To spend Bitcoin used to be a challenge once upon a time. Today, we have so many ways to spend this digital currency around the world.
It’s been only 2 months into 2016, and bitcoin already seems to be off to a tumultuous start. With Mike Hearn denouncing the bitcoin and bringing to light rivalries between different developer factions, it seemed like bitcoin was going to be brought down by politics and bureaucracy.
Yet, it still remains. Let’s skip the political, theoretical arguments and tell you how, genuinely and actionably, bitcoin can improve your life and health (of your wallet).
1. Get amazing discounts on Amazon
Here’s from one shopaholic to another.
Purse.io, which recently raised $1 million in seed round from Digital Assets Group, lets you get anything on Amazon at a 20-30 percent discount when you buy it with bitcoins. What happens here is that people who would like to purchase items from Amazon but have bitcoins, are connected to people who have Amazon credits but want bitcoins. While these sound like niche groups, the marketplace is growing fast, especially so in Japan and India, said Andrew, CEO of Purse.io.
Plus, for those who organise bulk orders on Amazon, this neat hack will save you tons of money. You’re welcome.
2. Value transfer (micro-remittances)
Far from the usual image of toppling the Western Union or big banks, bitcoin can create quicker pathways for bank to bank transfers.
Last year, CoinHako provided a way for students from the National University of Singapore Overseas College (NOC) to transfer small sums of money between the US and Singapore.
When doing micro-remittances, bank exchange rates and bank fees seem unfavorable in comparison. On top of this, transactions using bitcoins can be settled within half a day, a speed that cannot be matched by any other method.
Alternatively, there is the choice not to deal with bitcoins directly. Bitcoin apps like CoinPip allow enterprises to send fiat money via the bitcoin network while they handle everything in-between. This has been increasingly used to send money to remote contractors, vendors and employees.
3. Save money on Starbucks
Calling all pumpkin spice latte lovers. #nojudgements.
Fold allows bitcoin users to load coins into their cards to purchase Starbucks beverages. With this, you can shave 20 percent off your frappuccino, any coffee or tea you’d fancy.
How? For every $10 worth of bitcoins you load into your card you’d only pay $8 dollars. However, this is limited to Starbucks outlets in US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, UK, Hong Kong and Macau.
4. Pay Alibaba suppliers with bitcoins
Alibaba is a whole new world and bitcoin opens up a new payment gateway.
Those who have shopped on Alibaba can empathise with the feeling of exasperation when a merchant needs to be paid via T/T because they don’t accept PayPal. Here’s the good news: some merchants on Alibaba do accept bitcoins! So remember to ask your merchant about it or introduce this payment method them.
5. Buy gift cards at a discount
They say it’s better to give than to receive. We think it’s even better to save when you shop for that very gift.
Gyft is a gift card app that hosts gift cards of more than 200 retailers. When you spend bitcoin on their platform, you get 3 percent of its value back. Much savings, such wow.
6. Pay bills and top up phone cards
Many say that bitcoin cannot serve the unbanked, but it is doing so.
“Tokobitcoin is especially useful for 80 percent of the Indonesian population who are unbanked,” said its co-founder, Oscar, “Indonesians can use bitcoin, instead of credit cards, to get cellphone top-ups, electrical, and gaming vouchers online even into wee hours of the night.” Similar sites like Bitrefill also allow users to top up their phone cards without a visit to 7-11 or the local mom and pop.
With this, working expatriates can remotely top up prepaid cards for their family, and this can act as form of remittance while saving on last-mile delivery costs.
7. Gaming + bitcoin
*This *is a match made in heaven.
Kingsley, co-founder of Leet.GG, reminds us that Bitcoin is “fast, cheap, and international”, which makes the strong case for use of bitcoins among the gaming community. Game makers like Zynga and Big Fish Games have started accepting bitcoins since 2014. Virtual paraphernalia marketplaces such as OPskins and G2A have been generating huge incomes via bitcoin. Plus, word on the street is that Valve, *the *holy grail, is going to accept Bitcoins on Steam too.
When you throw in an element of risk in that mix, you get Leet.GG, a site that lets you bet bitcoins on your own avatar and let others take your bitcoins when they kill you off.
Before anyone goes off thinking that this is some child’s play, research shows the e-sport betting industry is projected to grow beyond US$23 billion by 2020.
8. Spend bitcoin for foreign exchange
We heard that the moneychanger at Singapore’s Chevron House has the best rates. But that’s old news and just plain old school.
The new and improved way of converting your currency into another is via bitcoin exchanges, which offer better rates than their brick and mortar equivalents. The added benefit is that you can simply buy your bitcoin in holding currency and sell your bitcoins for your desired currency from the comfort of your desk.
9. Invest in Kanye
Here’s how Kanye can tap on tech and crowdsourcing to finance his loans: a bitcoin wallet. More importantly, the Coinye saga teaches us that creating an altcoin is not going to flatter the Yeezus. Hence, we are much better off donating some bitcoins directly to him. Send some bitcoins over to this address: 3NWX9v9R5SaZnNf6BNuSbmcdDLkoC7Jf8u.
We promise all proceeds shall go to Kanye West.
10. Own it
Simply owning some bitcoins is cool too. We are not encouraging you to invest your fortunes in Bitcoin, but holding on to some might give you the thrill of a lifetime or protect you against not-so-optimal political climates, as rightly pointed out by Ashton Kutcher. Bitcoin might not be what it was trumped (bad pun intended) up to be, but it is still an ongoing experiment to be watched.
Finally, Matt from Fold says it best, “Consumers need incentives to promote bitcoin in their everyday lives” and we have just witnessed some real incentives we could get out of it. While others are prematurely announcing the death of bitcoin, there remains a small group looking for opportunities within the longest-surviving cryptocurrency.