many players are coming up with crypto cards. They majorly differ in the technology they use, fees, rewards, and availability.
The list of key players are as follows:
Bitpay Card – Atlanta based global bitcoin payment service provider, Bitpay also offers a Visa Powered credit card. Cheerlessly, The newest Bitcoin debit card is currently only available to US residents in all 50 states. The Bitpay car will cost you USD 9.95, and it takes seven days to arrive via mail.
TenX – TenX is building the COMIT network, an in-house created routing protocol that connects different blockchains. The TenX physical card costs USD 15 to order while the virtual card (not available yet) costs USD 1.50 to activate and has a USD 10 annual charge. Nevertheless, like every other card, users will be rewarded with 0.1% for each transaction using the TenX card. UPDATE: The card issuer of TenX has stopped supporting VISA cards, which means TenX currently doesn’t issue cards until they have a new card issuer.
Monaco – Monaco is a Visa-branded debit card succeeding TenX. Much of the Monaco technology is proprietary, but the project uses a Mastercard and Visa accredited payment processor and is built on Ethereum. To get this card on hand, You should hold a certain amount of MCO token for six months depending on the card you pluck. The company offers a free Monaco bank account and card to the cryptocurrency holders.
Shift Card – Shift provides cards that are linked to the Coinbase account. Although, It proclaims itself as “the first US bitcoin debit card”. The Shift card costs a USD 10 to procure and has no annual or ongoing fees.
Wirex Debit Card – The Company, previously known as ECoin, is a kinda established player who supplies Chip and Dip Visa Debit cards that can be loaded using the Wirex app available on Desktop and Mobile. The issuance cost of the Wirex card is USD 17. However, a virtual card may cost far less.
Cryptopay Card – Cryptopay issues both physical and virtual Bitcoin debit cards that offer a low commission rate. The leading digital currency service provider company in Europe provides free shipping worldwide. The acquiring cost of each physical card is USD 15 for a US card, EUR 15 for a Euro Card and GBP 15 for a GBP card. Virtual cards cost USD 2.5 for US cards, and EUR 2.5 and GBP 2.5 for their respective currency cards.
Xapo Card – A Hong Kong-based fintech company, Xapo holds the first position to supply a Bitcoin debit card associated with their Bitcoin wallet. Just like Bitpay it offers a “simple” credit card that does not have a chip & pin mechanism. Surprisingly, it is available in most of the European countries, but not the giant United States. The cost of the Xapo card is USD 20, and it does have an annual fee of USD 12/year after the first year.
Uquid: – Uquid is a multi-cryptocurrency debit card issued by Cocsi Ltd, a UK-based IT company. The Uquid card supports more than 40 cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin). The card is shipped free to 178+ countries with zero additional fees and reaches in 2-3 days. Like others, the Uquid card is available in two formats: physical and virtual. The setup cost for a physical card is USD 16.99 and USD 1 for a virtual card.
Tokencard – TokenCard gives you complete control of your funds as it is built on Ethereum network. It comes with a combined wallet which allows each purchase split among different currencies. The card is yet to be commercially launched.
To conclude, undoubtedly, the idea of merging cryptocurrency and debit/credit cards is a promising one and would help in mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. As more countries move towards adopting virtual currencies, crypto-cards are here to last. They currently function best for users as a bridge for enabling the spending of cryptocurrency at merchants that do not yet accept cryptocurrency directly.
How to Make the Purchase
Most online stores that accept crypto will present an option to use an app such as BitPay or your (mobile) wallet during checkout. To complete the transaction, use your payment processor to scan the QR code on the checkout page or copy and paste the payment address to deduct Bitcoin from your wallet. Similarly at local merchants and stores that accept cryptocurrency, the merchant will generally show a QR-code on a tablet screen that you can scan with your phone’s wallet app and then confirm the payment.
Paying with a prepaid cryptocurrency debit card is even easier: simply load up the card with your crypto and use at your favorite retailers, just like a bank card.
Bitcoin Payment Processing Companies
BitPay, CoinGate, and Coinbase are the largest cryptocurrency payment processors and together allow thousands of small business and enterprise-level companies alike to accept cryptocurrencies.
BitPay: In December 2016 BitPay was processing 200,000 monthly transactions, and then saw a 300% increase in its user base in 2017. They boast over 40 integrations with popular sites like WordPress, Shopify, and Magento, just to name a few. They also enable retailers to accept Bitcoin and other cryptos through a mobile app, in which the consumer simply needs to scan a QR code to pay from their Bitcoin wallet.
CoinGate: CoinGate is similar to BitPay, but provides more flexibility for someone with a diverse crypto portfolio because it supports the use of more than 40 altcoins.
Coinbase: Though it’s known mostly as a crypto trading platform, Coinbase also supports purchases with cryptocurrency. They have the broadest vendor network of the crypto payment processing companies, partnering with over 48,000 businesses worldwide including household names like Expedia Travel, Dell, Intuit, Overstock.com, and Dish Network.
To Sum Up
As the popularity of cryptocurrencies continues to soar, the list of merchants accepting them will only grow and it will become ever-easier for crypto users to spend their coins without converting to a fiat currency first. But while we wait for the day when you can use Bitcoin to buy kale at your local farmer’s market, try out the above-mentioned gift cards and debit cards or services like Purse.io and Openbazaar to use your crypto today! If someone argues that you can’t buy anything with cryptocurrency, now you know that nothing could be further from the truth!
This article was written to the best of our knowledge with the information available to us. We do not guarantee that every bit of information is completely accurate or up-to-date. Please use this information as a complement to your own research. Nothing we write in any of our articles is intended as investment advice nor as an endorsement to buy/sell/hold anything. Cryptocurrency investments are inherently risky so you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.