After an initial flurry of interest among merchants in accepting bitcoin in their retail or online stores, interest has largely died down as increasing bitcoin transaction fees and volatile price movements made it less attractive as a means of exchange. So what can you buy with bitcoin right now?
That doesn’t mean that there are no outlets to spend your bitcoin, however, far from it. It’s just that bitcoin volumes at these outlets has generally not met expectations, and by the time you read this, some may have discontinued that option.
At time of writing, however, you can still buy a wide range of goods and services with the cryptocurrency. Among the advantages of doing so are the ease of cross-border transactions, and anonymity (unless you want physical delivery, of course). By accepting bitcoin, merchants get access to a broader market, and don’t have to worry so much about chargebacks (where the buyers cancels the payment after receiving the product).
You can pay for flights and hotels with bitcoin, through Expedia, CheapAir and Surf Air. If your ambitions are loftier, you can pay for space travel with some of your vast holdings, through Virgin Galactic.
Microsoft accepts bitcoin in its app stores, where you can download movies, games and app-based services.
Some musicians (Bjork, Imogen Heep) will let you download their music in exchange for cryptocurrency.
Need to furnish your house or buy a special present for someone? Overstock was one of the first big retailers to start accepting bitcoin, back in 2014, and its founder – Patrick Byrne – is still one of the technology’s most active proponents.
Fancy some gold? Sharps Pixley, APMEX and JM Bullion will take bitcoin off your hands in exchange for bullion.
And if you’re hungry and live in the US, PizzaforCoins will get a pizza delivered to your door (depending on where you live) in exchange for bitcoin.
If it’s knowledge you’re hungry for, several private and public universities as well as a couple of New York preschools accept bitcoin.
Some legal and accounting firms also accept payment for their services in the cryptocurrency.
Of course, you could always buy yourself some happiness by donating to one of the bitcoin-accepting charities or crowdfunding sites, such as BitHope, BitGive or Fidelity Charitable.
For a list of offline stores near you that accept bitcoin, check an aggregator such as SpendBitcoins or CoinMap.
(Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.)