Bitcoin has had a meteoric year as institutional investors, investment banks and fund managers, such as Tesla, Square and JPMorgan, continue to back the cryptocurrency by including the asset and related companies in their portfolios.
The digital coin’s price has almost doubled so far in 2021, rising to $56,914 as of 11am GMT on 12 March.
But bitcoin isn’t just a store of value — it can also be used in some places as a form of payment, with select vendors already jumping on the wagon.
As the vaccine rollout around the world triggers reopening of economies, US luxury hotel chain Kessler also said this week its Kessler Collection group of hotels would accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
The group is making the move in partnership with BitPay, the world’s largest provider of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment services.
Here are some of the top places where you can pay for goods and services with bitcoin, if you’ve been nurturing a little cryptocurrency nest egg.
Heralded as one of the first major corporate entities to put its full weight behind bitcoin, Tesla invested $1.5bn in the cryptocurrency in February as part of its portfolio. Alongside that move, the electric carmaker also said it will soon accept bitcoin as a form of payment for its products.
The payment method will be “subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis”, but it means that soon you could buy a Tesla Model 3, which starts at $35,000, for 0.615 BTC.
Microsoft, one of the world’s largest software companies accepts payments in bitcoin to top up its user accounts.
Bitcoin can be redeemed as credit on a Microsoft account, which can then be used for a variety of its services, such as Xbox Live, Microsoft 365, OneDrive or Skype.
Others, such as Namecheap and Gandi, allow you to purchase web domain names using cryptocurrencies.
Amazon’s live-streaming platform Twitch, known as a hub for live-streamed events and gameplay, accepts bitcoin and select other coins as payment.
The cryptocurrencies can be used to pay for subscriptions to different streamers, tip streamers with the platform’s in-game currency known as Bits, or gift subscriptions to other users.
A number of places now accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for travel, flight and vacation packages.
Flight Centre uses Bitpay to accept bitcoin for transactions, as does airBaltic and private jet and yachting companies such as PrivateFly, JetFinder and The Yacht Break.
Expedia, the online travel agency, also accepts bitcoin as a means of payment via a partnership with Coinbase.
The Kessler Collection of hotels now accepts payments, making history as the first US luxury hotel group to do so. Its hotels will send customers invoices over email, and allow guests to pay via BitPay from their crypto wallets.
Lush, one of the UK and US’ most recognisable beauty retailers, accepts cryptocurrencies as a form of payment on its website. So too does major marketplace payments network Shopify, meaning that any merchant operating via a Shopify store can accept bitcoin.
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten launched support for payment via bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at merchants throughout Japan earlier this month, which has 95 million registered users.
City haunt and Scottish restaurant Boisdale reportedly accepts bitcoin as a way of paying for dinner, while Brewdog’s Canary Wharf bar accepts bitcoin and bitcoin cash as payment. The brewery startup also accepted bitcoin as payment for shares in the company in its Equity for Punks programme in 2018.
HOW TO GET THE MOST BANG FOR YOUR CRYPTO BUCK?
One of the biggest ways to shop online using cryptocurrencies is via gift cards, purchased with crypto through Bitpay and other crypto payment networks. Users can exchange cryptocurrencies for up to £1,000 at some retailers, including Apple, Amazon, Google Play, Uber and Spotify.
Many restaurants and coffee chains across the UK also accept bitcoin as a way of buying a gift card, including Wagamama, Pizza Express, Caffe Nero and Brasserie Blanc. Fast food restaurants are also a popular choice, including Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut, and takeaway platforms Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Asda and Argos are all major UK retailers that accept gift cards via Bitpay.
To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle