One of the biggest recurring criticisms of Bitcoin is that it is hard to use it. People say that there just aren’t enough companies that accept the currency to justify using it, and that the fact companies don’t use the currency is in itself an indictment of Bitcoin.
His criticism is a bit hypocritical if the assumed comparison is that government-regulated currencies are better. Bitcoin can be used in every country in the world, unlike the Indian Rupee, the British Pound, or the American Dollar. In fact using a traditional currency means you can use it in your home country unless you pay exorbitant fees to convert it to another government-regulated currency. Not only that, but Bitcoin can be used as a store of value in countries where the financial system has shut down altogether, and bitcoin debit card providers have started to become mainstream.
But okay, let’s agree for the moment that even though the statement “Bitcoin is harder to use than traditional currency” is a statement with a million qualifications, what it is really getting at has some seeds of truth. The fact is your grocery store probably doesn’t accept Bitcoin. Many of the places you shop do not accept Bitcoin.
But that is changing.
You can use Bitcoin to make purchases with some of the world’s largest companies, and with a few creative workarounds, even at companies that don’t technically deal in Bitcoin. Here are just of a few of those places:
- Expedia. One of the world’s largest travel sites allows its customers to purchase flights, hotels, and other travel accommodations via their partner Coinbase. Some critics will say that Expedia doesn’t really accept Bitcoin because they use a vendor to handle the transaction. But every company in the world operates this way. If you use a Visa or an American Express card to make your purchase, Expedia is going to receive your payment in Dollars from Visa or American Express. Coinbase, just like Visa or American Express, is a commerce platform that just happens to accept Bitcoin and distribute traditional currency.
- Overstock.com- EO Patrick Byrne, who has established himself as one of the world’s leading business voices with his work at Overstock.com, is an adamant supporter of Bitcoin. That is why his company accepts Bitcoin payments on its site and even holds some Bitcoin instead of converting it all to a traditional currency.
- WordPress. One of the world’s largest platforms for web development, WordPress was an early adopter of Bitcoin. Since 2012 they have allowed users to make payments with the currency. In their announcement, they said they were opening their doors to Bitcoin specifically to reach parts of the world where traditional payment networks cannot reach, due to government interference or corporate bureaucracy.
- Beepi. You can buy your next car using Bitcoin. Beepi made a splash in the news in 2014 by announcing it would let its users pay for vehicles using the currency. The company specializes in full service used car selling and purchasing.
- VRBO. In the new wave of companies that allow people to sell their services direct to consumers using a high tech platform (think Uber, Amazon, etc), VRBO lets its users rent out their houses or apartments on a short term basis to people looking for comfortable accommodations below hotel prices. They also allow their users to arrange for payments using Bitcoin.
- Florida Golf Coast University. You may not be in the market for a college education, but that doesn’t reduce the significance of a public university accepting Bitcoin payments. FGCU is a major, publicly financed institution that has acknowledged the value in opening its doors to alternate methods of payment.
- Dell. This computer giant is one of the largest vendors of tech products in the world. Laptops, sound systems, monitors, you name it, you can buy it with Bitcoin at Dell.
- eGifter. This is a workaround that allows you to use Bitcoin at nearly every major store you can think of – Best Buy, Home Depot, JC Penny’s – all of them. Simply use Bitcoin to buy a gift card at eGifter, and then use that to make your purchases in the store. The process of buying a digital gift card to actually making a purchase at a brick and mortar store can take less than two minutes.
- PayPal. This company blazed an early trail in the world of eCommerce by providing a secure platform for online transactions. They recently partnered with Braintree to allow its many millions of users to use Bitcoin to buy, sell, or transfer funds.
- DISH. Major cable provider DISH Network announced it would begin accepting Bitcoin payments in 2014. DISH is reportedly worth over $13 billion dollars making it what some are calling the largest company to deal in Bitcoin.
There are of course countless other companies that are accepting Bitcoin or are on their way to incorporate it. We can only look forward to the great advantages that this brings to the Bitcoin community.