Bitcoin has been around for almost a decade now and is rapidly becoming a recognized payment method worldwide. There are loads of different places that will accept payments in Bitcoin. These range from peer-to-peer markets right through to established retailers. There are even companies that allow you to buy gift cards with cryptocurrency that can then be exchanged for goods at online shops that don’t currently accept Bitcoin. The list of things that one can buy with BTC is getting bigger every day. Not bad for an experiment in decentralization and cryptography that completely opposes the status quo of global finance!
What Pushes Bitcoin forward?
A little more than five years ago, no one would have believed that the obscure new form of money could ever rival traditional currency. It may well be that even the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, wouldn’t have expected Bitcoin could be recognized globally and the Bitcoin price could go through the roof.
Attitudes to cryptocurrency have changed since then, and now Bitcoin is no longer a new kid on the block. It is a sought-after asset that can be well used either as a lucrative investment or a legal means of payment. So, what turned the tables on Bitcoin?
The mainstream media has always been a powerful tool for promoting awareness of new releases and developments. Bitcoin was no exception. Yet another hack, the rise and fall of the market, government ban — any cryptocurrency-related news was largely covered by press. This hype has led to better Bitcoin recognition and acceptance among the public. At present, the cryptocurrency market review or analysis is a must-have headline for any type of the media.
Thought leaders’ support
People tend to follow the key players. When the world’s most respected leaders like Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Richard Branson endorse Bitcoin or the technology behind it and even invest in cryptocurrency, it won’t go unnoticed by general public. This fuels positive sentiment towards the industry and serves as a trigger for buying a couple of coins to further benefit from the price rises or just take a hand in the new technological revolution.
Government regulation is another tool that helps shape public opinion. So far there are only a few nations that oppose Bitcoin vigorously. Most governments are working on the ways to fit cryptocurrencies into the regulatory framework, but not to wipe them off. A striking case in point is Japan. Once the Financial Services Agency recognized cryptocurrency as a legal means of payment for goods and services in 2017, the price of Bitcoin surged and so did the investors’ confidence.
This kind of public and political backing has contributed to wider acceptance of Bitcoin among businesses as well. Below, we’ve listed just some of the many ways that people can spend their cryptocurrency. Let’s take a look.
Bitcoin: Accepted Here
Retailers. There’s a growing list of online retailers that take payments directly in Bitcoin. Loads of different kinds of merchants are opening to the idea of accepting the cryptocurrency. Some of the more prominent examples are the online dating website OKCupid, the gentleman’s lifestyle magazine Playboy, computing behemoth Microsoft, and homeware sellers OverStock.com.
These websites allow their customers to make payments for goods or services directly in cryptocurrency. With the price explosion in 2017, any of them that had started accepting Bitcoin earlier and decided to keep part of the payment in the digital currency were glad of their decision (we’re looking at you OverStock!).
Property markets. With the Bitcoin price going parabolic throughout 2017, there’s a lot of new money around the space. Many of these early investors are young millennials who would otherwise struggle to get on the property ladder. Fortunately for them, there are a growing number of examples of sellers accepting payment for real estate using Bitcoin. There are websites like Bitcoin Real Estate or brokers like Canter Companies that offer high-end property in exchange for BTC.
Cryptocurrency payments for real estate are proving so popular that more agents are starting to specialise in facilitating the process. Andrew Canter of Canter Companies explained:
“We realised there is so much new wealth in the crypto space… There are a lot of new buyers and a lot of people that have seen their wealth fluctuate over the last year.”
Peer-to-Peer Markets. If you love the idea of eBay but wish you could pay directly with crypto, platforms like OpenBazaar are ideal. Users can sell their unwanted items, their home-made goods, various seeds, and collectibles of all kinds on the platform. OpenBazaar doesn’t have nearly as strict a policy on what users can and can’t sell as eBay. You can pretty much use it to shift anything (and therefore buy anything) you like!
Strippers. So, after you’ve bought your mansion via Bitcoin Real Estate, furnished it at OverStock, and failed to find love at OKCupid, what else is there to spend your Bitcoin on?
The first examples of strippers accepting payments in cryptocurrencies were reported earlier this year. The dancers wear QR codes that visitors could scan and tip them directly using their mobile phones. According to reports, the idea proved so popular that cryptocurrency ATMs in Sin City were constantly full! The D Casino houses one such machine. Their owner highlighted their success in Vegas:
“The damn machine was getting full! And it holds $80,000 worth and it’s getting full every couple of days.”
These are just some of the things that highlight a growing acceptance of Bitcoin around the world. However, there are many concerns regarding both Bitcoin’s inherent functionality and regulation that still keep the currency from mainstream adoption. Once the solutions are offered and improvements are made, Bitcoin will be here to stay not only as an investment asset, but as a generally valid method of payment. Hopefully, this time next year the list of Bitcoin-friendly merchants will be even longer too. We’re excited about where it’s heading!