How To Use Bitcoin In Real Life?

The chances are that you have probably heard of Bitcoin.

What was once something that was relegated to the fringes of the technology community, is now a digital force to be reckoned with. It is on the news, in the paper, and even your friends and family are talking about it, but is it something you can get involved in?

If you are someone that is just getting into cryptocurrencies, or even someone that has been toying with the idea of giving it a go, you might not be quite sure how to use Bitcoin in real life.

But do not fear, in this article, we will give you a comprehensive overview of:

  1. What is Bitcoin?
  2. Bitcoin’s history
  3. How to use Bitcoin in everyday life?
  4. Should you use Bitcoin?

What Is Bitcoin?

First things first, what is Bitcoin?

Some of you may already know, some may not be sure. If you fall into the former category, then skip onto the next section, but those who are in the latter category- stay tuned.

The word “bitcoin” can be used for two separate applications – the token which is the piece of code that represents the ownership of a digital concept, and the protocol which is the distributed network that keeps a ledger of balances and transactions.

This system allows payments to be transferred between users without the need for a centralised authority of a third party payment provider.

ADVERT - ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Bitfinex banner
Bitfinex banner

All parts of the process are created and stored electronically, and Bitcoins are not a tangible asset – in other word’s, you cannot hold them in your hand.

Bitcoin was the first of its kind, and it has paved the way for many other cryptocurrencies to be developed. It has also changed the way the world approaches finance and transactions, to be turned entirely on its head.

Bitcoin is completely decentralised – no single institution or individual controls the network and instead it is maintained by a group of volunteer coders and is run on an open network of specialist computers around the world.

It also has a limited supply which is strictly controlled by an underlying cryptographic algorithm. A certain number of Bitcoins are available each hour, and they will continue to do so, but at a diminishing rate, until the absolute maximum of 21 million coins has been reached.

Bitcoin is also utterly anonymous in the way in which executing a transaction does not require any form of identity verification meaning those who have limited trust in banks or other financial institutions can happily use the currency and remain anonymous.

You can use Bitcoin in the same way that you would use a traditional fiat currency, except for the fact that you cannot hold it in your hand or keep it in a conventional wallet.

Instead, you must keep it in a specialised cryptocurrency wallet, and you can only spend or transfer it via blockchain technology.

The History of Bitcoin

Bitcoin was created by an anonymous software developer or group of developers that go by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.

The concept of the currency was imagined as an electronic payment system based on mathematic proof.

The idea was to offer a means of exchange that was completely and utterly independent from any central authority, and that could be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable, and tamper-proof way.

To this day and despite the increased popularity of Bitcoin, the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains concealed.

Since it was launched, the value of each Bitcoin has gone from $1 to over $10000, setting at the time of writing to around $7000 per coin.

No one can predict what will happen to its value, but many believe we could see it hitting as much as $1m per coin, as supplies start to run out.

There is still time to get involved in this exciting and disruptive new technology, and it couldn’t be easier to exchange some of your fiat currency for Bitcoin, get yourself a dedicated cryptocurrency wallet (your usual wallet isn’t going to cut it), and get out there spending your digital coins.

Read more in our guide to What Is Bitcoin and How To Buy Bitcoin.

What Can I Use Bitcoin For?

How practical is it to live on bitcoin in 2017? We tried it for a week from CNBC.

So now you know what Bitcoin is and you have a brief understanding of how it works, you might be wondering exactly what use it is to you in a day to day life.

Each day, more and more retailers announce their support of transacting in cryptocurrency.

From buying a beer in Australia or buying flights, to investing for your future or ordering a pizza – let us take a look at some of the weird and wonderful examples of Bitcoins practical uses, to inspire you:

Investing

The value of Bitcoin is incredibly volatile – the price goes up and down like a yo-yo and those that invested in it during the early days are now millionaires. Most people believe that as the supply of Bitcoin continues to run out, the value will go up and up.

For this reason, a large percentage of people that acquire Bitcoin do so to save it. The idea is that if you hold it for a long time, ideally until the supply of coins runs out, then you will be sitting on a small fortune that you can sell, or trade and make a healthy profit on.

While this does sound like a great idea and an easy way to make money, no one knows what will happen to its value, and you would be taking a bit of a risk by investing in a significant amount.

Trading

Many individuals that acquire Bitcoin use it to trade on online exchange platforms. As the value of Bitcoin is volatile and increases and decreases a lot on a regular basis, if you are shrewd and lucky there are substantial profits to be made on trading it for fiat currencies or even other cryptocurrencies.

This is also somewhat risky as it is impossible to predict what will happen to the value of Bitcoin, or a fiat currency so is sure you know what you are doing before you put your life savings into cryptocurrency trading.

Read more in our guide to Bitcoin Trading.

Buy flights or hotels

Yes, that is right, you can use Bitcoin to purchase your flights and hotel accommodation through websites like Expedia, CheapAir, and Surf Air.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can even pay for space travel with Virgin Galactic, although this may be a little ambitious for a summer holiday with the kids.

Pay for apps, movies, music, and games

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin as payment in its app stores which means you can download music, games and app-based services and pay for them with BTC.

Some musicians such as Bjork and Imogen Heap will also let you purchase their music in return for the cryptocurrency.

Pay for professional services

Did you know that some accountancy firms and legal offices also accept Bitcoin? As cryptocurrency gains traction and popularity, more and more of these companies are expanding their practices to accommodate this type of business, and as such, some now accept payment for their services in the currency.

You can also pay for tuition at several private and public universities, as well as some pre-schools around the world, with your Bitcoins.

PwC in Hong Kong is one of the leading names that is accepting BTC in return for their services, and they accepted the first payment back in late 2017.

Have a pint down under

If you are a Bitcoin enthusiast and you find yourself in Sydney, Australia in need of a beer, then you should head over to the Old Fitzroy where you can pay for your pint with crypto.

Go shopping for electronics

Bic Camera, Japan’s largest electronics retailer, offers customers the option to purchase any of their products with the cryptocurrency.

Buy some bling

It was only a matter of time before Bitcoin became a plaything for the rich and privileged.

If you fancy splashing out on a bit of bling and paying in Bitcoin, then head over to JavyEstrella.com where you can purchase any of their range with cryptocurrency.

Buy a new house, or island

You can now even purchase property and real estate with Bitcoin.

Various high-end property sites are advertising as accepting Bitcoin, and one Australian site was even offering an island for the equivalent of a mere $3.5m in BTC.

Have a cup of coffee

There is a coffee shop in Prague; the Czech Republic called Bitcoin Coffee that only accepts Bitcoin. You cannot pay for your morning perk up with fiat currency, or any other money for that matter.

Get a taxi

Planning a visit to Argentina or Hungary? Don’t forget to take your cryptocurrency wallet or credentials with you as taxis in both countries now accept fares in Bitcoin.

Not all taxis accept this method though so be sure you are in one that does before you run up a big bill!

Buy a coffin

If you live in or around St Paul, Minnesota or are planning a trip, then don’t forget to stop off at the Crescent Tide Funeral and Cremation home where you can not only pay for your coffin and service in Bitcoin, but you receive a discount as well!

Watch the Mavericks

If you are a basketball fan, and in particular a Mavericks supporter then you will be glad to know that you will be able to buy your tickets for the game using Bitcoin and some other popular cryptocurrencies.

Change your look, literally

You can also now pay for plastic surgery with Bitcoin in bodySCULPT, Manhattan meaning if you fancy giving yourself a whole new face and body, or even just making a few tweaks then you can pay with your hard earned cryptocurrency.

If you don’t live in New York, you can buy your flights with BTC and then pay for the procedures with it as well!

Donate to charity

Feeling philanthropic? Then you can send some of your Bitcoins to a range of international charities such as Fidelity Charitable, BitGive, BitHope all accept donations in Bitcoin, so there is no excuse!

Buy pizza

If you live in the US and feel like a big, old pepperoni pizza, then you are in luck because PizzaforCoins will get you a pizza delivered to your door in exchange for BTC.

Depending on where you live, there are also other companies that accept BTC in exchange for doughy, cheesy goodness.

You can also buy your burgers in Holland at Burger King with Bitcoin, but only in their Arnhem branch.

Pay your taxes

As of 2018, several US states are looking at implementing the ability to pay your taxes via Bitcoin.

In February, the Arizona Senate voted to accept payment of state taxes in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies that are recognised by the state revenue authorities.

Why Should I Use Bitcoin?

Because there really is no reason not to.

With more and more businesses and retailers accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in return for their products or services, there is no logical reason why you should not get involved.

There is no doubt that these digital currencies will be the way of the future and that technology such as the blockchain will completely revolutionise the way that we transact, purchase, and conduct business in every sphere.

It is not too late to get involved so get yourself some cryptocurrency and book that holiday you have always dreamed of, or, buy a coffin (you know, pre-emptively)- the choice is yours, just don’t wait until the last minute to give this exciting way of doing things a go.

Using Bitcoin in real life might not be as accessible yet, but it will undoubtedly get easier in the future with cryptocurrency becoming more mainstream and technology evolving.

Check The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges For Bitcoin.

SHARE

Alice is a professional writer, columnist, and blogger with a passion for crypto, tech, and travel. Originally from England, she has spent the last decade travelling the Mediterranean writing about her experiences and opinions. With a background in law and financial services, she welcomes the excitement and disruption of the digital currency sector with open arms.
Facebook Group banner