9 places you can spend Bitcoin in the UK
Bitcoin is the talk of the town, but where can you spend it? We've gone around the houses to see what you could buy with Bitcoin today.
We've already covered the big questions like 'what is Bitcoin?', 'how does Bitcoin work?' and 'why is Bitcoin so popular?' in our guide to buying Bitcoin.
Here we dig a little deeper to discover where you can actually spend Bitcoin today in exchange for goods and services.
If you're still doubting that Bitcoin has the potential to become mainstream, just look at the insane increase in the number of places accepting it in the UK...
What can you buy with Bitcoin?
Now, if you’ve never heard of Gift Off you may be wondering why we’ve put them right at the top of this list. But trust us – it’s not without good reason.
While it’s fair to say that most major retailers in the UK don’t accept Bitcoin, it’s also fair to say that most do offer gift cards and vouchers – and that’s where Gift Off comes in.
Gift Off sells gift cards for pretty much every retailer and service that offers them and does so at face value. But, crucially, it accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment, which means you can use your Bitcoin to buy vouchers for Amazon, Tesco, ASOS, Spotify, Uber… basically any and every one of the popular retailers you already shop with.
So while it’s not a direct way of being able to spend Bitcoin in your day to day life, using Gift Off to buy vouchers with Bitcoin is as close as you’ll get until the major stores start accepting the cryptocurrency themselves.
Weirdly, airBaltic only accepts Bitcoin as payment for what they call ‘Basic’ tickets (basically the cheapest, no-frills options) – not especially useful if you’re a Bitcoin millionaire who wants to travel in style.
But let’s focus on the positives: airBaltic do flights to most European nations, and even go to parts of the Middle East, too.
Plus, according to airBaltic, they cherry-pick their very best flight deals to post on their website, and their website only. So, it seems you may only have to part with a small portion of your Bitcoin fortune when you book your flights with airBaltic.
Not heard of Overstock? They’re much bigger in America, but you’re just as able to take advantage of the great prices they have on furniture and electronics.
The CEO of Overstock, Patrick Byrne, is a huge advocate of cryptocurrencies, and it was on his watch that Overstock became the first major retailer to let customers buy products with Bitcoin.
In fact, in early 2019 the company even announced that it was set to pay a portion of its business tax using Bitcoin, and soon plans to actually sell Bitcoin itself. One to keep an eye on, for sure!
Not wishing to be left behind in what’s increasingly looking like a huge shift in the way we use money, Microsoft also accepts Bitcoin as payment on the Microsoft Store (but only in the Xbox and Windows stores, not on the Microsoft Store website).
This means that you can use your Bitcoin to buy games, movies, TV shows and apps from the service, and boy oh boy are there some big names to choose from.
The likes of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Minecraft are available on the PC, while all the biggest films and Xbox games can be purchased too.
Again, although Newegg is a lesser-known brand, you shouldn’t let that put you off using their services – especially if you happen to own some Bitcoin.
The online retailer sells all kinds of tech, from games consoles to computer components, hoovers to coffee machines, and everything in between (with some clothes in there too).
To pay with Bitcoin, all you have to do is decide what you want to buy and then complete the payment process – simple as!
If you’re after something unique, Etsy is the place to go. It’s an absolute treasure trove of bespoke and homemade goods, and some sellers have gone one step further by accepting Bitcoin as payment.
Some sellers/products won’t appear on those searches, but if you want to know if someone accepts Bitcoin, just check out their profile. Under payment methods, someone who has listed ‘Other’ may be open to accepting it.
Also note that as it’s not an official option provided by Etsy itself, you’ll have to contact the seller and complete the transaction through another (but still totally legit) service.
It’s fair to say Lush are all-round good eggs. Not only are their cosmetic products handmade and 100% vegetarian, but they also promote ethical buying and strongly oppose animal testing. And now you can add ‘Lush accepts Bitcoin’ to the list of reasons to love them.
As of July 2017, Lush’s website now accepts the cryptocurrency as payment for its products, meaning you can use your Bitcoin stash to pamper yourself a little.
However, as they only accept it online (and not in store), you won’t get to bask in (or, in the case of some guys, pretend that you don’t enjoy) the smell of everything inside a Lush store. Lush giveth, and Lush taketh away.
Fancy sharing the Bitcoin love? Rather than spend your cryptocurrency on yourself, you can now donate it to charity!
Sadly, not many charities accept donations in the form of Bitcoin, but one of the few that does is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
According to the RNLI, 94% of their income comes from donations, and most of their lifeboat staff are unpaid volunteers. So why not put your Bitcoin towards a good cause and donate it to the RNLI?
Nothing – and we mean nothing – has done more to help students write essays than Wikipedia.
We know that lecturers insist that it isn’t a legit source of information, but at the very least Wikipedia is a life-saver when it comes to giving you a rough idea of what you’re writing about, and which sources are worth looking at.
What’s more, like the RNLI, Wikipedia owes its existence to the generosity of the general public, and now accepts Bitcoin donations. After all, it’s done for you, a small Bitcoin donation is the least you can do for Wikipedia.
The risks of Bitcoin
Now, before you go off and start splashing your digital cash, just remember that right now using Bitcoin comes with its fair share of risks.
The value of Bitcoin can rise or fall by thousands of dollars in a day, and as such, some retailers that have previously accepted Bitcoin have now decided to stop.
Such is the volatility of the cryptocurrency, our list of retailers that accept Bitcoin may be incorrect by the time you’re reading it. That said, it was 100% accurate at the time of writing, and we’ll do our very best to keep it up-to-date!
For a full-blown introduction to Bitcoin check out our main guide to Bitcoin.