Throughout 2017 and into this year, the conversation about bitcoin (and altcoins) has changed fairly dramatically. It was a gradual change, so it’s not something people have really been talking or writing about. But where we once looked at cryptocurrencies very much as hybrids – one part currency, one part financial asset – we’ve begun to consider them almost solely as commodities. Wallets and exchanges are viewed largely as investment platforms, and conversations about price fluctuations revolve around the idea of making gains over time.
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In some ways this is logical. The definition of bitcoin as a commodity actually isn’t airtight when you think about what a commodity technically is. One nice write-up comparing classifications put it pretty clearly, saying a commodity derives its value from its use as a raw material to meet a fundamental need. Even the biggest proponents of cryptocurrency probably wouldn’t say it meets that definition. Sure, it has value (though not as a raw material), and it meets desires (though not fundamental needs). But it’s not quite a perfect fit for the standard definition. Thinking of cryptocurrencies in vague terms as investment assets, however, makes sense. In the case of bitcoin and a few others, prices have almost gotten too high for them to mirror any kind of ordinary currency. It makes them feel more like stocks.
Despite this transition in how we consider cryptocurrency, however, it’s worth remembering that we can still use it – particularly bitcoin – as a day-to-day currency. We all know that select merchants and online stores accept bitcoin directly. But there are a few places and ways to spend bitcoin that you might be less familiar with that are well worth knowing about.
Perhaps this falls into the category of major online stores that accept bitcoin, but it deserves its own space. For whatever reason, travel booking sites and other related platforms have been among the more enthusiastic adopters of cryptocurrency in recent years. The Points Guy, a site devoted to travel advice and helping people save money, recently updated a list of participating airlines and agencies that accept cryptocurrency payments – including Cheapair.com, Expedia, and even BTCtrip.com, a travel agency founded on bitcoin payments.
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The first thing that comes to mind regarding online gaming might be Steam, which has become the top service for downloading games of all kinds. Steam once accepted bitcoin but has actually stopped doing so. Online gaming as it relates to casino activity, however, has become a busier market for cryptocurrency. Depositing using bitcoin is perfectly possible at a lot of major gaming platforms nowadays, and in fact there are even bitcoin-specific casino platforms emerging as well. This is one area in which the anonymity and security of cryptocurrency tends to be greatly appreciated.
It’s surprising, frankly, that cryptocurrency debit cards haven’t gotten a little bit more publicity than they have. The most basic problem in this entire space is that a lot of people love the idea of using bitcoin but can’t find enough places to spend it. That problem is more or less solved by bitcoin debit cards, which help bridge the bitcoin world with traditional finance. Different cards work in different ways, but you’re essentially able to load a card that you can use just about anywhere with cryptocurrency funds, rather than with your bank account.
CaptainAltcoin's writers and guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the mentioned projects and businesses. None of the content on CaptainAltcoin is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CaptainAltcoin.com