In the beginning, there was pizza. Nowadays, you can spend your Bitcoin on much more than pizza, in a wide variety of places, both online and offline. And while there are more comprehensive lists available, we hope this will highlight the diversity of options available.
Tipping & Charity
Perhaps the easiest, most rewarding way to spend your bitcoins is by paying it forward. Use bitcoin to tip article and blog post authors with the click of a button, or donate to any number of worthy causes including the Wikimedia Foundation. You can also buy Reddit Gold with Bitcoin, and give it out as gratitude for the user who posts your favourite cat pictures!
Common Household Items
With over a million products for sale, all available in bitcoin, Overstock.com has you covered.
While we wait for stores like Amazon and BestBuy to accept bitcoin directly, some enterprising folks have found a workaround. Use bitcoin to purchase gift cards from services like eGifter, or Gyft and then redeem them at Amazon, BestBuy, and hundreds of other popular retailers.
Companies like Microsoft, and Green Man Gaming have recently started offering games and other apps for bitcoin. Others like this Minecraft server are actually using the bitcoin network to power their in-game currency!
You can pay for a hotel with Expedia, book a flight with CheapAir, or take a cruise with Ships & Trips Travel. Car dealerships are also getting into the swing of things, and while paying for fuel directly with Bitcoin hasn’t happened yet, there are machines in the works! Not to be outdone, if you’ve got that kind of Bitcoin, Virgin Galactic will take you to Space. And that about covers it! Ok, it doesn’t really, as this is just the tip of the iceberg, and more and more businesses are accepting Bitcoin every day. Find out how easy it can be for your business to accept Bitcoin here.
How do I spend Bitcoin?
In some ways, paying with Bitcoin is similar to sending an email, except that instead of sending a message to an email address, you’re sending an amount of money to a bitcoin address.
One of the nice things about paying with Bitcoin is that you don’t need to give up as much personal information. You only need to give your name and address if you’re purchasing physical goods. If it’s a digital item, then your email will usually suffice, and if you’re making a donation, you may not need to provide any information at all.
After you provide the required information, rather than asking for a credit card number, the website will display the Bitcoin payment information which will consist of at least one of the following:
- A link to “Sign in to Coinbase”
- A QR Code
- A Bitcoin address
At this stage, the process may differ slightly depending on the type of bitcoin wallet you’re using.
Pay with your Coinbase Wallet
If the merchant you’re paying is using Coinbase to accept bitcoin payments and you also have a funded Coinbase account, you can complete the checkout by simply signing in to your Coinbase account and confirming the order. Once you confirm the order, the process is finished and the merchant will be notified of your payment.
Pay via QR code
Most bitcoin payment processors will also provide a QR code at the checkout, which represents a bitcoin address and payment amount.
QR codes make it easy to pay from a Bitcoin wallet app on your smartphone (including the Coinbase app for Android or iOS). Simply scan the QR code and it will pre-fill the recipient bitcoin address and the requested payment amount. Once you send the transaction, the payment is complete.
This is a good option If you don’t have a Coinbase account or wish to pay from a different bitcoin wallet.
Pay to a Bitcoin address
If you can’t scan QR codes or the merchant only provides a Bitcoin address, you can also manually enter this as the recipient of a transaction in your bitcoin wallet software.
To pay to a Bitcoin address, you’ll need to provide two pieces of information to your Bitcoin wallet:
- The recipient’s Bitcoin address
- The amount of bitcoin to send
Both of these will be displayed on the payment page during checkout, although some will leave the amount up to you in the case of donations or other more flexible payment models.
With the address and amount, simply enter them into the “send” form of your wallet and submit the transactions.
If the merchant is using Coinbase, shortly after you send the payment, the checkout page will update to indicate that the funds have been received, and the purchase will be marked as complete. Note that for other payment processors or direct payments without a processor, the process may be slightly different.