What Can I Buy With Bitcoin? [MakeUseOf Explains]

What to Buy With Bitcoin Intro   What Can I Buy With Bitcoin? [MakeUseOf Explains]If you’ve never heard of Bitcoin before, then don’t worry because you’re in the majority. Let’s just say that it’s a virtual currency (meaning you’ll never be able to hold an actual Bitcoin in your hands) and leave it at that. For some people, that might sound silly. For others, Bitcoin is slowly but surely becoming the currency of the future. You can learn more about Bitcoin from our Bitcoin guide.

Over the month of March, the value of a single Bitcoin nearly quadrupled when it shot up from ~$40 USD to ~$140 USD. Combine that with the fact that there are nearly 11 million Bitcoins in circulation and you can see that Bitcoin isn’t something to scoff at. The concept of it is foreign, yes, and many distrust the integrity of the Bitcoin, but it’s turning into something that may very well be commonplace in a decade or so.

But as with all currencies, the main purpose of a currency is to allow the holder to purchase something using that currency. Who cares what the worth of a Bitcoin is if you can’t buy anything with it? So what can you buy with Bitcoins?

what buy bitcoin value   What Can I Buy With Bitcoin? [MakeUseOf Explains]

Before we delve into the uses of the Bitcoin, we need to understand what it is and why it exists. Learning this will give us insight into the kinds of people who have adopted the currency, the kinds of people who haven’t adopted the currency, and what sorts of goods and services fit the Bitcoin philosophy.

Simply put, Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency. This decentralization – which means that there is no central person, group, or organization that produces or regulates the Bitcoin – is one of Bitcoin’s main draws. For example, the American Dollar is controlled by the US. Bitcoin has no such owner, thus offering a level of anonymity that other currencies don’t provide. (Note: Bitcoin’s anonymity can be cracked, but that’s a topic for another time.)

The other draw of Bitcoin is its digital nature. The first world has been moving towards online shopping in sweeping movements over the last decade or so, and digital transactions are all the rage due to their convenience factor. At the click of a button or the swipe of a card, you can quickly and painlessly purchase goods at your leisure, even while wearing your pajamas.

Combine the decentralized, anonymous nature of Bitcoin with the convenience of digital currency and you can see why people would love it, at least in theory. If you want to learn more about Bitcoin before you continue, check out our very own MakeUseOf Bitcoin manual.

what buy bitcoin circulation   What Can I Buy With Bitcoin? [MakeUseOf Explains]

Now in order to hop into the Bitcoin economy and start buying things, you first need to get your hands on some Bitcoins. At this point, you have two options: you can either mine Bitcoins yourself, or you can just buy Bitcoins off of someone who has them in exchange for real world currency.

The term “mining” tends to be somewhat confusing for new Bitcoin users and there’s no guarantee that you’ll earn any Bitcoins for a while, so you should leave off mining until you’re better acquainted with the Bitcoin system. Until then, you’re better off just buying them off of trustworthy Bitcoin sources.

Once you have Bitcoins in your possession, how do you actually spend them? You need a Bitcoin wallet. This wallet is what tracks your Bitcoin status and it allows you to make Bitcoin transactions with other people or companies. Wallets can come in the form of software (computer programs), mobile (phone apps), or web (online sites). Be careful where you store your Bitcoins!

what buy bitcoin wallets   What Can I Buy With Bitcoin? [MakeUseOf Explains]

So by now, you’ve bought some Bitcoins to use and you have a properly functioning wallet. Where can you spend them and what sorts of items can you buy with them?

SpendBitCoins has a list of places that directly accept Bitcoins. The list is absolutely massive and the kinds of things you can buy are numerous. Their featured products include a Bitcoin-to-real-currency exchange, dedicated server hosting, and an online mining game.

The diversity of available purchases using Bitcoins is astounding. Don’t believe me?

  • WordPress began accepting Bitcoin payments last year.
  • BitMit is an online auction site not unlike Ebay.
  • StompRomp is an American guitar store that accepts Bitcoins.
  • BitJack21 is an Internet blackjack casino that uses Bitcoin as its main currency.
  • Coindl is similar to iTunes: buy music, books, games, and software.
  • Ogrr lets you buy and sell items from video games, like World of Warcraft.
  • Bitcoin Store sells all kinds of electronics for Bitcoins.
  • Coinabul converts your Bitcoins into gold and silver.
  • Bitherbs sells herbal goods and natural products for Bitcoins.
  • BannerAdExchange lets you buy advertisement space for Bitcoins.

I’m not going to go through and list everywhere you can spend Bitcoins, but it should be apparent that Bitcoin popularity is on the rise and you’ll eventually be able to buy whatever you want with it. All you have to do is look in the right places and search well. Check out Bitcoin’s own trade page to find categorized vendors.

And if you’re making person-to-person transactions, then you can literally buy anything as long as you can find the right people who are selling the right goods or services. Remember how Bitcoin is decentralized and therefore anonymous to a degree? Well, there is a subset of Bitcoin users who use the currency for illicit purposes. Let’s leave it at that. MakeUseOf does not condone illegal behavior of any kind.

What can you buy with Bitcoins? As it turns out, you can buy a lot. We aren’t at the point where you can waltz down to your nearest grocery store and buy a few apples yet, but we’re getting there. I’ll be honest: I never expected Bitcoin to gain this much traction, but I’m glad it has. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going and revolutionize world currency.

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13 Comments -

0 votes

Chris Marcoe

Another great Bitcoin article. I am putting together a presentation for Bitcoins for my Emerging technology class. And I have to say, the articles I am getting from MUO are a huge help.

Thank you

0 votes

Joel Lee

Glad that MUO could be of service to you. Good luck on that presentation. :)

5 votes

Scott M

I believe this is only the first of the alternative currencies.Its fascinating to watch the process unfold and I’m certain a real worry for abusive Governments security forces across the globe.

5 votes

Rob H

What I don’t understand about bitcoins is how you can make practical use of them as a currency in view of their wildly fluctuating value.

Suppose I have a product I’d normally price at $100 so I priced it as 1 bitcoin when the approx value of a coin was $100 – then the value increased to, say $200 (I think they peaked at $266). Now my product looks expensive compared to my competitor who prices in dollars. So I change my price to 0.5 bitcoins (can you use fractional coins?). I sell 20 so I’ve got a notional $1000 – but I’d like cash so I go to convert them and find the value has dropped back to $100 so now I’m facing a loss of $500.

0 votes

Joel Lee

The fluctuations are one of the reasons why BitCoin hasn’t become a truly mainstream currency yet. Will these fluctuations ever stop? That’s a big question that doesn’t really have an answer yet. Maybe when BitCoins reach their completion (no more BitCoins are created) they will stabilize, but for right now it’s more of an investment strategy than a true currency.

5 votes

Chris Hoffman

Honestly, we should face the reality. I think a huge reason for the popularity of BitCoin is that it allows people to buy illegal products offline without the traditional paper trail.

This doesn’t mean BitCoin is “bad,” per se. The ability to buy illegal products without a paper trail is also a significant reason for the advantage of physical cash.

It’s not about condoning it, but I don’t think BitCoin would be anywhere near as popular and high-valued if not for such uses.

0 votes

Joel Lee

Completely agree. I’ve heard that BitCoin only ever blew up due to all of the illegal purchases that were made using it.

5 votes

Scott M

From a column in the daily reckoning newsletter.

Despite Bitcoin prices becoming somewhat stable over the past couple of weeks, I’m still seeing trouble ahead for the alternative currency…

Business Insider reported earlier this morning that an infamous Bitcoin marketplace called Silk Road is dealing with some serious issues. Here’s a snippet from The Telegraph with the details:

“As an economy where Bitcoin was the main currency, Silk Road recently went through a hyper-deflation almost unprecedented in economics. Following the recent surges in the value of Bitcoin, people have been selling less and less, initially because the value of the Bitcoins was going up so fast people were unwilling to part with them; then, once the Bitcoin price started crashing, dealers were unwilling to part with valuable drugs for Bitcoins worth who-knows-what.”

There’s also the issue of the site being down for extended periods due to extortion attempts and illegal drug operations alledgedy run through this particular Bitcoin marketplace

5 votes

Scott M

This is a link about ensuring safety from hackers and explaining a few of the methods used by them to get at your coins.http://www.emsisoft.com/en/kb/articles/tec130501/?ref=news130501&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=knowledgebase&utm_campaign=news130501

0 votes

Humpster Sameasabove

think I will stay away from this but hey thanks anyway

5 votes

TMB

You can encourage more merchants to accept Bitcoin by simply entering their email/web address at http://www.takemybitcoins.com/#encourage

An email will be sent to them introducing Bitcoin and information on how they can start accepting it.

0 votes

Joel Lee

Whoa, that’s a pretty cool initiative. Thanks for spreading the word! I never knew about it until now.