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The following article is courtesy of James Andrews, an avid bitcoin enthusiast who enjoys reading and writing about crypto currencies.
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You have Bitcoins, but what do you do with them? Learn about 5 different ways you can put your Bitcoins to use in the online marketplace.
Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency on the market, was launched in 2009 and pitched as a digital currency for a digital market. Since its inception, Bitcoin has grown in popularity and usability. You can use the digital currency to pay for goods and service across several markets. We have compiled a list of 5 different ways you can spend your Bitcoin online.
1) Online Shopping
It is only natural that an online currency be accepted for online shopping. However, many big-name online retailers do not accept Bitcoin. Perhaps the largest online retailer accepting the cryptocurrency is overstock.com. Overstock is like a digital department store specializing in product categories like furniture, rugs, décor, home improvement, kitchen, outdoor, jewelry, watches and more. Their allowance of Bitcoin has put them at the top of the crypto-community’s list for online shopping. All transactions are processed the same as others—just add to your cart and enter in the required Bitcoin transaction information when checking out. There are numerous independent online merchants that also accept Bitcoin payments to pay for merchandise and services. A simple Google search will reveal the many options.
Oftentimes you will find exchange services where you can trade your Bitcoins for another value. Gyft is a website that accepts Bitcoin to pay for and send gift cards from over 200 different retailers. Some of the most popular options include Dunkin’ Donuts, Chili’s, eBay, iTunes, Southwest Airlines and Starbucks. The company was launched in 2012 and has been featured in Forbes magazine. You can download the Gyft mobile app on your and Android or Apple device and purchase, send and manage gift cards on the go. Services like Gyft provide a means of paying for goods and services with retailers that do not accept Bitcoin (i.e. Amazon).
Since not all travel sites accept Bitcoin as a viable currency, it is oftentimes necessary to find an intermediary service. TravelForCoins is a company that serves as a middleman between the consumer and popular travel services. You book your travel accommodations with Bitcoin through the service, and TravelForCoins will pay for them using standard currency. Any flight tickets or rooms booked will be put under the name(s) you provide TravelForCoins. For hotel accommodations, you can use Bitcoin at Expedia.com to book your stay.
3) Online Gambling
Online gambling is one of the most lucrative digital markets. Millions of users flock to licensed online gambling providers daily to engage in gambling entertainment at casinos, poker and sports betting. Recently, more gambling operators are beginning to accept Bitcoin to make deposits and withdrawals to and from your online account. With online gambling, it is important to understand the laws in the US to ensure you are accessing legally sanctioned betting opportunities. If you are gambling with a legitimately licensed offshore provider, you are not in violation of US gambling laws.
There are some restaurants that accept Bitcoin now, however these are somewhat rare and are often created for the sole purpose of using Bitcoin. In most cases, customers can use services like Foodler. Foodler is an online delivery and takeout service that allows users to order from different restaurants. The site converts your Bitcoins to USD to pay for the transaction. Foodler features over 20,000 different restaurants, so the options are plentiful.
5) Charitable Donations
Bitcoin can also be used to pay something forward. You can essentially tip online article and blog authors with the click of a button. There are also ways to donate to online foundations through Bitcoin. The foundation will then be able to convert your Bitcoin donation into standard currency.