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How Do You Spend Bitcoin?
We have all heard of Bitcoin, and most of us know that it's a form of non-physical money, a digital currency, so to say. Despite that, people usually opt to invest in it or trade it, treating bitcoins as assets, similar to what we do with stocks. Many investors disregard the fact that Bitcoin is a payment method and that you can use your bitcoins as you would real money and cash to buy goods or services with it.
So, how and where do you spend the king of cryptocurrency? What are some of the top products and services you can buy with bitcoins? These are just some of the questions you likely have at the moment, and this comprehensive guide aims to answer all of them and give you the information you need so you can start spending your bitcoins appropriately.
Best Products and Services to Spend Bitcoin on in 2022
If you already know what Bitcoin is, you are probably aware that it's the most prominent cryptocurrency on the planet. That's why it stands to reason that the businesses that work with crypto will almost always accept BTC, even though there are thousands of other coins and tokens.
The good news is that more and more companies are entering this sphere. In other words, the number of businesses that accept BTC and the number of products and services you can buy with bitcoins keeps rising every day.
This is not at the level of e-wallets like PayPal and certainly not comparable to credit cards, but it's a start. In industries like iGaming, Bitcoin is often the preferred payment method, as many of the biggest online casinos accept bitcoins.
Gambling is often one of the best options for spending bitcoin because Bitcoin is volatile, so your winnings can effectively become bigger if its price rises. Plus, payments are much easier, cheaper, and faster with bitcoins than with fiat currency.
Besides gambling, some of the best items and services you can buy with bitcoin include:
- Jewelry and watches
- Cards and car-related services
- Food and beverages in specific shops
- E-commerce products
- Clothing, but primarily online
- Hardware and software
- Flights and hotel stays
- Event tickets
- Hosting, cloud services, and VPNs
- Video games
Bitcoin Debit Cards: The Best Way to Make a Bitcoin Payment
As you're probably guessing, you can buy things just by paying for them with bitcoins through your wallet. However, another option is better suited for making purchases using Bitcoin debit cards.
The so-called Bitcoin debit card is much like a regular prepaid card. This means that you get to top it up with bitcoins instead of cash and use it to make payments as usual.
Now, the point of this is not to add an unnecessary step to every crypto transaction but to get the chance to make payments even in places that don't accept Bitcoin. If the thing you're buying is in US dollars, you'll simply make the payment and be deducted the price of the item in BTC while the business receives fiat currency.
As this lets you make purchases in places that only accept cash or cards, you'll effectively get the opportunity to buy anything with bitcoins.
Some of the best Bitcoin debit cards you can use are:
- Coinbase card: Visa card with a 2.49% crypto liquidation fee
- BlockCard: Low-fee card for US users with a $5 flat monthly fee and no deposit, withdrawal, or exchange fees
- Crypto.com card: Zero subscription fee Visa card that supports 90 different cryptocurrencies
- BitPay card: Mastercard with a 3% foreign transaction fee and global reach
- Wirex card: Fiat/crypto card with lots of perks and rewards for EU users
You can rely on these cards in USA online casinos that accept credit and debit cards, as long as the casino supports the Bitcoin debit card you're using. For instance, if it's a Visa or Mastercard, you'll likely get the chance to use it since they are accepted in countless online casinos.
Spend Bitcoin Online
Bitcoin transactions and cryptocurrencies are online phenomena, so it is plausible that the primary way customers use them is on the internet. Businesses and individuals are increasingly adopting BTC online, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that many major brands already accept Bitcoin as a payment method.
For example, some notable names include Microsoft (Xbox), Namecheap, Newegg, Overstock, and e-commerce businesses like Shopify and Etsy. You don't get to use BTC directly but via third parties at these brands. Even PayPal has started offering the ability to sell, buy, and hold BTC in your account. If you want to explore more options, you can use Spendabit, an online search engine that lets you search for online shops and retailers that allow BTC payments.
However, it likely won't list online casinos or gambling sites for playing Bitcoin poker and other exciting casino games with bitcoins instead of fiat currency.
Spend Bitcoin Offline
Even though it's not as widespread as in the online world, you can also spend your bitcoins in the offline, physical world.
This is most notably the case in select countries like the US and Canada, and it's typically an option in retailing locations, restaurants, and hotels. In addition, some notable companies now offer Bitcoin payments, including GameStop, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, and Home Depot. But as expected, this only works in select locations, not all of the shops these companies own.
It's worth mentioning that El Salvador is the first country to make Bitcoin a legal tender, so you can effectively make BTC payments across the country for almost anything, as it's a requirement for merchants to allow Bitcoin as a payment option.
Top Brands Accepting Bitcoin Payments
At the moment, many businesses, especially larger ones, accept Bitcoin payments. Here, we list some of the top brands you should know about but bear in mind that more and more names will join the fold as time passes.
However, please also remember that these businesses don't necessarily accept BTC in every one of their establishments, while some only accept it online.
Here's the list:
- AMC Theatres
- AXA Insurance
- Pavilion Hotels & Resorts
- Virgin Galactic
- Whole Foods
- Burger King
- Coca Cola
- Dish Network
- Home Depot
How to Pay With Bitcoin in 3 Easy Steps
It might sound complicated to some beginners, but buying with BTC is actually a pretty straightforward process:
- Get a Bitcoin wallet: The first step is to choose a BTC wallet where you'll store your bitcoins. It's also a requirement if you want to pay with BTC and not use a Bitcoin debit card. We'll list a few good options in the next section.
- Buy/transfer BTC: If you already have BTC, you need to move it to your new wallet. If you don't, you should use a good exchange (Coinbase, eToro, Binance, Kraken, and others), purchase it, and transfer it to the wallet. Here's how to buy bitcoin if you don't own any yet.
- Make the payment: This step is relatively simple. You only need to copy the merchant's BTC address and input it into your wallet, or you can scan their QR code. You'll need to ensure you're paying the correct amount, as BTC payments are irreversible. Once you make the payment, the funds should go through in a few seconds or a couple of minutes.
Store, Invest, and Spend Bitcoin
Storing, investing, and spending BTC is possible thanks to crypto wallets. If you're a user of crypto or familiar with the market, you know that cryptocurrency wallets are digital wallets that let you store various cryptocurrencies.
Once you buy BTC, it's always best to transfer it to your crypto wallet, as this will allow you to invest it somewhere else, keep it long-term, or spend it on goods and services. A wallet is also necessary to make deposits and withdrawals in casinos that accept Bitcoin.
Any Bitcoin purchase is easy if you have a wallet, as most wallets operate from various devices, most notably desktops and mobile phones. If you use the app on the phone, you'll have an easy time simply scanning the QR code in the place or site where you're making the purchase. Then, all you need to do is confirm the payment to complete it.
There are many types of wallets to consider, including desktop, web-based, mobile, and cold storage wallets. As for specific products, some of the top choices include:
- Coinbase Wallet — Great for beginners
- Electrum — Perfect for advanced BTC users
- Ledger Nano X — The best offline wallet
- Binance — Great for overall use
- Crypto.com — Perfect for mobile users
Bitcoin Taxes: Are Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies Taxed?
There's no easy way to answer this question. Besides the fact that some countries have Bitcoin taxes, some don't have specific laws, but they still charge taxes.
So, it depends on your country of residence. For instance, Bitcoin is treated as an asset in the US, like stocks and bonds. This means that you have to pay capital gains tax and worry about how long you've kept your bitcoins, as there are short-term and long-term capital gains tax rates. The first rates are between 10% and 37%, and the latter are 0%, 15%, or 20%.
Many other countries also treat Bitcoin as an asset, but they all have their own systems with different tax rates. This includes Canada, the UK, Australia, and others.
European countries rely on different systems. For instance, Italy treats bitcoins as foreign currency, so exchanging crypto is subject to a flat 26% tax. Germany sees crypto as private money, so you won't have to pay taxes if you keep your bitcoins for longer than a year. The Netherlands has an interesting system where it imposes a wealth tax.
India recently decided to tax digital assets, including crypto, at 30%.
Other countries have opted not to charge taxes on crypto or make the taxation system incredibly painless for crypto owners. This includes El Salvador, where BTC is one of the two official currencies, so there are no taxes. Then there's Switzerland, Singapore, Portugal, Malaysia, Belarus, the Cayman Islands, and others. All of these offer very relaxed taxation.
However, there are also countries where crypto is illegal, like China, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Algeria, and others.
Most countries that charge taxes on crypto usually tax you when you're exchanging crypto, not when you're using it to buy something. They also sometimes have different rules for people who mine Bitcoin.
It's essential to check the laws of your country before you start buying and spending bitcoins. You can even consult a financial expert to ensure you're paying the proper taxes in the right amounts.
Why Some Experts Say You Shouldn’t Buy Things With Crypto
In short, the problem is price volatility. It doesn't make sense to purchase something with a currency whose price might soar or drop significantly only a day later.
Therefore, people prefer to buy BTC and profit from its value by selling it when the price rises. Indeed, the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, intended it to be used as a currency, but the constant price fluctuations make this decision either complicated or unwise.
Naturally, this doesn't mean you shouldn't use BTC as a payment method. If you want to get rid of your bitcoins and look to buy something, it's up to you to use your assets as you see fit.
Also, Bitcoin is often quite valuable on online gambling sites and in crypto casinos, as the price fluctuations can increase the value of your winnings, but the opposite can also happen.
Future of Bitcoin as a Payment Method
It's hard to tell what will happen with Bitcoin. Many believe that it is here to stay, and the years it's been with us, all the while increasing in value in the long run, are often proof of that.
However, this is primarily true when viewing Bitcoin as an asset, not a payment method. If we look at it as the latter, the future is much less clear.
The final number of bitcoins is capped, so many expect its price to reach millions eventually. With all of that, using it as currency might become impossible. And, of course, it can always tank, leaving it unusable.
So, it's fairly unlikely for Bitcoin to become a more widespread payment method. But we can't say the same for crypto in general. Many believe that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are the future, so it could be prudent to keep your digital assets close and not spend them on digital or physical goods. However, every individual's situation is unique. We advise our readers to do their research and consult a financial expert before deciding to buy or invest in Bitcoin or any other crypto asset.
Is it hard to spend bitcoins?
It depends on what you want to buy and where you want to spend the coins. For instance, if you’re going to gamble and play the best Bitcoin slots, you won't have a problem spending bitcoins, but it won't be as easy to find a supermarket or a clothing store that accepts BTC. This is because Bitcoin is primarily treated as an asset, one you can invest in to earn real money, not spend it as currency. On top of that, Bitcoin's price is highly volatile, which prevents it from becoming a prevalent payment method.
Do local stores and retailers accept Bitcoin payments?
Making payments in bitcoins in physical stores is still not as common as in the online world. However, some stores and retailers do accept bitcoin in certain locations. You can use sites like BitcoinWide.com and Coinmap.org that list businesses, organizations, and even individuals who accept BTC or other cryptocurrencies.
How do I pay for something with bitcoin?
If a merchant accepts BTC payments, you likely only need to copy their Bitcoin address and input it into the appropriate field within your wallet app or scan the QR code to transfer the necessary funds. Alternatively, you can use a Bitcoin debit card and pay as you would with any other card, as long as your card is accepted.
Where can I spend bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies legally?
This depends on where you're from and what you want to buy with your bitcoin. If bitcoin in your country is legal, then you can spend it anywhere you want to, as long as that place accepts bitcoins.
Should I trade or spend my bitcoins?
It's up to you to decide what you want to do with your bitcoins. First, consider what you want to achieve with your digital funds, and then proceed accordingly.
Are Bitcoin and crypto getting mainstream?
They are, albeit very slowly. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies used to be considered fringe, but their status and usage have improved over the years. This was mainly due to the surge in price in 2017 and then in 2021, the reputability of online exchanges like Coinbase, and increasingly favorable regulatory status across the world. In time, crypto will likely become mainstream, but your guess is as good as ours as to when that will happen.
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