Digitization is disrupting the industrial scenario to entirety. On the similar note, digital currencies are emerging as a perfect storm.
When we talk about digital currencies – Bitcoin is the first name that we can relate to. In the last few years, Bitcoin has gained all the limelight.
Earlier, it was quite impossible to find Bitcoin accepting merchant to purchase anything. However, now there are growing number of options for us. Being a cryptocurrency backed by technology, sellers are required to have platforms to accept it.
We all know that Bitcoin price is rising day by day. However, its acceptance by local vendors and shopkeepers is still in its infancy. Let us look at a couple of silver linings in the radar wherein bitcoins are accepted worldwide.
Who Accepts Bitcoin
Around the world there are around 200,000 merchants accepting bitcoins, still only 1% merchants around the world have started accepting Bitcoins.
Today, the best way to find Bitcoin accepting merchants is through marketplaces and aggregator sites. These marketplaces and aggregator sites gather a large number of supporting establishments together at one.
Let us first see what is the scenario of Bitcoin acceptance across the globe and then we can delve deeper to analyze the scenario from the India perspective as it is one of the most booming market in the world. If you wish to Buy Bitcoin with Credit Card or Paypal, do check our guides on that aswell.
Places that Accept Bitcoin
Tipping & Charity
Perhaps the most rewarding way to spend any money is by paying it for a charitable cause. Hence, bitcoins can also be donated at charitable organisations for ex: Wikimedia Foundation.
With over million of products for sale, Overstock.com has the option of paying in Bitcoins for a purchase made by the customers.
While waiting for stores like Amazon and Ebay to accept Bitcoins directly, some folks have found a workaround. We can use Bitcoins to purchase gift cards from retailers like eGifter, or Gyft .
This website allows you to purchase gift cards from more than 200 retailers. You can get everything ranging from a Starbucks coffee to flights at Delta Air Lines. Simply buy the gift cards with Bitcoin, and use them to shop at your favorite stores. You can also use the gift cards for yourself, or gift them to friends and family members. Just to add to your knowledge that you can also Buy Bitcoin using Amazon Gift Cards instantly.
Computers and Related Products
The electronics company Dell accepts Bitcoin payments. Add your computer, or other Dell device to your cart, and choose the Bitcoin option at the checkout.
Once you purchase your computer or laptop, you will be able to make similar purchases using Bitcoin. Customers are allowed by Microsoft and Green Man Gaming to use Bitcoin for adding money to their accounts. They can use this money to purchase video games, app purchases etc. for their computer, phone or Xbox.
Jewellery stores have started accepting Bitcoins now. For ex: Reeds Jewellers is one of the jewelry chains that accept Bitcoins. You can either shop online or at one of their physical locations.
Colleges have started to realize the value of Bitcoins and have begun accepting this as a form of payment for tuition and other fees. For ex: In Cyprus, University of Nicosia was the first to accept Bitcoin payments, however, several other universities are following behind.
In UK, University of Cumbria accepts Bitcoins.
In U.S, school King’s College in New York City accepts Bitcoins.
Even restaurants are not behind in the race if you want to pay with Bitcoin. The website PizzaForCoins.com helps to order pizza using your Bitcoins. You can simply place the order using Bitcoins, and the website will take the order to the store. You just have to sit back and relax while your pizza arrives. This site works with many chains vis. Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa John’s etc.
There are plenty of Travel options available that accepts Bitcoins.
For Hotels – There is a hotel chain – Howard Johnson that accepts Bitcoins, all across the world. For other hotel chains that don’t accept Bitcoins, there is a way around. The site TravelForCoins.com acts as a middle-man between you and the hotels. You can simply book your hotel through Travel For Coins using Bitcoins, and they will pay for your hotel via standard currency. Also, You can pay for a hotel with Expedia.
For Flights – There are a many ways now to use Bitcoins to book flights. One option is through the above mentioned Travel For Coins website. Here, your flight will be booked by the name you provide to them. The other is through the California-based online travel booking site, CheapAir.com that allows you to book multi-city flights using Bitcoins.
Further, you can take a cruise with ShipsandTripsTravel.com.
Also, Car dealers are also getting into the race, and while paying for fuel directly with Bitcoin hasn’t happened yet, there exist machines in the works!
Not just this, if you’ve got Bitcoins, Virgin Galactic will ride you to Space.
In a nutshell, more and more businesses across the world are accepting Bitcoins every day.
Future of Bitcoins
Bitcoin keeps on fluctuating in the price range. However, with the acceptance of Bitcoins at several places now, there arises a hope to see this alternative currency becoming mainstream. Its acceptance has already made few companies consider genuine investment opportunities. This further fuels Bitcoin’s journey to the mainstream.
This year definitely holds bright outlook for this currency. Now the catch arises to consider if Bitcoin can be the new norm after 2017? Perhaps we can not comment on this as of now. However, if there is one thing we can comment for sure, is that Bitcoin seems to have a wide appeal with several tech-savvy individuals globally. This point might certainly work in its favor.
Now let us see from the India perspective for what is the rate of Bitcoin acceptance have reached there.
Who Accepts Bitcoin in India
We are not asking you to discard your credit/debit cards altogether. However, Bitcoins are making inroads in India now and this might happen probably in future. India has around 50,000 Bitcoin enthusiasts currently, with 30,000 of them actually owning the currency. With growing ease of using them for purchases through mobile apps, bitcoins are transitioning now from being mere trading units to a whole shopping currency. Let us look at a couple of places where bitcoin is accepted in India.
- “Sapna Book house” (Sapnaonline.com) in Karnataka, is one of the oldest and biggest stationary segment accept Bitcoins in India.
- Bus ticket booking online portal “eTravelSmart.com”, offering 80,000+ bus routes, started this facility in May and sees an averagely five bitcoin transactions/month.
- Indsoft.com and Cyberls.com are web hosting service providers that accepts bitcoins in India.
- Reload.in is an online mobile recharge website accepting bitcoins for mobile refills.
- Academic institutions vis. “Dharwad International School” in Karnataka, accepts bitcoins during admissions.
Above mentioned are few amongst those merchants who have signed up and have started accepting bitcoins from customers.
- Coinsecure, an Indian Bitcoin Exchange, is more likely to introduce a merchant gate-away in the coming months.
- Also, Unocoin, an Indian bitcoin exchange, has launched a merchant gateway that enables business entities to accept bitcoins. Unocoin is trying to get more and more merchants on board to its platform as soon as possible.
- Zebpay is an app enabled bitcoin wallet, earlier meant for trading the currency. However, now this has diversified further and also used to purchase vouchers of Flipkart, Amazon, Bookmyshow, Freecharge etc. Moreover, Zebpay also allows its users to recharge their postpaid/Prepaid mobiles with several telecom operators vis. Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance, BSNL etc.
Future of Bitcoin in India
If you are googling some companies that started accepting Bitcoins few years ago – list was small and many of them do not even exist now. For ex: epaisa have stopped accepting bitcoins altogether. There is no denying the fact that most people use it bitcoin in India for trading purposes or as an investment. Bitcoin in India is yet to grow and boomerang!
The next few months will be crucial for the future of Bitcoins in India. Experts believe that if bitcoins are made illegal, it might drive users underground wherein the scope of regulation is bleak and the danger is high.
Whatever the outcome, looks like a unanimity between naysayers and supporters of Bitcoin regarding the ambiguity that has existed for years. If the government choose to legalise this cryptocurrency, then it should not take much time before one simply walks into a store, buys their favourite stuff and make the payment in Bitcoin within seconds.
So, That was it for the sites and stores which accept Bitcoin. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends!
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