Crypto enthusiasts have been rather bullish about several major digital currencies in recent months, driving the value of tokens like Bitcoin to record highs. In mid-March, BTC surpassed the $60,000 mark for the first time ever, leading many pundits to speculate on what wild valuation it could meet next.
The reason for the increase this time hasn’t just been blind speculation and excitement like we saw in late 2017; it’s been driven by several big names announcing that they were investing/supporting the cryptocurrency.
For example, PayPal recently announced that it was going to begin allowing US customers to hold Bitcoin in their accounts, while Elon Musk’s Tesla purchased around $1.5 billion worth of tokens in January 2021. By late February, the company claimed it had already made a $1 billion paper profit.
But the future of Bitcoin as a “currency” rather than a “store of value” is dependent on how many businesses are willing to accept it as payment for the goods and services that they offer.
Over time, more and more businesses have begun to embrace these new types of payment methods, though adoption is still slow. That said, as of right now, in 2021, you can spend your Bitcoins in more places than ever before.
Online casinos let players wager on table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as thousands of different video slots. Competition is strong in the sector, leading many operators to offer free spins and other promotions to entice new customers to join. The online casino industry has always been at the cutting edge of technology, with many companies embracing new developments like mobile devices, live streaming, and virtual reality to try and get ahead of the competition.
Unlike most retailers, online casinos have also traditionally offered many different payment methods. If you’re buying products online, you’re usually limited to credit/debit card and sometimes PayPal or a “buy now, pay later scheme”. In high street stores, you can also usually pay with cash.
However, casinos usually accept many more ways to pay, including wallets like Skrill and Neteller, paybyphone, bank transfer, and even the paysafecard. Some are also beginning to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Some casinos will allow you to wager in the cryptocurrency you deposit, though most will use a third party service to convert it into a fiat currency first.
If you like the idea of placing bets with Bitcoin, you will need to do a bit of searching first as there are only a handful of licensed online casinos that accept cryptocurrencies.
Several clothing retailers have begun accepting Bitcoin for their products, including the Italian custom fashion brand Lanieri. You can update your wardrobe with Bitcoin through companies like Go Wear, XX Simplicity, Jens Hansen, Bacon Bikinis, Real Watches, and Girl meets Dress.
The majority of fashion businesses that accept cryptocurrencies as payment tend to be small and medium-sized enterprises, often with an owner that is a crypto enthusiast. Others are set up specifically to serve the market of Bitcoin lovers, such as MtSocks, a company whose branding plays on the name of the failed crypto exchange Mt. Gox. It sells Bitcoin-themed socks that feature the ₿ logo.
Several US sports teams now accept Bitcoin as a method of payment for both tickets and merchandise. In 2019, Forbes reported that the Dallas Mavericks were accepting cryptocurrencies on their website. This allows fans to buy a ticket to watch a Mavericks game and a new jersey to wear while they attend all with their Bitcoin balance.
The team has been able to do this by using BitPay, a payment processor used by many major brands around the world to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Dallas Mavericks are not alone though. In Europe, the Italian football side Juventus FC and the Portuguese club S.L Benfica both accept cryptocurrencies on their website. The latter has been using the UTRUST payment platform to accept Bitcoins for match tickets. The club believes it will benefit from this because it allows fiat payments to be credited into their bank account on the same day while removing the risk of credit card chargebacks.
Food is a sector where many businesses are beginning to accept Bitcoins instead of cash. Unlike fashion, there is much broader adoption among larger companies as well as small businesses.
For example, Pizza Hut currently accept Bitcoins in Venezuela, while some Subway franchises, Starbucks, and Whole Food also accept cryptocurrencies from their customers.
You’ll also likely find dozens of local bars, restaurants, takeaway outlets, and convenience stores that also accept digital currencies as payment. For example, Australians in Sydney and Melbourne can spend their Bitcoins in Black Star Pastry, Peak Coffee, and Cellini’s.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the technology industry has been the fastest to embrace Bitcoin as a payment method. Microsoft has been accepting Bitcoin payments in its Microsoft Store for several years, while Wikimedia and the Internet Archive also accept donations in cryptocurrencies.
If you need to buy domain names, Namecheap has been accepting Bitcoin since 2013, while the electronics retailer NewEgg was one of the first companies to let customers buy computer hardware with BTC.
While the number of businesses natively supporting crypto payments remains quite low, that doesn’t mean you can’t use BTC to buy a coffee each morning. In fact, there are several tools you can use to pay with Bitcoin just about anywhere.
They work by connecting a crypto wallet to a Visa or Mastercard card. You then pay just as you would with any normal credit or debit card. The retailer doesn’t even know you’re actually using your Bitcoin balance to pay them as the card issuer converts your crypto into a fiat currency before paying them.
There are numerous companies offering these cards, some more reputable and/or resilient to financial stress than others. Therefore, it’s prudent to only transfer a small amount to use on a card so that if the exchange fails you don’t lose a big chunk of your portfolio.