Despite the fact that cryptocurrencies are suffering in the current market, and many are predicting an impending bitcoin doomsday, the flagship cryptocurrency remains useful in certain areas. For one thing, these doomsday predictions are probably overstating things a bit; it seems just as likely that we haven’t heard the last of bitcoin as an exciting investment opportunity, and even if it settles into a relatively low value for the next several years, it’s unlikely to die out completely. In the meantime, while it never did catch on as a threat to ordinary money, like so many wanted to believe it might, it has gradually spread into enough markets to be useful, for those who want to be able to spend it.
It’s even possible that as bitcoin looks more and more shaky as an investment, people do turn back toward thinking of it as an alternative currency once more. It’s a lot more appealing to spend and exchange a cryptocurrency worth $3,500 (as of this moment, a $15 purchase would be a reasonable-looking 0.0046 BTC) than one worth $18,000 (at that value the same purchase would be 0.00083 BTC, which starts to seem absurd).
At any rate, if you’re in the camp still eyeing bitcoin as a useful currency, these are some of the fun places you can still spend and exchange it.
Somewhat surprisingly, Microsoft has held strong, accepting bitcoin purchases online long after some similar competitors had stopped doing so. The main use in this area is gaming, since the Xbox online store is Microsoft-affiliated, meaning people are able to buy games and downloadable content with their cryptocurrency. This is particularly valuable given that Steam, a massive online platform for game downloads and purchases, once accepted bitcoin only to stop doing so.
The White Company
The White Company is fascinating because it actually exists for the sole purpose of letting people buy products – specifically very high-end luxury products – with cryptocurrency. In a way this makes sense because some of these items cost enough that you can actually spend bitcoins, rather than just fractions of them. The company’s available goods include luxury cars, watches, jewelry, gold, and event tickets and vacation packages. It’s a very interesting idea, and should certainly be useful to bitcoin high-rollers.
It’s hard to measure this specifically because it depends on how you define retail in context, but Overstock may just be the biggest retail store to accept bitcoin. It’s done so for quite a while now, giving consumers the chance to buy affordable furniture, decorations, appliances, and even electronics with bitcoin. It’s not quite Walmart or Amazon (two companies bitcoin advocates would love to see accepting digital currency), but it’s not too far off just in that it really does offer a lot of shopping opportunities.
This area presents some fascinating opportunities that have largely flown under the radar to date. Even now in fact gambling resources online list deposit and withdrawal options as including cheque, wire transfer, and credit/debit cards, omitting in many cases any mention of cryptocurrency. However, we’ve found that some of the newer and more innovative sites in both casino gaming and sport and event wagering have started to accept bitcoin, and in some cases other cryptocurrencies. This serves two purposes: first, it helps these sites stand out in a competitive industry, and second it gives players a deposit and withdrawal method they can trust from a security standpoint.
Gift Card Providers
This is a little bit of a workaround, in that it’s basically a way to spend bitcoin such that you can then use its value to buy goods from a huge range of stores that don’t actually accept bitcoin. More specifically, there are numerous gift card providers – Gyft, Cryfter, eGifter, Instagift, and others- that allow you to purchase a card with bitcoin, and then use it just like you would if you bought it with regular money. Some might view this as somewhat unnecessary, but particularly for people who already own bitcoin and would like to spend it freely, it’s an interesting option.