If you are a cryptocurrency enthusiast, you probably are well aware of all the new currencies, the so-called Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and of course the exchange rates of all currencies and how to mine them.
For the general public, however, names, and rates of cryptos and the most known of them Bitcoin come to spotlight only when the mass media is covering them, i.e. when drastic changes are occurring. Bitcoin was last on the news when it passed the staggering 16 000 Euro price mark in December 2017. The price for one Bitcoin was just a bit more than 700 Euro in January of the same year. Today each bitcoin is exchanged for around 6000 Euro, it has a current circulating supply of 17.2 Million coins and a total volume exchanged of 5,726,256,209 Euro.
Prices of other cryptocurrencies seem to fluctuate more or less in sync with Bitcoin. Numerous crypto-millionaires and perhaps some billionaires have been made, and many could lose fortunes if they bought high and can sell only for a fraction of the price now.
Cryptocurrency has been debated a lot as either the future of money or just an investment instrument like other stocks and bonds or at worst a hoax or a pyramid scam where mostly early founders and creators get rich and others lose. The problem with seeing crypto as money is that there are hardly any places you can buy thing with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. You have to first exchange it for traditional Dollars or Euros in places like Localbitcoin or other exchange sites to be able to spend it. There are exceptions however. Here are a few ways you can spend Bitcoins, and in some case only bitcoins:
Dark Web products and services
Accessing the so-called Dark Web is easier than you think. Just download a Tor Browser and start browsing. Dark Web, which reroutes internet traffic through Onion servers is said to give users more anonymity and of course, anonymous modes of payment suit that well. Online stores on the Dark Web sell illegal items like banned drugs and prescription medicine, weapons and stolen items or credit card information, passwords etc.. There you can also hire a hacker, contract killer, a private investigator or a “revenge agent” if your are holding an incurable grudge against a foe. These sites and service not only accept cryptocurrency, but it’s the only currency they accept.
But don’t get fooled, the Dark Web is not as anonymous as you think, Tor network was founded and built by the US army and intelligent services to make communication from censored countries and between covert agents possible. Big enough players and people of interest could be tracked easily. The arrest of Silk Road administrator, Ross Ulbricht is an example of that. He is serving a life sentence for dealing drugs on the Dark Web.
There is an increasing number of online gaming companies accepting crypto. Companies like Microsoft, have recently started offering games and other apps for bitcoin. Others like this Minecraft server are actually using the bitcoin network to power their in-game currency!
Increasing number of online gambling sites also accept Bitcoin. Casinoproffa lists the sites which even prefer bitcoin to traditional currencies. As for why to use Bitcoin instead of regular cash or credit cards, the site lists the following reasons: Speed, bonuses, anonymity and reduced transaction fees.
There are not many shops or restaurants that accept Bitcoin, but much more than a few years ago. bitcoinrestaurants.net lists at least 83 restaurants where you can pay with Bitcoin. There are also travel agencies and service providers which accept Bitcoin, You can pay for a hotel with Expedia, book a flight with CheapAir, or take a cruise with Ships & Trips Travel. Galactic will accept Bitcoins as payment to take you to Space.
Sites like eGifter, or Gyft also let you buy gift cards using Bitcoins and the spend it on Amazon, Bestbuy or many other retailers. You can also give your bitcoins for charity or tip bloggers. spendbitcoins.com provides a comprehensive list of all the places you can spend Bitoins.