And why we should expect more businesses to follow suit.
A common realization among crypto-enthusiasts when they acquire their first coins or tokens typically slides on a scale of, “Well great, now what will I do with it?” So, this hypothetical enthusiast then progresses up the ladder of online articles to find out ways to exchange these tokens for a fiat currency.
By using a cryptocurrency exchange, or series of exchanges, one can figure out a reasonably simple way to turn one token into another, and that some tokens have higher liquidity than others. If the goal is to make a transaction that will have some affect in the real world, then liquidity is key. The most liquid option available is Bitcoin because it has the largest market capitalization, at approximately 44% as of March 2018, and it is the most ubiquitous when reading about cryptocurrencies in a general sense. It’s also the oldest cryptocurrency therefore the amount of reading materials online with “How To” guides is the most abundant.
It may feel somewhat anticlimactic when one realizes the best way to make purchases is to convert the digital tokens back into a fiat money. However, due to the seemingly exorbitant fees imposed by exchanges or the low prices, which is not a good thing when you’re selling, issued by personal trades, it often seems not valuable for crypto-holders to muddy around with this sort of thing for smaller sorts of transactions. Luckily, there are some big brands and companies that have, over the last several years, taken steps in embracing digital currencies. Hopefully this can mark a trend that will increase over time that allow us to spend our tokens more freely on the goods and services we require.
Please note that we are not affiliated in any way, shape or form with the following companies and we compiled this list to provide readers some insight on where they can spend their tokens outside the blockchain space. Any enthusiasm in describing the companies in the list below is intended to be directed at their acceptance of Bitcoin as a valid payment processing method.
Expedia: While only for hotels, Expedia announced on July 11th, 2014 that it started to accept bitcoins through the use of the exchange-giant Coinbase. So now, crypto-travelers can check at least one of their major expenses off their list at the comfort of their computers.
CheapAir: If the news by Expedia to only allow for hotels was disappointing, in November 2013 CheapAir announced that it will accept Bitcoins for flight tickets. In February 2014, they announced that they accept hotels and today they also accept car rentals and paying for gas through the use of gift cards with your hard-earned Bitcoins. Not to mention, for the companies on the fence thinking whether or not to accept Bitcoin, according to PRNewswire, CheapAir has seen large annual growth of approximately 74% per year since allowing for this payment method.
Intuit: The company that brought us Quickbooks, Turbotax, and Mint (since their acquisition in 2009) allows for all our financial needs to be met more easily than ever through their acceptance of Bitcoin as a payment method. They have been doing this since mid-2014, but now they allow small business owners to use Bitcoin as their own accepted form of payment. This diversification of online payment processing methods opens new doors for businesses of all types to make the lives of their customers easier.
eGifter: Announced in June of 2014, the gift card powerhouse eGifter accepts Bitcoins for hundreds of our favorite shopping destinations. This provides a nice shortcut for using electronic gift cards for purchases made at places like Amazon, Best Buy, iTunes and Uber with Bitcoins. While we may be a long way off from expecting all these outlets to accept our tokens directly, this method proves tried and true as a consistent way to enjoy the fruits of our online endeavors much more conveniently.
Dish: Also, in 2014, the satellite television giant in the USA announced that it will accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. This eases the burden for a lot of people since very few of our other monthly utilities can be paid for using this method.
Newegg: While there were some rumors on the web that said Newegg ceased their Bitcoin payment acceptance, it’s simply not true. One can fulfill all their electronics needs and buy computer gadgets and upgrades on this premium supply outlet with ease by using their Bitcoins; just be sure to read their terms and conditions, and it works like a charm.
Express VPN: For many people who send and receive tokens or other sensitive data on the internet, a VPN is crucial. It encrypts your connection and the data that flows across it letting users sleep a bit easier. ExpressVPN also boasts some of the highest reviews in speed, reliability, and use on-the-go. Along with their principle for not logging data, this company seems like the ideal use for cryptocurrency users, which is great because we can pay for it completely anonymously too.
While this article focused on the ways of spending Bitcoins, other cryptocurrencies will be making their way into the payment processing space soon enough. Now this might be disheartening for some where a few companies that used to accept Bitcoin, like Tiger Direct, Stripe and Steam no longer do. It’s important to understand that not all business structures can directly implement mechanisms to tolerate its volatility and transaction rates so the measures to discontinue their acceptance were taken to make sure customers had the best support with respect to the companies’ abilities. Remember that these unfortunate cases are simply bugs, not features of the blockchain, and as distributed ledger systems continue to enhance their capabilities, these bugs will be worked out and more products and services will be able to be incorporated seamlessly into the crypto-marketplace.
For those who just simply must use Bitcoins or altcoins for their purchases, there are an increasing number of intermediary purchasing companies that will complete purchases and provide drop-shipping on the customer’s behalf. Be sure to check their ratings, reviews and fee structures before getting in too deep as to ward off potential scams or companies that charge ridiculous fees. While it may not be a perfect solution, this and the options listed above show us that it is quite possible for our daily lives to be integrated with the blockchain and the cryptocurrencies that ensue.