Bitcoin is a lot of things to a lot of people, but fundamentally, the goal is to turn it into a currency. However, using it as a medium of exchange has drifted slightly to the wayside as the market has heated up. That said, though, there are things you can buy with bitcoin — if you know where to look.
A Word of Warning About What You Can Buy with Bitcoin
Remember that the minute you spend a coin, you have, in theory, exposed yourself to tax liability. You need to figure out exactly what your liabilities are before you make a purchase with bitcoin in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions view it the same as gift cards; others may view it as income, and in many cases, it depends on the transaction. For instance, buying stock with bitcoin may raise more red flags than buying a few t-shirts. So do some research before you buy, and know your financial obligations.
Similarly, check to ensure you’re not paying a “bitcoin premium” for goods and services. If you’re stuck paying for the transaction, then it’s not a good use of your investment.
Buying Web Services with Bitcoin
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, digital businesses are the most likely to accept digital currencies. Websites ranging from dating site OkCupid to domain registrars like Namecheap to blogging platforms like WordPress will accept bitcoin for their services. However, bitcoin payments aren’t consistently accepted across all digital businesses, so check first before you assume you can use your coin as currency. Also check to see if there are consistent rates for bitcoin purchases, or if the rates shift with the value of coins.
Buying Gift Cards with Bitcoin
Many online gift card shops will exchange bitcoin for gift cards, which might be the most effective way to spend your bitcoin. Look for shops that sell gift cards you’ll use—the most valuable of which is the Amazon gift card, which you can use for, well, almost anything. That said, you’ll want to check what exchange rates these sites are using, to get the most for your coin; these can vary wildly from site to site.
Buying Pizza with Bitcoin
The internet being what it is, of course, you can buy pizza with bitcoin. In fact, there are several sites dedicated to converting your bitcoin into pizza. Think of them as bitcoin-pizza exchanges. And, of course, it’s hard to argue against a nice warm pizza right when you most need it, although again, check the exchange rate closely, as the bitcoin boost surprised many of these “exchanges.”
Newspapers Accept Bitcoin
Finally, among the more surprising fans of the online revolution are major newspapers, many of which accept bitcoin as a method of paying for subscriptions. Part of this is a function of their payment structure; since their online payment processor accepts bitcoin, you can pay with bitcoin. Again, you should price the costs before you commit, especially since you can get a discount.