Cryptocurrency adoption has come a long way from the launch of the Bitcoin blockchain in 2009.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are no longer obscure digital currencies traded amongst a small niche group of crypto-enthusiasts but now represent a multi-billion dollar global industry.
The accelerating cryptocurrency economy has firmly established Bitcoin and other cryptos as far more than a store of value or a speculative investment vehicle — it’s now possible to exchange cryptocurrencies for goods and services from thousands of different companies and retailers around the world.
Using cryptocurrency to pay for goods and services is, thankfully, far cheaper — it’s now possible to score great deals on electronics, flights, accommodation, and web hosting services using crypto.
Where can you spend your Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in 2019, though?
Many major companies now accept cryptocurrency as a payment method, allowing cryptocurrency holders to pay for a variety of online services or products on major eCommerce platforms.
International tech giant allows users to load Microsoft account credits with Bitcoin via a simple, easy to user interface.
After logging into their account, Microsoft account owners can redeem Bitcoin through their payment method management settings, loading their account with Bitcoin through a simple QR code.
Bitcoin can be used to purchase products in the Microsoft store, including apps, services, subscriptions, and games.
Overstock was one of the first major online retailers to accept Bitcoin as a payment method, launching Bitcoin as a payment method alongside card and PayPal payments in 2014.
Overstock makes it possible to purchase a diverse range of digital cameras, laptops, desktop computers, graphics cards, homewares, men’s clothing, and tools with Bitcoin.
Namecheap is one of the largest hosting and domain registration platforms online and has accepted Bitcoin as a payment method since 2013.
Namecheap makes it possible to buy website domains, hosting, managed WordPress sites, apps, and security certificates and features using cryptocurrency.
NewEgg, like Overstock, is an online retailer that offers computer systems and components, games, networking products, apparel and accessories, and automotive products.
NewEgg launched Bitcoin payment options in 2014 and now makes it possible for users across more than 75 countries to purchase electronics with Bitcoin.
Amazon — the largest online retailer in the world — doesn’t accept Bitcoin directly, but the BitPay platform makes it possible to buy Amazon gift cards and a wide range of other services with cryptocurrency.
BitPay is an online Bitcoin payment system that, in addition to making it possible for businesses to accept Bitcoin as a payment method, also offers gift card purchases.
Using BitPay, it’s possible to order products from Amazon, buy hardware wallets from Ledger, book flights or accommodation, or even book private jets.
The travel industry was one of the first verticals to begin accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method, with major booking platform Expedia accepting Bitcoin from 2014 — but quietly removing Bitcoin payment support in 2018.
It’s now possible to purchase flights, accommodation, and tours with cryptocurrency via alternative travel platforms, however.
CheapAir first began accepting Bitcoin as a payment method in 2013, acting as one of the first travel platforms to adopt cryptocurrency payments.
Since launching Bitcoin integration, CheapAir has processed over $5 million USD in travel bookings and now plans on adding Ethereum payment support.
CheapAir offers flights, hotels, cars, and tours, all payable via Bitcoin.
Bitcoin.Travel is one of the first purpose-built platforms that offer flights and travel services with Bitcoin as a payment method.
Similarly to CheapAir, Bitcoin.Travel offers flights, hotels, and car rentals, but also offers exclusive discount packages in partnership with other travel services.
Travala is another flight and hotel aggregator that allows users to pay for flights or pay for hotels with Bitcoin.
In addition to accepting Bitcoin, however, Travala also accepts a diverse range of altcoins including Ripple and Binance Coin.
Bitcoin is a powerful cryptocurrency with widespread adoption, but isn’t the easiest crypto to use for retail transactions — relatively slow transaction and confirmation times when compared to faster cryptos mean that Bitcoin transactions can sometimes take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.
There are several platforms that create workarounds to this issue, however, allowing users to load instant payment services with Bitcoin and spend their crypto in-store with no confirmation time delay.
Use Flexa to pay with Bitcoin at Starbucks, Whole Foods, and more. US-based startup Flexa has created a solution to the confirmation delay in Bitcoin transactions by allowing users to load a smartphone app with Bitcoin, which can then be used to pay with crypto at retailers around the world.
Flexa allows users to pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and other altcoins at almost 40,000 different retail locations.
Bitcoin to gift card platforms are an effective method of converting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to credit that can be used in-store almost anywhere.
Platforms such as Gyft allow users to buy gift cards for stores that include CVS pharmacy, Whole Foods, Sears, Papa Johns, Sephora, and more.
In addition to purchasing products and services online with Bitcoin, it’s also possible to pay bills or charge mobile phone credit with Bitcoin through platforms such as Bitrefill.
Using Bitrefill, smartphone owners can purchase mobile refills from service providers around the world.
The Bitcoin and cryptocurrency revolution may still be in the early stages of adoption one decade from launch, but the number of platforms, stores, and providers that accept crypto as a payment method is growing every day.
The very first transaction in which Bitcoin was exchanged for a real-world item was the Bitcoin Pizza — on May 22, 2010, programmer Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two Pizzas via the BitcoinTalk forums from another user for 10,000 BTC. At modern prices, each pizza cost Hanyecz over $500 million USD.