We have been asked a lot of questions by non crypto users about Bitcoin and what you can do with it. Some people we spoke to referred to it as “useless fictitious monopoly money”. When we asked how some of these people came to that conclusion or where they got the evidence to back up their claims they are usually silent.
In the rare occasions where we did get a response it is usually along the lines of citing biased sources, like bank officials ( yes trusting a bank is the really smart) or other self proclaimed “experts” in the financial sector ( who fail to grasp the elementary workings of Bitcoin).
Most of this so-called evidence they put forth is can be boiled down to this: “You can’t buy anything with Bitcoin because Bitcoin isn’t a currency…. it is a ponzi”. In a previous article we explained why bitcoin isn’t a ponzi scheme but is in fact real money, just like dollars, euros or pounds. So blowing out one of these general misconceptions quite easily, let us look at the rest of their flawed conclusions; “you can’t buy anything with Bitcoin because its not real money/currency”.
The fact is that you can buy a lot of things with Bitcoin. This can be done directly: where you buy goods/products/services with Bitcoin. Another option to buy things with Bitcoin is indirectly. This means you need to jump through a little more hoops.
Buying Directly with Bitcoin.
As this subtitle suggests, we will discuss places where you can buy goods/products/services with Bitcoin directly from a shop. There are a wide variety of shops that already support these kinds of transactions. Most of these shops see Bitcoin as a viable payment alternative. A good friend of us described Bitcoin as “the new gold of the the 21st century”. However we will be saving that for later.
We can’t list every single shop in this article because every day the businesses that accepting Bitcoin as an alternative payment method are growing steadily. Nevertheless we will give some examples of shops that accepts Bitcoin for their services/products. if you aren’t mentioned in here, feel free to drop us a line.
The first group are the “small businesses”. Like stated in other articles we’ve written, Bitcoin can be a stabilizing factor for small businesses because it creates an income diversification.You have restaurants along the Bitcoin boulevards or Bitcoin cities in Europe for example. You can pay your bill with either euros or with Bitcoin. Even if you have a business lunch/dinner, you can ask to pay in Bitcoin but still get your receipt in euros.
If we move to the recreation sector there are a couple of businesses that are accepting Bitcoin. For example: there are cycling shops that offer their services and products in exchange for Bitcoin. The great guys over at Cyclenation in the Netherlands are one of those businesses that do that. If we move over to Belgium there is a gaming shop called GameSwap that accepts Bitcoin for their games and products.
If you like collecting knives or are a hunter looking for some knives, you can use knives4bitcoin. here you can buy all kinds of knives for Bitcoin at reasonable prices. We probably get some grief about this because: “ these are weapons” and “this shows that Bitcoin is evil and illegal blah”. Well let me point out that you can buy knives from basically everywhere. From supermarkets to local shops to even a farmers market; all of them can be used to cut up vegetables, gut fish or.., you know, stab some annoying internet trolls. That last one is just hypothetical though.
You can even order special tea from the Tealet website. We will do an article about them, and they are cutting out the big corporate businesses out of the loop so more profit can flow directly to the tea growers and farmers. Basically it is a farmers market for tea, which is a very nice initiative especially in these economic hard times.
The second group can be labelled as “big businesses” that are incorporating Bitcoin in their business model. For example Overstock and others. However one might also lob media in this ever expanding group. The Chicago Sun-Times for example and others are already accepting Bitcoin payments. You can also book your holiday using Bitcoin in some countries because certain hotels, vacation homes and even camping places are accepting Bitcoin.
To conclude this section, we can state that there are a lot of businesses that are accepting Bitcoin as a viable alternative payment method.
Indirect payment options with Bitcoin.
What we mean by “indirect payment options with Bitcoin” is that you can’t buy directly at a website or shop with Bitcoin. In order to buy things with Bitcoin you need to execute one or more steps.
First there are the gift cards, which you can buy with Bitcoin or fiat money. Some of these sites, like Gyft, offer great opportunities for buying gift cards. You can get gift cards for Amazon.com, Home Depot, BestBuy, Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, etc. Of course most of those things are for our American readers.
In Europe we have Pock.io that provides, more or less, the same service. You can buy gift cards for Steam ( uk account) or for Amazon ( uk site) or even get a Marks & Spencer gift card. For those who have never been to the UK or haven’t entered a Marks and Spencer shop, though they are quite numerous, it is a kind of grocery/supermarket shop where you can buy food, drink and other great things to eat.
Of course if you want to buy something on Amazon.de or Amazon.it you are not going to find gift cards on Pock.io. You can either search in the community for people to buy you a gift card and you pay them with Bitcoin, though there are risks involved, or you can choose to use all4btc.com.
All4btc is an easy to use site where you can buy at amazon or other sites. How does that work you ask? Well just copy the link, for example that new vacuum cleaner you always wanted, make sure that everything is filled out correctly (address, country, amount in fiat and shipping costs if any). After you pay with Bitcoin, your item will be shipped to you. It works for nearly every site, like amazon or ebay, but if you want to use it for other sites, you should contact them first to make sure.
If there are a lot of people recognising and using a certain form of payment system, be it coins or shells in real life, nearly every economic professor labels that as a currency. With the ever growing digitalisation of our lives in the 21st century, we can say that digital currencies are just that; currencies. One of my professors named Bitcoin more aptly a “digital world currency”, since it is used all over the world and is present in nearly every country.
So yes, people can use Bitcoin for the exact same things as normal currency. You can buy and sell things using Bitcoin and even do illegal activities with Bitcoin as one can with fiat. the big difference with Bitcoin and fiat is that it is open and fully traceable, even though it is pseudo anonymous. This means that people skimming or fraudulent practices can be traced back to addresses and the culprits can be brought to justice. It will be a lot of work but there are already start-ups that are working on search engines for the blockchain. Maybe that is why certain people are afraid of Bitcoin and what it represents.
Whatever the case may be, people can do the exact same thing with Bitcoin as they can with fiat currency. Can you buy food with Bitcoin? Yes. Can you buy other local products with Bitcoin? Yes. Can you buy illegal items( drugs, guns, fund terrorists,etc) with Bitcoin? Yes but you can also do that with other fiat currencies and even with gold or diamonds. However it isn’t wise to use Bitcoin for illegal transactions since Bitcoins can be tracked through the Blockchain.