Getting on-boarded into the crypto world can sometimes be a lengthy process, especially for those that tend to resist the latest and greatest technology for as long as possible. It requires a fair amount of technical savvy, a number of different tools, and a fair amount of due diligence done in the form of Googling.
This rings even more true for merchants who have to take into consideration the complex U.S. tax code as it pertains to accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment. That being said, the relative speed of adoption for cryptocurrencies as a form of payment has seemed slow moving by many, but in actuality has been rather fast.
For example, In the U.S.A., you can already purchase a large number of things with cryptocurrency, which was not the case 10 years ago, and countries like El Salvador have also made Bitcoin legal tender.
Table of Contents
How do you spend crypto in real life?
Spending cryptocurrency within the crypto ecosystem is fairly simple. For example, it’s pretty easy to purchase digital assets, most notably NFTs, on the blockchain with cryptocurrency on various apps and crypto marketplaces.
It’s possible to do the same with real life items and real life marketplaces, but it requires both the vendor to accept cryptocurrency and the consumer to have a method of spending the cryptocurrency. That being said, there are multiple ways to spend crypto in real life, and many documentaries like banking on Bitcoin predict that there will be a future “cryptocurrency of the Earth.”
Popular ways to spend crypto in the real world include using a crypto debit card or prepaid card, shopping at a retailer that allows you to use crypto, using a cryptocurrency ATM to withdraw cash, loading up a gift card, and even making a donation.
How to store crypto to make purchases simple
In order to spend cryptocurrency, you first need to obtain it. There are a number of ways you can earn cryptocurrency, like mining, but the fastest way is just to purchase it with either fiat or regular money. Once you do that, you’ll need a way to store it.
Cryptocurrency debit cards
A number of crypto exchanges offer debit cards that allow you to liquidate your cryptocurrency in real time, although usually for a transaction fee. That being said, many of them have cash-back rewards programs and allow you to spend a number of different cryptocurrencies. Regardless of whether or not you decide to get a crypto debit card, you’ll still need to have a crypto wallet in order to store your tokens.
Crypto wallets are much like real-life wallets in the fact that you need them to store your money and you wouldn’t go to the marketplace without them. The only difference is that a crypto wallet doesn’t store physical tokens, but rather digital currency in either a software wallet or a hardware wallet.
No matter which term you use to define it, this is also known as a cold wallet, and it is not connected to the internet at all times. However, the difference between these two types of crypto wallets is simple: A Hardware wallet is a physical device, many times resembling something like a USB drive that stores your crypto. They aren’t always connected to the Internet and are therefore much harder to hack.
A software wallet, also known as a hot wallet is an app or browser extension that is connected to the Internet at all times. These types of wallets integrate more easily with online marketplaces and are usually easier to liquidate, meaning they are a better option for using as it pertains to spending your crypto currency. Sometimes, crypto exchanges also have a coinciding crypto wallet product.
A crypto exchange is a service that lets buyers convert money into crypto and vice versa. Users can sign up, deposit money or crypto into the exchange, and invest, trade, and hold coins within the exchange itself.
Crypto exchanges are often used to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum directly, for which you can then withdraw to an internal within the exchange or external crypto wallet via a standalone app, like MetaMask, or via a bank account.
Exchanges can vary dramatically on the types of coins that you can purchase within service. Some exchanges carry only the most popular cryptocurrencies, and some exchanges carry hundreds of them. Exchanges like Coinbase are known for building on more blockchain technology, while crypto wallets like MetaMask sometimes cater to one or more specific blockchains while leaving specific ones out either as a business decision, or technological compatibility reason, temporary decision, or some other reason.
Places to spend cryptocurrency directly
Many retailers and stores have made a push to accept cryptocurrency both online and in their physical stores. Different merchants use different methods for accepting cryptocurrency, different platforms for which you can use crypto, and even different types of cryptocurrencies altogether.
Overstock is an online retailer that operates mainly in the United States for which the majority of the items they sell are furniture. When you checkout, the site will give you the option to buy the item using Bitcoin, for which they will provide you with an address that you can send the funds directly to from your wallet or a QR code for which you can scan using your wallet.
You will have a specific time frame for which you can complete the purchase, and once you send the funds you will receive an email from Overstock confirming the purchase. All this magic is managed through the company’s partnership with CoinPayments.
Save The Children
Save the Children was the first international non-governmental organization to accept crypto back in 2013, and they accept numerous types of cryptocurrencies as a payment method which is made possible through their partnership with The Giving Block.
This is a service that makes cryptocurrency fundraising easy for nonprofits. Donations can be given by sending cryptocurrency directly to the organization’s designated wallet address by either copying and pasting the wallet or scanning a QR code.
eGrifter is a site that allows you to buy gift cards from many different retail stores including Amazon, Adidas, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Walmart, and many more. If a retailer isn’t accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment directly, then one workaround would be to buy a gift card that allows you to pay with crypto.
Currently, there are about 25 cards from their catalog that allow you to purchase using Bitcoin. Some of the gift card options allow you to pay with coins like Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The company uses either Netcents for Bitpay depending on the coin you choose to pay with.
NewEgg is an online retailer specializing in computer hardware and consumer electronics. NewEgg not only allows you to pay with popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin, but also accepts other alt coins such as Dogecoin and even Shiba Inu Token.
NewEgg uses bitpay to allow its customers to connect a software wallet directly on their website in order to complete the purchase. The number of different wallets they allow you to use is large and includes wallets like WalletConnect and MetaMask – but there are a few notables that are left off of the list like the crypto.com wallet.
Starbucks has partnered with the crypto company Bakkt, which allows traditional investment institutions to interact with digital assets via US oversight. What this partnership ultimately means is that you can load up your Starbucks card with either Bitcoin or Ethereum via the Starbucks app by selecting Bakkt when choosing a method of payment.
In order to do so, you’ll first need to download the Bakkt app specifically and then create an account and deposit funds in order to buy crypto.
Merchants using Shopify
Shopify is an online platform that allows merchants to build, host, and manage their own products using their own Shopify website and domain name. There are thousands of retailers using Shopify to sell their products online, and many merchants allow you to use cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
Shopify also owns ShopPay, a payment gateway for making purchases through the use of a debit or credit card, however, their crypto payments are usually managed coinbase commerce.
Stores partnered with the Flexa Network
The Flexa Network is a crypto payments network that makes it easy for merchants to accept crypto payments. They do this via their app SPEDN, which is built upon this network.
SPEDN is the first app built out by its parent Flexa, and it allows users to fill up their account with cryptocurrency which can then be spent at select stores that have partnered with Flexa. Some of these stores include but are not limited to Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Users should be aware that once you load your account with crypto, you won’t be able to withdraw it, so you should only send the amount of money you are willing to spend.
Payment processors that are compatible with cryptocurrency
The crypto currency space allows for unique opportunities in the payment processing space. Payment processing companies allow other companies to accept crypto as a form of payment, usually by tapping into their application programming interface (API).
Strike is an app and API that allows you to make Bitcoin Lightning payments with a debit card or bank account. The company offers an API that other companies can use to integrate Bitcoin payments into their platform. For example, Twitter famously uses the strike API to allow its users to tip each other using Bitcoin.
The crypto payment processing company made headlines in the first week of April when it announced that the company had made Bitcoin lightning payments possible via the Shopify ecosystem. Shopify is an online platform that merchants can use to sell products on their own domain name, and was already one of the largest crypto payment gateways in the world before their partnership with Strike.
In 2018, Stripe said it was discontinuing its Bitcoin service as it believed that Bitcoin evolved to be something more like an asset rather than a method of payment. However, in October of 2021, they decided to revisit cryptocurrency payments.
Since then, they have created an entirely new team dedicated to global payment solutions for Web3. They aim to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, payment processors in the world for online applications including many common types of blockchain applications.
The future currency of the Earth
Payments via crypto are one step closer to becoming mainstream each and every day. Many thought leaders in the industry, including those that run famous crypto podcasts, believe that it works better as a currency than traditional fiat. And as more businesses are built to further help and support merchants accept crypto, more products will be available to be purchased via crypto.
That being said, it still isn’t a legal tender like it is in other countries like El Salvado, but we may not be far from the day where it is. The only question is if one cryptocurrency will become the future currency of the earth. Only time will tell!
Can Bitcoin be used in real life?
Bitcoin can be used in real life by a large number of online merchants both online and offline using various applications.
What is the best cryptocurrency for everyday use?
When merchants accept cryptocurrency, they usually accept Bitcoin first, and then another coin like Ethereum second. That being said, a large majority of NFTs are on the Ethereum blockchain, so if you’re purchasing NFTs, then Ether is the coin most often used.
Is cryptocurrency the future of money?
There are many people that believe that cryptocurrency as the dominant form of payment is inevitable and that it is only a matter of time. Countries like El Salvador have already made cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin legal tender.