A decade ago, cryptocurrency was mostly seen as an investment. With coins fluctuating, sometimes daily, and pretty significantly, it kept many people out of the cryptocurrency market. However, with wider adoption of cryptocurrencies in the retail space, more and more people are interested in getting into the market. For many, the advantages of crypto such as speed, access, and privacy, seemed great, but there wasn’t anywhere to spend it. These days, that’s different. So, if you’re finally getting into the crypto market, let’s take a look at how and where you can spend those coins.
- What is Cryptocurrency?
- What is a Crypto Wallet?
- How Do You Spend Cryptocurrency?
- Where Can I Spend My Cryptocurrency?
What is Cryptocurrency?
Very briefly, cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital (non-tangible) currencies. That means they’re not backed by a central bank or government, but instead, they are traded, shared, bought, sold, and spent using computer networks and blockchain technology.
What is a Crypto Wallet?
Even though cryptocurrencies are digital, you still need a place to store them. That’s where crypto wallets come in. while there are two options: a hot wallet that is always connected to the internet and a cold wallet that is typically a drive that isn’t connected to the internet. Your wallet is accessible through a private key. For hot wallets, those keys are stored online, but for a cold wallet, the user is responsible for the key and, should it be lost, they would lose access to their cryptocurrencies stored in that wallet.
The wallet is also what enables transactions. When making a crypto transaction, be it buying, selling, trading, or spending, the wallet is what enables the transaction by providing authorized access to your cryptocurrency.
How Do You Spend Cryptocurrency?
Now comes the fun part! You’ve bought your first coins, set up your first wallet, and you’re ready to do some shopping. How does this work?
There are a few options, including linking your crypto wallet to traditional debit and prepaid credit cards. Even Paypal offers the option to exchange crypto for fiat at checkout and pay with crypto that way. However, to do so really impacts some of the advantages of using crypto and that’s the lower fees, the speed, and the security associated with cryptocurrency transactions. For that reason, we’ll focus on how to spend your crypto directly.
To spend your crypto directly, you’ll want to first make sure the retailer you’re shopping with accepts cryptocurrency as a payment method. The good news is that’s quite a few these days and even more online than brick and mortar, though that number also grows daily. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Online retailers who accept cryptocurrency will offer an option at the checkout that enables you to pay using crypto, in the same way that you’d select credit card, Paypal or other options. In fact, Shopify, an e-commerce platform that enables websites to sell, includes it as part of their point-of-sale options. Simply follow the retailer’s instructions to complete your transaction using your crypto and crypto wallet.
In-person, retail shops have two options: QR codes or near-field communication (NFC) terminals. QR codes are scannable via your wallet app on your phone. Scanning authorizes and transmits the wallet data needed by the retailer to access your cryptocurrencies, so your wallet will then transfer the coins. NFC terminals are a contactless payment method that enables two devices in very close proximity to each other to transmit, in this case, payment data. If you are currently tapping your phone to pay for items using other payment applications, this is the same method, only you’ll use your crypto wallet.
Where Can I Spend My Cryptocurrency?
Sometimes, we barely notice how often we see something until we learn about it or become interested in it. For example, you may learn a new word and then, suddenly, you seem to hear or see it everywhere. It’s not that it wasn’t used prior to your knowledge of it, it just wasn’t on your radar. The same is likely true for where you can spend your crypto.
Until you bought it, you likely didn’t pay too much attention to all of the amazing retailers who accept cryptocurrency payments. In fact, the list, these days, is getting quite long and is pretty tech-heavy, but a few of the big retailers include:
- AT & T
- Home Depot
Additionally, some websites allow you to search specifically for products and companies that will accept cryptocurrencies as well as an Alternative Airlines site where you can search for flights. Some Etsy shops accept cryptocurrencies.
Even more retailers than those listed accept cryptocurrencies but require additional applications or conversion to fiat during the payment process (like Amazon). However, the more consumers who are using and demanding cryptocurrency payment options from retailers, the larger the practice will grow.
If you’re interested in exploring crypto coins, wallets, and payment methods, check out what PayBolt has to offer. We’re invested in providing the easiest and safest cryptocurrency payment methods and providing the lowest transaction fees to retailers. That means we’re interested in consumers learning about cryptocurrencies, how to use them, and how we can expand their use in the retail marketplace thereby improving access, speed, security, and, hopefully, savings!