How to Spend Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency can be spent at a number of online retailers and businesses. Certain companies, including Tesla, Microsoft and Twitch, accept crypto payments directly. It’s also possible to use prepaid debit cards which convert cryptocurrency from a wallet or account into the required fiat currency.
How Do You Spend Cryptocurrency?
Simply holding cryptocurrencies long-term isn’t always the most beneficial option. As well as utilising it within various DeFi protocols, cryptocurrency can also be spent outside of the blockchain. But how do you spend cryptocurrency, and where?
Before learning about the companies that accept Bitcoin and other crypto payments, it’s important to learn about how cryptocurrencies can be spent. Due to the blockchain and crypto industry still being in a period of relative infancy, there are very few merchants that will accept crypto payments outright. Instead, crypto often has to be converted to a fiat currency before it can be spent.
Spend Cryptocurrency with Debit Cards
At the time of writing, cryptocurrency debit cards are one of the best options for spending crypto.
Various companies, exchanges and financial institutions are implementing their own cryptocurrency cards. These cards work primarily like prepaid debit cards. A user loads up their chosen cryptocurrency, which is converted into the required fiat currency when making a payment. This option is ideal for online and in-store merchants that don’t accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
Crypto.com‘s Visa Card is arguably the best example of a crypto card, currently. The card is available in a number of tiers (Midnight Blue to Obsidian). The higher the card tier, the better the withdrawal limits and staking rewards. The card is managed via the Crypto.com app, making it incredibly accessible for users. The partnership with Visa also means that this crypto card can be used at any merchant that accept Visa cards.
Coinbase is another exchange that offers a crypto debit card to its users. The Coinbase Card is a Visa debit card funded by a user’s Coinbase balance. Coinbase describes its card as “The easiest, quickest way to spend your crypto worldwide”. Coinbase is also renowned for its security. Users can take advantage of two-step verification, and instant card freezes, alongside the security measures put into place by Visa.
Some of the other crypto debit cards include:
|Bitpay||Accepted anywhere that Mastercard can be used. US customers are not subject to any transaction fees.||No exchange fees are required for US customers|
Supports Apple Pay
No conversion fees for loading the card
|Only supports major cryptocurrencies|
Small withdrawal fee when using an ATM
|Binance||Binance partnered with Swipe to offer a Visa card that requires no issuance or monthly fees. The card can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted.||Excellent cashback options|
Zero monthly fees
Very minor ATM withdrawal fee
|Only available to European customers|
Customers must hold 600 BNB to take advantage of the generous cashback offer
|BlockCard||Accepted by merchants that take Visa payments. Small activation and monthly fee. Cardholders must purchase Ternio tokens (TERN) to use the BlockCard.||Generous cashback rewards|
No transaction or withdrawal fees
Good selection of available cryptocurrencies
|Charges a monthly fee|
Users must buy Ternio tokens to make purchases
KYC verification required
Spend Cryptocurrency on Gift Cards
Purchasing gift cards is one of the most popular ways to spend cryptocurrency. Although not the most streamlined process, this is an excellent option for individuals not willing to sign up for a crypto debit card. Gift cards can be used at merchants that aren’t willing to accept cryptocurrency payments directly, opening up additional options for cryptocurrency holders.
BitPay, Bitrefill and Gyft are just some of the many companies that allow the purchasing of gift cards with cryptocurrencies. These gift cards can then be used on some of the biggest online and offline retailers, including Spotify, DoorDash and Amazon.
Spend Cryptocurrency with Crypto Wallets
Sending a person or business money directly from a crypto wallet is another possibility. This isn’t the most desirable option and does come with some drawbacks. Sending money from a crypto wallet requires knowing the recipient’s wallet address. With this information, money can be sent directly from an exchange or a personal wallet to the desired location. The process is incredibly straightforward and this method is ideal for small transactions.
However, there is a limited amount of security available when spending cryptocurrency in this way. Cryptocurrencies are, in general, incredibly decentralised. This decentralisation is ideal, but it does mean that there is little protection on hand for those sending money. Whereas banks and traditional financial institutions offer a layer of buyer protection, this is not yet in place for those making cryptocurrency transactions directly from a wallet.
Where Can You Spend Cryptocurrency?
As mentioned above, it’s possible to spend cryptocurrencies by converting them back to fiat currency. However, in the future, we can expect to see an increasing number of merchants that will accept crypto payments outright. Already, there are a number of companies and brands that do accept crypto payments. But what can you buy with Bitcoin and where can you spend cryptocurrencies?
Microsoft is a company that accepts Bitcoin payments. In fact, Microsoft was an incredibly early adopter of the currency. In 2014, Microsoft announced that it would accept Bitcoin as a means of purchasing games and apps on the Microsoft Store. Since then, Microsoft has paused this service, before resuming it again.
Streaming platform Twitch utilises BitPay’s crypto processing system to accept cryptocurrency payments. Twitch users are able to make cryptocurrency donations to their favourite streamers. At the time of writing, Twitch accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dogecoin (DOGE), among others.
Paying with cryptocurrencies on Twitch is incredibly simple:
- 1. Select BitPay at checkout
- 2. Connect a wallet or use the BitPay Wallet app
- 3. Select the chosen cryptocurrency
- 4. Scan the QR code or manually enter the correct details
Tesla is one of the most high-profile companies that accept crypto payments. Elon Musk, famous for his interest in the crypto space, announced in early 2021 that Tesla would start accepting Bitcoin payments. However, they quickly backtracked on that decision, but not before purchasing over a billion dollars worth of the currency.
However, Tesla does accept Dogecoin (DOGE) as a payment method. Musk, a huge proponent of the cryptocurrency, has often tweeted about his interest in the coin. The website has an entire FAQ section dedicated to Dogecoin, detailing exactly what it can be spent on, how purchases can be made, and anything else that a buyer may need to know.
Express VPN, one of the world’s most popular VPN services, accepts Bitcoin payments. The site suggests that users can “Pay securely and anonymously with Bitcoin”. Those interested in purchasing an Express VPN subscription with Bitcoin only need to input an email address, helping to maintain privacy. Express VPN also accepts ETH and XRP, alongside a range of USD-pegged stablecoins.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that enables users to launch a business and quickly start selling to customers. The site also accepts cryptocurrency payments, which it does through a number of different sites or services:
- Coinbase Commerce
Users can enable any of these payment methods on their Shopify accounts. Once done, they are able to accept a range of cryptocurrency payments, depending on what cryptocurrencies are enabled on that particular site.
Which Other Cryptocurrencies Can You Spend?
Most cryptocurrencies can be spent on their host blockchains. Decentralised applications (dApps), decentralised exchanges (DEXs) and other smart contracts accept the blockchain’s native cryptocurrency as a payment method. However, due to the continued global adoption of cryptocurrencies, there are a growing number that can be spent away from their host blockchain.
Bitcoin is the most popular and widely accepted option for making real-world purchases. Countries like El Salvador have even chosen to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. However, although one of the frontrunners in the cryptocurrency payment sector, Bitcoin might not have that much longevity in this regard. Historically, people have purchased Bitcoin as an investment.
The world’s number one cryptocurrency is considered to be a store of value, like gold. This doesn’t necessarily make it a long-term solution as a payment method. Additionally, Bitcoin suffers some drawbacks that don’t make it the most streamlined payment solution.
There are, however, a number of alternative cryptocurrencies that can be spent or might be spendable in the future.
Stablecoins are perhaps the most obvious example of a cryptocurrency that is perfect for spending off-chain. Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that are pegged to the price of another asset. For example, Tether is pegged to the price of the US dollar. The coins should, theoretically, be able to avoid the volatility of other crypto assets. In turn, this makes them an excellent option for spending cryptocurrency in the real world.
At present, stablecoins are primarily used for making purchases on-chain. On decentralised exchanges, stablecoins are often used as an alternative to fiat currencies. Currently, stablecoins aren’t the most widely accepted option by merchants, who tend to prefer to accept coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin. However, the volatility of most major cryptocurrencies is often cited as a deterrent to merchants. Stablecoins could therefore provide the perfect solution in the future.
Dash is a payment protocol and cryptocurrency. Users can instantly send and receive secure payments with DASH, the protocol’s native cryptocurrency. Dash is already accepted by various global businesses. These range from crypto services – such as Coinpay – to VPN services – such as NordVPN.
Monero is another leading cryptocurrency protocol that offers transactions that are censorship-resistant and private. Monero describes itself as ‘electronic cash’, with the ability to make global payments quickly and securely. Online casinos, technology and VPN companies, and exchanges are some of the merchants that accept XMR, Monero’s native cryptocurrency.