2018 might not have been the best year in terms of cryptocurrency market performance, but it did see a host of new ways emerge for people to buy everyday items using digital currencies. Here are some of the options for consumers looking to spend some of their holdings during the winter sales.
This year the number of Bitcoin ATMs across the globe doubled, with an average of six new installations emerging every day and the total number standing at around 4,050. Some of these machines are limited to transacting Bitcoin purchases only, while the rest can be used to make a quick sale for cash.
They can be found in up to 84 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Austria. Over half of the ATM machines offer services for at least one other cryptocurrency including but not limited to Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash.
The nearest ATMs can be found using Coin ATM Radar.
Coinbase e-gift cards
Coinbase customers in the US, Australia, and select EU countries can withdraw funds from their account directly into an e-gift card via WeGift. Options are available in fashion, food and drink, entertainment and home and leisure, with top brands including Nike, Adidas, and Dominos. The service is offered without fee, with some online merchants also offering a bonus of up to 5%.
Amazon, online stores
Bitrefill offers residents of Germany, France, the UK and the US online vouchers for major retailers, available to purchase with Bitcoin. It includes Amazon vouchers which also can be exchanged for Bitcoin on the decentralized trading platform LocalBitcoins.
Major retailers offering vouchers on Bitrefill and participating in the seasonal sales include Asos, Decathalon and Debenhams.
A number of other e-commerce sites accept cryptocurrency payment methods directly, including retail outlet Overstock, technology retailer Newegg, and some sellers on the alternative retailer for vintage or handmade goods, Etsy.
Check for local outlets
For those looking to spend cryptocurrency directly in local outlets, there are several websites available to help find stores willing to accept this payment method. Where to Spend Bitcoins provides this service for the UK, while Coinmap.org provides an international perspective. Europe and North America have the most condensed number of outlets, with South America, South Korea, and Japan also hosting a significant number.
Coinmap is particularly good for finding and supporting small businesses that share a faith in Bitcoin.
In 2019, look out for more fast food restaurants offering a cryptocurrency payment choice, with this year’s trends indicating some of the most well-known names will expand into this service.
In January, KFC Canada offered “The Bitcoin Bucket,” a chicken tenders, waffle fries combination box, for USD 20 in Bitcoin, an offer which quickly sold out. Particular branches of Subway including in Altoona, PA have accepted Bitcoin as early as 2013, while the summer of 2018 saw 522 Venezuelan branches also include Dash as a valid form of payment.
While Starbucks denied rumors in August that they would be accepting direct Bitcoin payments any time soon, the coffee chain has partnered with Microsoft and Bakkt to allow people to convert their cryptocurrency into US dollars, with its support for digital currency still leaving many to speculate about future acceptance.
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