Buying with Crypto: Where We’re At Now

If you’re a crypto enthusiast or early investor in an altcoin, you’ve likely been watching the valuation cycles of coins with bated breath over the past year. Back in late December 2017, Bitcoin reached an all-time high valuation of $20,000. Over Q1 of 2018, this number quickly dropped. Bitcoin recently fell to near dot-com levels, drawing out even more public debate and opinions.  While some skeptics think the volatility is indicative of long-term instability, supporters believe this dynamic is normal.

Whether you’re purchasing Bitcoin or altcoins as an experiment or as long-term investments in your financial future, there’s a strong possibility that you have yet to use your coins within actual transactions. People recognize that bitcoin and other altcoins will likely shape the future of transactions. But the question remains: is it possible to transact with digital coins now?

Business across verticals have started accepting Bitcoins as payment. Although these digital coins have yet to become ubiquitous across the online transaction marketplace, early adopters are pushing this payment option forward. From travel companies to artisanal online purchases, the more variation in business acceptance of cryptocurrency, the faster global adoption will likely occur.

The short answer is yes. The long answer is a bit more complicated.

Before we dive into a list of companies that currently accept cryptocurrency, it’s important to first note some of the barriers to entry. For one, the volatility as mentioned earlier is worrisome to business owners. Accepting a form of currency that could drop in valuation overnight does little to strengthen confidence. Additionally, transacting with cryptocurrency can be an intimidating process. Sending coins between users’ crypto wallets usually requires the sender to determine the address associated with the recipient’s crypto wallet, which is usually an elongated jumble of letters and numbers. Because these addresses are long and impersonal it’s really easy to make mistakes and either send to a non-existent address or the wrong recipient. There are, however, new platforms emerging designed to solve this pain point for both vendor and customer. Through Tip Blockchain’s streamlined user platform, complicated crypto addresses are transformed into easily discoverable usernames. The platform also offers a point-of-sale system for merchants to easily connect with buyers and facilitate intuitive payment processes.

Through platforms like Tip, it is likely that the barriers to entry will dissolve and cryptocurrency will become the go-to-payment mechanism in the near future. But if you’re already holding on to coins that you’d like to use for transactions here is a list of companies that will accept:

Watchbox: An early support of cryptocurrency transactions, this luxury watch e-retailer has been accepting cryptocurrency payments since 2014. In comments relayed to Mashable, their founder noted that this payment format is especially useful in facilitating international payments. He stated, “If somebody in the future is in Germany and they want to pay in Bitcoin, they’ll be able to transact that business within a matter of seconds. It’ll come with the blockchain warranty and our bill of sale, everything that customer’s looking for.”

CheapAir: CheapAir has long been committed to supporting travel customers who wish to transact via cryptocurrency. In April 2018, the company announced that they are finding ways to support more cryptocurrency options in the future, including Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin. The note of public support came on the heels of announcing that their processing partner Coinbase had removed some of their custodial solutions. But rather than shunning crypto altogether, the company made a renewed interest in supporting it in the future.

Etsy Vendors – As a marketplace that supports individual artisans and vendors, Etsy’s marketplace can facilitate crypto transactions. While acceptance may depend on the vendor’s wishes, customers can choose “other payment” setting when they are checking out. By choosing “other payment” the customer can then leave the individual merchant a note indicating that they’d like to transact with their Bitcoin.

As more individuals purchase coins, it is likely that more companies, big and small, across more verticals will begin supporting crypto transactions.

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