Cryptocurrencies remain a controversial topic, with some in the industry claiming the that blockchain technology will solve all the world’s ills, whilst others see a technology that consumes the same amount of energy as Argentina with little to show for it. Whilst the arguments rage, the stratospheric rise of Bitcoin and other altcoins over the last few years has moved the technology into the mainstream with businesses across a variety of sectors now accepting payments in Bitcoin.
Restaurants, cafes, and pubs
Back in 2010 when Bitcoins were trading for less than $0.01, Laszlo Hanyecz famously paid 10,000 BTC to get two Papa John’s pizzas delivered to him, making pizzas the first physical items ever bought with the then brand new virtual currency. Whilst those Bitcoins would now be worth over half a billion dollars(!), you can now pay with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for for and drinks at a number of shops, restaurants, and cafes from Starbucks and Wholefoods to Your Sushi and Brewdog.
Gyms and fitness centres
Some gyms will let you pay your monthly subscription with Bitcoin, but more interestingly a Czech gym called Truegym launched its own altcoin to encourage people to keep up with their fitness regimes. Those that become part of the trial scheme could track their workouts on fitness trackers and were rewarded for their workouts with True Gym coins, personal workout plans, and other benefits.
Gambling outlets were some of the first places to accept payments in Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency, and the industry has kept pace with the technology over the last decade. The UK’s gambling sector is one of the most advanced and regulated in the world, and whilst the Gambling Commission does “advise consumers to be cautious when using digital currencies to gamble”, many of the leading gambling sites accept cryptocurrencies either directly of via the Neteller e-money transfer service. And with a vast variety of online casinos in the UK welcoming thousands of players each day, gambling is one of the most popular ways for cryptocurrency users to spend their coins.
Airlines and travel companies have had a very difficult 12 months, but once borders reopen those with Bitcoins in their wallets will be able to pay for flights and other travel expenses using the popular cryptocurrency. Latvia’s AirBaltic was the first airline to accept payment via Bitcoin back in 2014, and now a number of travel websites have followed suit with Travala, Destinia.com, Cheapair.com and BTCtrip.com all now accepting various cryptocurrencies.
Gaming and entertainment
Whilst the popular video game distribution company Steam was quick out of the gate and started accepting Bitcoin back in 2016, the experiment only lasted a year due to the large fees and unpredictable price fluctuations inherent in the cryptocurrency. However, more recently a number of other major entertainment services have started to accept cryptocurrencies including Amazon’s game streaming platform Twitch and most importantly Microsoft, with Windows and Xbox users now able to buy everything from AAA games and apps to Hollywood blockbuster films and cult TV series with Bitcoins.