Bitcoin is rapidly going mainstream, the price hit another all time high in November 2017, reaching more than $11000 per bitcoin. Many other cryptos and altcoins have also increased in value vastly this year. But what does this mean in the real world? Are cryptocurrencies still mainly for price speculation or investment or can you actually live off only using bitcoin?
Where can I spend my bitcoin?
The list of companies that accept bitcoin is getting rather long and keeps growing. Money 20/20, the global FinTech conference held another payments race at the latest event in Las Vegas. The contestants had to only use their payment method to get from Toronto to Las Vegas. They also had to complete some tasks along the way and make a few specific purchases. Swapping the payment method for cash was not allowed. This time Amelie Arras won the Money 20/20 payments race using only bitcoin. Even though she relied heavily on the bitcoin community to purchase things for her, this is proof that you can travel quite a way using only bitcoin.
There was also a very big announcement by Abra, a cryptocurrency wallet at Money20/20. They have received $16 million in series B funding backed by Foxconn. Okay, great but what does this mean? Their idea is to start producing appliances that have iot connectivity. These devices would work as a pay as you go model. This idea came when Abra’s founder and CEO travelled Africa and came across some solar powered lamps that worked on a pay as you go model, topped up with M-Pesa.
What is revolutionary about this? It makes consumer credit more affordable and brings a whole different area to personal finance. Now instead of buying a washing machine on credit for example, you can get one for free and top it up with cryptocurrencies whenever you need to use it. Why should you get excited about this? Firstly, Foxconn has the expertise in creating products for the mainstream market. If they pull this off, cryptocurrencies would be a household necessity rather than just something that is currently largely used for investment. We are rapidly moving towards a whole world on blockchain.
What can I spend my cryptocurrencies for currently?
There are various sites online that already accept cryptocurrencies. For a day to day use one of the easiest options to spend your cryptocurrencies in the current world is probably a crypto debit card. There are so many out there and you can use it in any shop just like a normal debit card. For example TenX, they raised $80 million through their ICO sale. They are now distributing crypto cards that promise to work with any cryptocurrency, automatically choosing the best asset. Works just like a normal debit card. Because this scene is pretty hot right now, there’s a wide selection to choose from, some new and some more established bitcoin cards that have been operating for a few years now, for example Xapo.
Regarding more mainstream merchants with whom you can spend your bitcoin, there are already quite a few. Let’s see what this crypto giant can get you in the real world.
Shopify offers their merchants a bitcoin payment solution, currently over 1000 shopify stores accept payments in bitcoin.
You can very easily book a holiday with Expedia using only bitcoin. Bare in mind though that this isn’t an option for booking plane tickets as anonymity in that field is a bit of an issue
Richard Branson is a big fan of bitcoin, so to him it seems natural that you can pay for space travel with Virgin in bitcoins. This also includes companies Virgin Mobile and Virgin Airline.
/blockquotes “Bitcoin, the virtual currency, has really captured the imagination recently as one of the world’s most innovative businesses looking to the future. So we think it is about time Virgin Galactic customers can choose to pay with bitcoins.”
You can use bitcoin to purchase games, movies, and apps in the Windows and Xbox stores. However not for purchasing goods from the Microsoft online store.
University of Nicosia
You can pay for your education in the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. After Cyprus went through an economic crash in 2012-2013 the country very quickly warmed to bitcoin. After the government decided to halt withdrawals of larger amounts of sums from people’s bank accounts and proposed a fee on deposits, people quickly moved to bitcoin. The University of Nicosia was the first one to offer a Master of Science Degree in Digital Currency.
You can get gift cards at a nice discount when selling your bitcoins for them on Paxful. The most popular ones are iTunes, Amazon and Visa Vanilla gift cards. But you can also sell your bitcoin for a booking.com gift card for nearly 50% mark up.
This is just a modest list, as bitcoin and other cryptos are rapidly going mainstream, the thought of everyone transacting in bitcoin instead of converting it back to fiat currencies does not seem like Utopia any longer. Africa is already figuring out how to fix their financial issues through bitcoin, the rest of the world is unsure about the banks. Things are looking great for bitcoin.
Should everyone be using cryptocurrencies?
Absolutely! The current financial solutions are lacking. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies will make banking more efficient, safer and more cost effective. You can actually pretty much live sustainably just using cryptocurrencies now. As the price of bitcoin and other altcoins keeps rising, more merchants start accepting cryptocurrencies as well.
At a time when things in the crypto and blockchain-tech space are moving at the speed of light, we must recognize that mining is what makes this whole system work. Thank you all for that. Blockchain is the future and we will soon see a better, more trustworthy and a more efficient world thanks to it.
How do you normally spend your mined crypto? Do you hold as an investment or use it as an income that you spend on a daily basis? We at MinerGate would love to know what your favourite day to day uses for crypto are. Let us know in the comments.