Cryptocurrency has come a long way since the early days of Bitcoin. Once viewed as an obscure online curiosity, digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum are now becoming more mainstream. Major companies like Microsoft, AT&T, and Home Depot now accept crypto payments. But spending crypto is about more than just paying bills. This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know to spend your cryptocurrency like cash.
Getting Started with Crypto Spending
Before you can spend crypto, you need to own some! Once you have digital assets, you’ll want to store them securely in a cryptocurrency wallet. Here’s a quick guide to getting set up for crypto spending:
1. Purchase Cryptocurrency
The first step is to buy some crypto. You can purchase digital assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin on any major crypto exchange. Some popular options include Coinbase, Gemini, and Bitcoin Evolution. You’ll connect your bank account or debit card to fund your crypto purchases.
2. Choose a Crypto Wallet
To securely store your cryptocurrency, you’ll need a wallet. Wallets come in many forms including mobile apps, hardware devices, online wallets, desktop wallets, and paper wallets.
For spending crypto conveniently, a mobile wallet like Exodus or MetaMask is a good choice. These wallets allow you to easily send crypto payments from your phone.
For large crypto holdings, consider using a hardware wallet like Ledger or Trezor for added security.
3. Load Your Wallet
Now you’re ready to transfer crypto from your exchange account into your wallet. Inside your wallet, you’ll find your unique crypto address needed to receive transfers.
Once the transfer is complete, you’re all set to start spending directly from your wallet!
What You Can Buy with Cryptocurrency in 2023
The number of merchants accepting crypto payments is growing rapidly. Here are some of the major things you can buy with your cryptocurrency today:
Stores like Newegg and Microsoft allow you to pay for laptops, TVs, gaming consoles, and other electronic devices directly with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Turn your crypto into gift cards to spend at major retailers like Amazon, Target, Nike, Southwest Airlines, and many more. Crypto gift card sites like Bitrefill make this easy.
Clothing & Fashion
Select online clothing boutiques now accept direct crypto payments for the latest apparel and accessories using BitPay. Or use crypto-funded gift cards at chains like Express, Nike, and Nordstrom.
Travel & Vacations
Book flights on airlines like AirBaltic using Bitcoin. Or fund vacations by converting crypto to Hotels.com and Airbnb gift cards. The crypto debit card from BitPay also works great for travel.
Gaming & Entertainment
Buy games on platforms like Steam and purchase movies or shows on AMC theaters using supported cryptocurrencies. You can also use crypto debit cards for entertainment.
Jewelry & Luxury Items
Some high-end jewelry dealers now allow purchasing precious stones and accessories directly with crypto coins like Bitcoin.
Cars & Motorcycles
Lamborghinis and McLarens and Harleys, oh my! Select exotic car dealers like Post Oak Motor Cars accept crypto for supercar purchases.
Real Estate & Home
New platforms like Pacaso facilitate buying shared vacation homes with Bitcoin. Condos.com also allows crypto buyers.
How to Spend Your Crypto Like Cash
Once you own cryptocurrency, what’s the easiest way to spend it like cash? Here are three popular options:
1. Pay Directly from Your Wallet
Some major companies now allow paying directly from your Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin wallet. When checking out online, you’ll see the option to pay in crypto through providers like BitPay. Simply scan the QR code or send crypto directly to the address provided.
2. Use a Crypto Debit Card
Crypto debit cards like the BitPay card allow you to fund purchases big and small using your cryptocurrency. The card auto-converts crypto to cash and acts as a normal debit card you can swipe or use online anywhere. It’s a seamless way to spend crypto like fiat.
3. Buy Gift Cards
When retailers don’t directly take crypto payments, you can often buy their gift cards using cryptocurrencies. Exchanging crypto for gift cards through providers like BitPay provides a simple way to shop online or in-person.
10 Unique Ways to Spend Your Cryptocurrency
Looking for creative ways to put your crypto to use? Here are 10 unique ways to spend Bitcoin or other digital assets:
1. Book Luxury Vacation Rentals
Use crypto to book high-end vacation mansion rentals or exotic cars through sites like Luxury Retreats. Drive your dream Lamborghini on your next getaway!
2. Purchase Digital Art
Buy limited edition digital art and music using crypto coins on platforms like SuperRare and Audius. Support up and coming artists in the web3 space.
3. Donate to Charity
Donating crypto directly to charities like Save the Children is tax-advantageous. You also know your donation fully supports the cause.
4. Shop at Crypto-Only Stores
Some online stores like Shoppy.gg only accept cryptocurrency payments. It’s a cool way to spend your crypto while supporting niche retailers.
5. Pay Off Loans
You can now use crypto holdings as collateral for cash loans on lending platforms like Celsius Network and BlockFi.
6. Fund Your Retirement
Roll over a 401k into a Bitcoin IRA through companies like iTrustCapital to add crypto exposure to your nest egg.
7. Bet on Sports
Sportsbooks like BetOnline.ag let you wager on games using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
8. Buy Virtual Real Estate
Purchase virtual land and assets in metaverse worlds like Decentraland using crypto coins like MANA and ETH.
9. Invest in Tokenized Assets
Platforms like AssetRush allow using crypto to invest in tokenized real-world assets like real estate, stocks, and commodities.
10. Shop at Crypto-Friendly Stores
Look for small “crypto accepted here” signs at local merchants and ask if you can support their business by paying in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Crypto Spending Tips
To make the most of your crypto spending, keep these tips in mind:
- Use a mobile wallet app for easy-to-use crypto payments on the go.
- Consider getting a crypto debit card for expanded spending flexibility at any retailer.
- Check if your favorite merchants directly accept cryptocurrencies before buying gift cards.
- Compare crypto payment fees between providers like BitPay versus paying directly from your wallet.
- Add funds to your crypto debit card from your wallet before large purchases to avoid transaction fees.
- If a merchant is crypto-friendly, politely ask about paying directly in crypto to support adoption.
- Holding crypto long-term? Consider only spending what you can afford to replace.
Spending cryptocurrency today is easier than ever. As more users demand crypto payment options, adoption will continue rising. That means your digital assets will only become more useful as true cash alternatives in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spending Crypto
What fees are associated with spending crypto?
When paying directly from your wallet, network transaction fees apply. If using a third-party processor like BitPay, additional service fees in the 1% range may be charged by the provider. Crypto debit cards also have small transaction fees, similar to traditional debit cards.
Is spending crypto safe from fraud?
Paying directly from your wallet is quite safe, especially using hardware wallets. Reputable third-party payment providers also use measures to protect against fraud. As with any payment method, caution with unknown parties is always advised.
What are the tax implications?
In many jurisdictions, spending cryptocurrency may be a taxable event. Consult a crypto-savvy tax professional to understand any potential capital gains or losses associated with crypto spending.
Can I get a refund if I pay with crypto?
Policies vary by merchant. Some do allow refunds back to the original crypto payment method. Others may only allow refunds in the form of store credit or back to a debit card if one was used. Check refund policies with the merchant before purchasing big ticket items.
What are some downsides of spending crypto?
The two big downsides are price volatility and tax treatment. The USD value of purchases made with crypto can fluctuate rapidly compared to fiat payments. And in some cases, spending crypto may trigger tax liabilities.
Is spending cryptocurrency becoming more popular?
Absolutely. As crypto becomes mainstream, major companies adding crypto payment options are drastically increasing. According to one 2021 survey by Visa, over a quarter of small businesses worldwide already accept cryptocurrencies or plan to accept them within the next 12 months.
How do I explain paying with crypto to merchants unfamiliar with it?
Politely explain that cryptocurrency allows sending payments instantly like cash. Direct crypto payments go directly to the merchant without chargebacks. If the merchant has any additional questions, suggest following up with their payment processor or a provider like BitPay that handles crypto.
What if I have a faulty product after paying with crypto?
As with any purchase method, merchants should honor standard return and refund policies, regardless of the original payment type. Reach out to the merchant support team if you run into any issues obtaining a refund for a defective product that was bought with cryptocurrency.
Can I fund a crypto debit card using multiple coins?
Yes, some crypto card providers like BitPay allow you to fund your card balance using Bitcoin, Ethereum, stablecoins, and many other popular digital assets. This provides added flexibility compared to crypto debit cards supporting only Bitcoin.
Will more companies start accepting crypto payments soon?
Almost certainly. As cryptocurrencies become a trillion-dollar asset class, smart merchants recognize the need to serve crypto-savvy customers. Look for rapid growth in large and small businesses adding direct crypto payment options in the coming years.