How to Buy Almost Anything With Your Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a great cryptocurrency for investment, but it's also a surprisingly useful real-world currency

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At this early stage of blockchain development, most people buying cryptocurrencies are doing it as a speculative investment. But every now and then, it’s nice to use your cryptocurrencies like actual currency.

Plus if you want to cash out anyway, directly spending your coins on something you want can be a lot quicker than the alternative: sending your coins from your wallet to an exchange, waiting for that transaction to complete, selling them for fiat on the exchange, waiting for that transaction to complete, withdrawing them from the exchange, and waiting (sometimes days) for that transaction to complete.

The problem? A lot of shops, both online and off, still don’t accept Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrencies). Here’s how to use Bitcoin to buy from them anyway.

Use a Bitcoin Debit Card

Most of the “Bitcoin Debit Cards” you’ll see advertised are really just prepaid cards, so they’re essentially the same as just cashing out your crypto for fiat and then transferring that fiat into a debit account: you’ll pay your Bitcoin into the card at a predetermined dollar value, and then the card has that amount of dollars regardless of when you spend it and what the price of Bitcoin does in the interim.

There’s one exception to that, though, and that’s the Shift VISA card, which links directly to your Coinbase account and withdraws the relevant amount of Bitcoin whenever you use it to make a purchase. If you’d like to spend Bitcoin occasionally but don’t want to cash out any more than you need in case the price goes up, this is probably your best option.

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Buy Gift Cards with Bitcoin

The easiest way to use crypto to buy from a shop that doesn’t accept crypto is to buy a gift card. There are a variety of sites like eGifter and Gyft that allow you to buy gift cards for tons of different shops with Bitcoin. From department stores like Target to online shops like Amazon to more specialized retailers like Home Depot, Whole Foods, CVS, Starbucks, and literally hundreds more, it’s all there.

Chances are, you can pay for whatever you need with some sort of gift card, and the cards are digital and delivered instantly, so as soon as your Bitcoin payment goes through, you’ll have the gift card code ready to place your order. It’s not quite as simple as paying directly with Bitcoin through sites that support that, but it’s still an awful lot easier than cashing out for fiat.

If you’re in Europe, you can even do this with your altcoins via GiftOff, a gift card sales site that accepts Bitcoin and dozens of popular altcoins including ETH, LTC, DASH, BAT, OMG, and many more.

Buy at Big Discounts from Amazon with Bitcoin

purse.io

If you’re an Amazon shopper, you can save some money by using a site called Purse.io. Because Amazon digital cards are difficult to transfer from person to person, and because there are Amazon shoppers with extra gift card money who’d like to invest in Bitcoin, Purse.io allows you to get a discount on Amazon items by essentially paying a gift card owner in Bitcoin to buy your items for you.

The way it works is pretty simple: you make an Amazon wish list with the item or items you want, and set your preferred discount (10-33%), and then transfer the relevant amount of Bitcoin into Purse.io’s escrow system. Once a buyer willing to accept your discount comes along, they buy your wish list items and have Amazon ship them to you. When delivery is confirmed, your Bitcoin is released from escrow and sent to the buyer.

Obviously, this approach is slower than directly purchasing a gift card, especially if you pick a higher discount rate. But if you want something from Amazon and it’s not super time-sensitive, Purse.io could be a good way to use your Bitcoin to get it at a discount.

Use a Bitcoin Shopping Service

There are a number of other services that operate on a similar principle to Purse.io, although they typically don’t offer any discounts. On All4btc, for example, you can simply enter any online shopping link along with your shipping info and the site will take your Bitcoin and make the purchase themselves with fiat.

Disclaimer: Do Your Homework!

You should always be careful when doing anything with your cryptocurrency, and that includes using any of the services mentioned in this article, or other services like them. Before you fork over any of your BTC, be sure to poke around the web to make sure the service you’re using is safe.