Bitcoin was invented in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for someone or some group of people behind the cryptocurrency. At the time, Nakamoto envisioned the technology being used for small-scale payments among individuals online. But over the past decade, Nakamoto’s vision has expanded to include a wide array of uses.
Bitcoin is still primarily used for buying things like pizza, flowers, and clothes. But now there are ways to use the currency for real estate purchases, medical expenses, and even college tuition. In fact, it’s become such a versatile tool that companies are starting to build apps around it. Here are just a few examples of what you can do with bitcoins today:
• Purchase items online
• Pay bills
• Make donations
• Save money
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be useful tools for making purchases online. However, many vendors remain skeptical about whether it makes sense to accept digital currencies. Some merchants say they don’t want to deal with the complexities of processing payments in crypto. Others worry about security risks associated with storing people’s personal information on computers stored across the globe. Still others just aren’t sure how much demand there really is for buying things online with cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin Goes Mainstream
The second reason behind the increase in retail adoption is the growing awareness of how cryptocurrencies work. This is especially true among millennials, who are increasingly aware of blockchain technology.
In fact, over the last few months, we’ve seen several major brands announce plans to accept bitcoin payments. Some, like Microsoft, are doing it because they’re interested in the technology; others are simply trying to appeal to younger customers.
There are two reasons for this. First, innovations like the Lightning Network are promising ways to scale the number of transactions in Bitcoin’s network and make them faster and more efficient, while also allowing for cheaper transaction fees. Second, there’s been a growing awareness of how cryptocurrencies actually work. Millennials are becoming increasingly familiar with blockchains and how they work, and they’re starting to realize that they could use them for things beyond just buying stuff online.
How to Buy With Bitcoin
The easiest way to buy anything online with bitcoin is to use one of the many crypto debit cards available. These cards come preloaded with the cryptocurrency you want to purchase. You simply swipe it over the merchant’s POS terminal and pay with the digital currency. To make sure the transaction goes smoothly, most merchants accept payments via the major credit card companies.
While you spend crypto, the merchant receives fiat money as payment, meaning that the exchange happens instantly and without fees. In addition to traditional retailers, there are now even specialized stores where you can shop for goods while spending bitcoin.
What You Can Buy With Bitcoin
While the number of institutions accepting cryptocurrencies is increasing every day, large transactions involving them are still rare. However, there are many ways to use bitcoin to purchase goods online. In fact, you can even buy a wide variety of items from e-commerce sites like Amazon using bitcoin.
Inside the World of Cryptocurrencies
Portugal’s “Bitcoin Beach,” where people flock to trade cryptocurrencies, is still booming. But the recent cryptocurrency market crash hasn’t shaken the confidence of those who are drawn there.
The beach in Nazaré, a popular surfing spot about 200 miles north of Lisbon, is one of several spots around the world where people gather to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. They call it “the Bitcoin Beach,” because most transactions take place via the digital currency bitcoin.
Nazaré attracts thousands of visitors each week. On a typical day, dozens of surfers crowd into a coffee shop called Cafe Cozinha do Mico, where they wait for the next wave of buyers and sellers to arrive.
On a recent afternoon, a group of young men sat outside the cafe, discussing the latest price fluctuations in bitcoin. One man held up his smartphone and showed me a chart tracking the value of bitcoin over the past 24 hours. He pointed out the dip that occurred earlier this month, saying he had bought some bitcoins just before the drop.
“I think we’re gonna make a profit,” he told me confidently.
But the recent cryptocurrency marketcrash hasn’t shaken the confidenceof those who are drawn there.”
Online stores that accept Bitcoin
Overstock — a prominent online retail store that sells furniture, clothing, electronics, housewares and toys accepts and fully supports Bitcoin. As of February 2018, the site had over $1 billion worth of goods listed for sale.
Home Depot — a home improvement store, the largest in the US, accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment for most of its stock items.
Newegg — an electronic retailing giant, accepts Bitcoin for most of its stock, including computer hardware, video games, mobile devices, accessories and software.
Shopify — an e-Commerce platform that enables users to build their own online stores, like Etsy and eBay, accepts Bitcoin as a method of payment.
Microsoft — one of the world’s biggest companies, allows users of Windows 10 to add money to their account with Bitcoin.
Most major online retailers still do NOT accept BTC as a form payment, but there is another way of buying products from some of them: you can buy them with gift cards.
Service providers that accept Bitcoin
Bitcoin isn’t just a currency anymore. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to start accepting payments in the cryptocurrency. Here are some examples of how bitcoin is being used as a form of payment:
AT&T — a cellular telephone service provider.
Twitch — a live streaming platform that allows people to watch others play video games online.
Dish Network — an American direct broadcast satellite service provider.