What can I buy with bitcoins?
What to buy with bitcoins.
More merchants are beginning to accept bitcoin in exchange for goods and services. Although the best place to find them are still marketplaces and aggregator sites that gather large numbers of supporting establishments together at once.
Spending your bitcoins
What can you buy with bitcoins? We’ve told you how to mine bitcoin, and how to buy it. However you choose to acquire your digital currency, at some point you’re going to want to spend it. But where can you go to exchange it for goods and services?
There are several broad categories of place – both online and off – that you can go to spend your bitcoin. Read on for a description. What can you buy with bitcoins? Find out with this guide.
Bitcoin gambling sites
One of the biggest destinations for people’s bitcoin is online gambling. It is fast, with an immediate return (or loss), and bets can be relatively small. When done properly, it is also relatively easy to prove that bets are fair. Either by tracking payouts in the blockchain or by using some external proof, such as records of cash inputs used to produce random numbers. Some of which are controlled by the user.
SatoshiDice has been the most popular gambling site online. Users mail money to one of a set of addresses. In return get a payout based on a probability of winning. Others include PeerBet, Just-Dice, BetCoin Dice and Satoshi Circle.
Physical goods that can be bought with bitcoin
Bitcoin may be well suited for purchasing online services, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for physical goods. There are a variety of sites that sell physical products for bitcoin, although they still mostly take payments on the Internet.
Leafing through some of the directories available online will show a long list of merchants taking bitcoin. However, a quick click on some of them finds that they may have tested bitcoin as a payment option at one time, but no longer use it. Or, they may be selling a very limited range of goods in a particular geographical area.
Of those that are left, the pickings are rather hit and miss. At the time of writing it still feels as though when leafing through directories of online merchants, you are still looking for a place that accepts your bitcoins for the sake of spending them. Ideally, a customer would look for a product first, and then expect a merchant to take the coin as a matter of course. We are a long way from that utopia yet.
In South Africa you can purchase almost anything from Bitcoin South Africa
That said, there are some options for people that don’t want to pick through reams of listings to find a vendor selling products vaguely approximating those that they want. There are some more general e-commerce sites selling either multiple products in a particular category, or offering cross-category sales.
Bitcoinshop.us, for example, offers products from air-conditioners through to watches, all priced in bitcoin, for those wanting to make a purchase. The catch: it only ships to people in the continental US.
Coindays offers electronic products such as laptops, cameras, and TVs for sale in bitcoin, and ships internationally.
All Things Luxury offers a range of jewelry items, and Keystone Pet Place will handle your pet needs with a variety of products.
For more examples of physical merchants, check out Spendbitcoins.com.
Physical establishments who accept bitcoin
Bars and restaurants that accept bitcoin are still the exception, rather than the rule. But, if you’re determined to spend your digital currency on a plate of fish and chips or a cold beer, there are easy ways to find out where you can go.
Bitcoin.Travel is a respected site, offering a mappable list of accommodation, apartments, attractions, bars, and beauty salons around the world. Coinmap is another, and UseBitCoins also offers a list, although this site extends further, covering services and other goods, too.
If you’re in London in the UK, the Pembury Tavern is well known, as is the Old Fitzroy pub if you’re in Sydney, Australia.
When it comes to food and drink, there are other ways to spend bitcoins, even if a restaurant doesn’t directly accept them.
Foodler, a site enabling you to browse and order delivery and take-out meals from restaurants across the globe, has 13,000 restaurants in 3,150 cities on its books. You can use bitcoins to pay for ‘Foodler credits’, which can be used at any of the restaurants.
Interestingly, we are starting to see nascent clusters of bitcoin-friendly establishments. For example, the Bitcoin-Kiez in Berlin is persuading local establishments in small numbers along the Graefekiez there to support bitcoin.
Online bitcoin marketplaces and auctions
Online marketplaces are another way to spend bitcoins. They are effectively clearing houses that enable anyone to sell products to anyone else.
It all started with Silk Road, an underground marketplace that enabled people to sell illicit goods and services using bitcoin. The site, only accessible via the Tor anonymous browsing system, capitalized on the currency’s ability to facilitate anonymous trades (if you know what you’re doing).
One of the most popular is Bitmit, an eBay-style site that features auctionable items, along with the now-famililar ‘buy it now’ option seen on eBay. Coingig enables people to set up their own bitcoin-based stores online, which are often specialized. It features stores with specialties ranging from survivalist gear, to sunglasses.
In addition to browsing by store, you can also search by category. Bitcoin Market and Cryptothrift are two other category-driven sites, albeit sparsely populated. Flibbr was in pre-testing at the time of writing, but will allow you to search listed products by name.
Some marketplaces are a little more rough and ready than these sites with their arrays of thumbnails and specialist categories. Reddit offers a subthread called Bitmarket, that allows people to list their goods as Reddit posts.
There are other, specialist sites popping up. BitPremier will enable you to sell your high-end luxury items with bitcoins, using an escrow service. Items listed at the time of writing included a 2012 motorhome, a 2009 Porsche, and a 3.5 storey office building in Bali.
Online bitcoin services
Perhaps not surprisingly for a movement that requires a fair bit of technical know-how, bitcoin has garnered a lot of support from the online services community. Hosting companies in particular are willing to give your website or server a home on the Internet in exchange for bitcoin.
The bitcoin wiki has a good list. WordPress is among the most visible and popular sites. And it will offer you a blogging presence online for payment in cryptocurrency.
Tipping, or donating bitcoin to a cause
Feel like giving your bitcoins away to a good cause, or to reward an interesting comment? You can tip people for comments in Reddit (see the guide here). And there is also a list of sites taking donations in bitcoin.
Bitcoin gift cards
Various sites offer the chance to change your bitcoins into gift cards. Gyft, which sells gift cards from a range of stores, now takes bitcoins in exchange for cards, meaning that you can indirectly exchange your cryptocurrency for goods from supported stores in a variety of countries.
Other cards allow options for specific store cards, such as Starbucks UK (IcedMocha), and Amazon (GiftcardBTC). Some sites, such as BitCC and Cryptcard, will exchange bitcoins for disposable prepaid debit cards.
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