In mid-2018, we can say that many have switched from thinking about bitcoin as a currency to judging it as a commodity. With prices that far exceed anything particularly practical for daily expenses, relatively limited opportunity for spending, and plenty of potential for investors, the cryptocurrency just makes more sense these days as an asset than as a form of money. And yet, some still insist that bitcoin’s future is as a functional and widely used online currency. Even in a rough year some are predicting a surge, and with it some sustained value that could conceivably lead to wider adaptation.
Only time will tell if this is indeed the path forward for bitcoin. In the meantime however, here’s a look at five current opportunities to use bitcoin as currency online.
Overstock is the online retailer that gets the most attention for accepting bitcoin, and with good reason. It’s quite possibly the most recognizable name of any merchant online or otherwise to deal in cryptocurrency, and it also affords users one of the best chances to buy a wide variety of goods with bitcoin. Those who have bitcoin and want to use it practically, the same way they might apply PayPal at various platforms, or use a gift card or credit card information at Amazon, can best do so via Overstock.
Newegg isn’t quite as big a name as Overstock, but it’s a valuable bitcoin merchant for the same reason. The company had actually briefly paused cryptocurrency work, but reopened bitcoin payments earlier this year and is now accepting them again. Where Overstock is a nice one-stop spot for completely miscellaneous goods, Newegg is an electronic-exclusive online store. You can get many of the modern tech products you might need, and do it all with cryptocurrency.
In a way, Gyft may actually be the most useful of all the bitcoin spending opportunities online, because it’s not a store so much as a digital rack of gift cards. Stores ranging from Walmart to Starbucks to Nike operate on Gyft, meaning you can buy gift cards to any one of them. And what that means with bitcoin is that you can effectively transform a given value of cryptocurrency into the matching dollar amount to put toward any one of these stores. In an indirect way, Gyft (and the similar platform eGifter) makes bitcoin useful for a range of very popular stores like the ones just mentioned.
4. Casinos & Sportsbooks
We won’t point to a specific company here, but the casino and betting industry online is starting to embrace bitcoin fairly noticeably. On the casino front there’s a combination of new and old sites allowing bitcoin deposits. Where sportsbooks are concerned adoption isn’t as sweeping yet. But variety between sites is important, such that there are resources devoted to providing readers with the best possible value in choosing a site – and a lot of that comes down to financial factors. A few betting sites do accept bitcoin and if people like this it’s going to catch on with more as the competing platforms look to keep up with one another.
5. Travel Planning & Booking
This has become a little bit of a grey area for bitcoin spending, but it certainly hasn’t gone away. Not so long ago, Expedia – one of the biggest travel booking platforms in existence – was listed among the major online merchants agreeable to bitcoin transactions. Now, Expedia has backed out but there are many smaller travel planning and booking sites that are still operating with cryptocurrency. In short, if you really care to, you can probably book a vacation using cryptocurrency.