Surprising ways you can use Bitcoin in 2019
It’s been one decade since the bitcoin network came into existence and we are past the stage where crypto is just a trend. With crypto awareness levels at an all-time high and more investors than ever before, it looks like bitcoin is here to stay. However, many are wondering whether the applications of bitcoin could expand beyond simply buying and holding it and whether we could one day use it as a mainstream currency, in exchange for products and services.
Although crypto payments aren’t as common as cash or card payments, the number of retailers that accept bitcoin has been increasing steadily, with big names like Walmart and Starbucks joining the game. Traders who have been on the market for a while now will be happy to find out that both online and brick-and-mortar retailers are experimenting with crypto payments and that there are many places where you can spend your bitcoins, some of them very creative.
If you want to give something back before treating yourself, then you can always make a donation using your bitcoin wallet. There are many organizations that accept crypto donations, so no matter what noble cause you want to support, from children’s charities to NGOs that are trying to solve the water crisis, there are many options to choose from. Here are just some examples:
- UNICEF’s children organization
- The Water Project
- The Sigil Social Foundation
- Tor Project
If you have been donating to a certain charity for some time now, you can check whether they’ve implemented a crypto donation feature recently. Since blockchain allows for extra security and transparency, chances are they’re already doing this.
Fund your trading accounts
Many times, people who buy crypto have their eye on several other investment opportunities, such as ICOs, alternative sectors, stocks, or Forex. Not that long ago, combining crypto with these other fields wasn’t possible, because bitcoin didn’t have the same status as conventional currencies. But now, bitcoin is slowly starting to enter these other fields. For example, some Forex brokers now allow you to trade bitcoin, as well as fund your trading account with Bitcoin. This makes the transaction quicker and cheaper. In time, as bitcoin won’t be as volatile, more brokers are expected to accept it as a payment method.
Food & coffee
Who knew, when bitcoin was created in 2009, that it won’t die out as a quirk of technology and that, one day, you could pay your daily cup of coffee with it? Starbucks, the largest coffee shop chain in the world, is close to achieving this. Although they announced earlier on that they’re not ready to accept direct crypto payments yet, payments will be made possible through the futures exchange platform Bakkt. From the first half of 2020, you will be able to buy coffee from Starbucks with bitcoin and, since the company is highly influential, other coffee chains will soon follow.
And it’s not just about coffee. Several food delivery services have been accepting bitcoin for a while now. Takeaway.com’s Lieferando, Pizzaforcoint, and When Hungry, are just a few examples. Select restaurants in the US have also launched pilot programs to test bitcoin payments.
Do you want to offer a gift card to someone special, but you’ve forgotten to top up your debit card? No problem. Gyft, one of the most popular gift card apps, now allows users to pay with bitcoin for gift cards from more than 200 retailers, including Sephora, CVS, Whole Foods, and Hotels.com. So, whether you’re planning your next vacation or want to buy a gift basket for your loved one, this is a great way to spend your bitcoins. If you don’t like Gyft, then eGifter is another platform you can try.
REEDS Jewelers, a US-based jewelry store, now accepts crypto payments both online and in-store and clients are loving it. From dainty earrings to engagement rings, you can use your bitcoin wallet to pay and, apart from the fact that it’s convenient, it helps the seller too. For example, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, said that after opening bitcoin payments, the number of transactions increased by 20%. Fine jewelry comes with a higher price tag, so it comes as no surprise that clients who already own bitcoin find it more convenient compared to other payment methods.
Alright, we might not be ready for the first commercial trips to space just yet, but when Richard Branson’s space tourism company takes off (pun intended), you will be able to pay with bitcoin. And if space sounds a bit too far, don’t worry, bitcoin can fund your travel plans here on Earth too. With services such as Destinia, TravelbyBit, and even AirBaltic, you can use your crypto wallet to make fast and secure payments.
In September 2013, Shopify rolled out an update that allowed e-commerce providers to accept bitcoin payments. Unfortunately, there isn’t a comprehensive list of all the sellers that implemented it, but if you order online frequently, then it’s worth checking. But crypto payments aren’t limited to online stores. Providers from all fields are beginning to experiment with crypto, oftentimes when the industry might not seem that tech-driven. So, next time you want to use moving services or change your cable provider, ask them if they accept bitcoin and you might be surprised to hear that the answer is yes.
Eduard Watson Author
An experienced finance writer for more than 10 years, active industry watcher, and gadget enthusiast.