This November, The Fintech Times is looking to broaden the understanding of digital currencies, ranging from blockchain’s use outside of crypto to CBDCs, in an attempt to replace the notion that digital currencies are a synonym for crypto.
With Cryptocurrency continuing to gain popularity, many crypto novices may be wondering: what exactly can you do with it? While some people are happy to treat cryptos as an investment, for example buying bitcoin in the hopes that your investment will grow and you’ll make some money, crypto is actually a fully useable currency.
While it’s true you’re still relatively limited as to where you can buy things with your cryptocurrency stash, the number of institutions accepting the tokens is growing. Often, the easiest way of making a purchase is with a crypto debit card. These cards are preloaded with your crypto, and while you spend your assets the retailer receives fiat money as payment.
So, what exactly can you buy with cryptocurrency?
The answer to that question is, well, anything. Of course, it does depend on whether the merchant accepts the currency to begin with, but you can buy a whole host of products from e-commerce sites using bitcoin and other currencies.
Speaking on this, Paolo Ardoino, Chief Technology Officer at Bitfinex said: “Over the past year, we have seen a massive increase in companies leveraging digital tokens as a payment method. The list has grown to include everything from hotel reservations to mortgages and retail. Interestingly, one of the main drivers of crypto payments we have seen has been the Lightning Network.
“The Lightning Network is a second layer technology applied to bitcoin that uses micropayment channels to scale its blockchain’s capability to conduct transactions more efficiently. With the help of the Lightning Network, transactions are faster, less costly, and more readily confirmed than those conducted directly on the bitcoin blockchain. The Lightning Network has the potential to ensure that consumers can buy almost anything with digital tokens in the future.”
On the other side, Brock Pierce, Bitcoin Foundation Chairman, said: “Every month, more companies are accepting crypto for purchases, but at the same time, most investors and holders of cryptocurrencies do not want to spend them, as they are using them more as an inflation hedge and store of value. People are starting to use stablecoins as means of payment for many industries as well. Crypto has no ceiling as long as governments around the world continue to endlessly print fiat money.”
The first two properties in the oceanside projects of Aurora and Saudade, with a total value of €4.1 million, were sold in Portugal by Prometheus International and paid for in cryptocurrency. This sale makes it the first and most expensive luxury real estate purchase in Portugal since the blockchain revolution.
Priyesh Patel, CEO of Prometheus, revealed today that the company secured an agreement in August to sell two luxury houses, paid using Cardano cryptocurrency.
The company has developed new protocols that enable integration of this new area of markets with its domestic KYC requirements to conclude the transaction in Euros prior to registration and make it compliant with European laws.
These aren’t the only luxury properties that have been bought or sold via crypto, with the sale of real estate becoming more and more common, particularly to promote a property and create a buzz around the sale.
Some car dealers are now accepting bitcoin, and not just the big names either. Not only have several Lamborghini dealerships started offering bitcoin as a payment method, but even smaller, local dealerships offer the option to customers
Of course, Bitcoin was dealt a bit of a blow in this area after Tesla allowed the sale of their cars in bitcoin, and then announced they would no longer accept the payment method a few months later touting climate concerns.
Perhaps surprisingly, the insurance industry is even embracing crypto, with Swiss insurer AXA announcing earlier this year that it had begun accepting bitcoin as a mode of payment for all of its lines of insurance except for life insurance (due to regulatory issues.)
AXA is the first all-lines insurer to offer this solution, with the new payment option available to all private customers.
“This is AXA’s response to growing demand from its customers for alternative payment solutions, with new technologies playing an ever-greater role,” said Claudia Bienentreu, Head of Open Innovation at AXA Switzerland.
Many luxury and high-end goods makers and retailers have begun to accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Online luxury retailer BitDials offers high-end watches, and many other retailers have followed suit, offering premium brands like Rolex and Patek Phillippe. BitDials also launched a crypto series of luxury watches, inspired by cryptocurrencies and verified by blockchain technology.
When it comes to accepting cryptocurrency, it really does come down to the merchant. It may surprise you just how many retailers are willing to accept crypto as payment, even in more innocuous places like groceries or gift shops. It’s not all about the luxury high-end market, crypto really can crop up everywhere.