What can you buy with Bitcoin?
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.
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...
Here we dig a little deeper to discover where you can actually spend Bitcoin today in exchange for goods and services.
Where can you spend Bitcoin?
Plenty of CeX stores
Credit: Linz Forsyth – Flickr
If you’re into your tech, you’ll almost certainly have bought from or sold to CeX at some point.
As the full name (Computer Exchange) suggests, CeX buy and sell games, computers, phones, DVDs, satnavs… basically, if your grandparents need your help to use it, CeX probably deals in it.
Given the industry it specialises in, it’s probably no surprise that over the last couple of years, CeX have started rolling out Bitcoin as a payment method. You can now buy and sell in Bitcoin at almost 100 stores nationwide (including most major cities), as well as on CeX’s website.
For a full list of CeX stores using Bitcoin, check out this list on their site.
If you’re one of the lucky so-and-so’s who bought Bitcoin when it was super cheap, and are now sitting on a small fortune, you’ll probably want to know where you can use Bitcoin to buy a holiday.
If so, you’ll be delighted to find out that you can spend the cryptocurrency with Expedia!
The travel site is currently only accepting Bitcoin as payment for hotels, but it’s expected to expand the initiative in the future to allow customers to buy flights and other activities under the scheme.
University of Cumbria
Credit: Robert Cutts – Flickr
Yes, you read that correctly: the University of Cumbria now accepts Bitcoin as a way of paying tuition fees.
In fact, in 2014 it became the first public university in the world to allow students to pay their fees with the cryptocurrency.
It’s only running the initiative on two courses (Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership and Certificate of Achievement in Sustainable Exchange), but who’s to say that the uni won’t roll it out to the rest of its programmes if the scheme is a success?
What can you buy with Bitcoin? Well, Sushi-making classes, obviously.
At Your Sushi, they’ll teach you how to prepare sushi (quelle surprise) to a professional standard, meaning you’ll no longer have to shell out half a month’s wages to buy three pieces of rice and fish (although fish is still pretty expensive, so don’t go overboard!).
Anyway, if you happen to own some Bitcoin and have a thing for Japanese food, Your Sushi accepts Bitcoin as payment for its sushi-making classes.
As a free taster of what you can expect, here’s the Your Sushi founder, Manu, explaining how to make Temaki Sushi:
It’s all well and good paying for your hotel with Bitcoin through Expedia, but you need to actually get there first. Fortunately, if you’re after a 100% Bitcoin holiday, airBaltic will let you pay using the cryptocurrency.
airBaltic do flights to most European nations, and even go to the United Arab Emirates and some parts of America.
Surf Air also accepts Bitcoin as payment, but they don’t deal in commercial flights – just private planes. So unless you’re a Bitcoin millionaire (and remember, you could lose money from buying Bitcoin), you might have to stick to airBaltic!
Credit: Mike Mozart – Flickr
Here at Save the Student, we’re big fans of Subway. Admittedly this is largely down to their super generous loyalty scheme, but the food is alright too!
And the good news keeps coming, as it turns out that Subway is one of a growing number of shops that accept Bitcoin. Unfortunately, it’s only in a select number of its restaurants, and as far as we know, none of these are in the UK.
However, as Bitcoin is becoming more popular by the day, and Subway is a hugely popular chain, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them accepting Bitcoin in the UK sometime soon.
Oh, and just in case you don’t believe us when we say that they accept it, here’s a guy buying a sandwich for 0.04BTC back in 2013. At the time of writing, 0.04BTC is now worth over $700.
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.
Such is the success of Overstock opening itself up to Bitcoin, that the company now takes over $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency payments every week.
In fact, Patrick Byrne is so confident that the cryptocurrency will be a success that he recently said that it would be possible for a single Bitcoin to reach $1 million in value. To put that into context, at the time of writing (and after a year of huge growth), one Bitcoin is ‘only’ worth just over $15,000.
Credit: Mike Mozart – Flickr
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 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 Mincecraft 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 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.
When we were researching this article, we came across several high profile examples of companies (including Steam and Dell) that have suspended accepting Bitcoin.
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.