For those that might be new to the space, the process of paying with Bitcoin is almost always the same. The most basic version of this is quite literally to send BTC (Bitcoin) that is in an address of your possession to the address that is in possession of whomever it is that you want to pay. And yes, I understand – even that might sound complicated to some. So before we begin, lets take a step back for all those beginners out there and see if we can’t walk you through a scenario – or two – that is a little more relatable.
From the perspective of modern fiat then, lets explain how a single transaction works.
- You owe your friend 10 dollars for lunch last week: The next time you see him, you take 10 dollars out of your wallet and pass it to him. He then takes that 10 dollars and puts it in his wallet. He is much bigger than you and has a black belt in karate as well as being a two time olympic gold medalist. The transaction is finished and there is no way you can take that money back even if you wanted to.
- Your girlfriend – or partner (just to be sure we are in a zone of political correctness here) – is on vacation and needs money to cover the cost of extra baggage: She has bad credit and cannot get a credit card. Of course, one of the reasons she has bad credit is because she spends too much money and needs to learn to budget. To be fair though, you’ve lost 87.623% in the last year on your alt coin portfolio, so ya, there are issues abound. Anyway, her plane leaves 36 hours from now and she needs money to ship that extra baggage back home where it belongs. Her bank account is empty and she calls you, collect of course, asking you to deposit money in her now empty bank account (because she just had to have those shoes). You ask her how much she needs and the location of her bank book. You go to the ATM, put the passbook into the machine, and deposit the funds into her account – with a little extra of course, because you really don’t want to have to go back tomorrow and do it again.
- Your restoring an old car and have found a rare necessary part unexpectedly while driving home from a long weekend camping trip with your family: Because your kids have been driving you crazy for at least 3 days now, there is no way your going to drive around town looking for a bank to withdraw money. And because it’s a Sunday on a holiday weekend, even if there were a bank around, it wouldn’t be open. And because you needed that night cap after the kids finally passed out last night, and inadvertently forgot to stop at one, thereby having one too many and leaving your wallet on the chair which you passed out briefly on before finally stumbling off to bed in the dark (because the dam kids somehow lost the batteries the previous day), and when you woke up in the morning found the dog had used it as a chew toy and all your cards have been completely shredded, so really, the only option left is to write the nice gentleman a check. Luckily because of your beautiful wife and crazy yet charming kids the nice gentleman accepts your check for those parts that have made an otherwise weekend of insanity complete and utter bliss. You even manage to haggle him down a little bit before you sign your name on the line below completing the transaction. Happy with goods in hand heading back to the truck, you see those crazy kids of yours across the street putting quarters thy found under the car seat into a vending machine for ice cream, themselves completing a transaction of a different kind. In their excited joy as thy push past you into the back seat of the extended cab, all the while you watching that ice cream bar dripping on the floor mat in the back while your beautiful wife tries desperately to wrap up those sticks with tissues from the glove box, as you murmur under your breath next time your taking her car and you’ll be dammed if those kids ever set foot in your classic beauty on the way to restoration when you finally get it finished.
Pretty much the exact same story as above but your dog is actually a goldfish, which obviously no one takes camping, and even if you did, the chances that it could chew up all the cards in your wallet – well lets just say that if that was your story, your wife is so sending you to rehab: Anyway, this time you pay with your credit card by swiping the machine and entering your 4 digit pin number to complete the transaction. Of course there were no tissues in the glove box and while your wife was in the toilet and you were putting your new possession in the trunk your kids decided to use the receipt as a napkin to wipe the ice cream off their new action figure (paying no attention of course to all the droplets on the seat… sigh).
Anyway, I think you get the picture. Now compare all that – which I’m sure makes complete sense to grandma despite how complicated it is – to ‘just pay in Bitcoin’ Remember how easy I told you it was, all that is necessary is to just send BTC to the wallet of the person you want to pay.
Now, what I really want to do right now is link the video from ‘Zoolander’ where Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are standing on top the desk beating the computer with a bone to the backdrop of the soundtrack of “2001 Space Odyssey” in an effort to get the files locked inside. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure about copyright infringement on that one, so let’s just leave that image for those already in the know, or those curious enough to search the video themselves (hint: ‘zoolander computer’ should get you to where you need to be should you feel the desire). But I digress…
You see, the problem people have with paying with Bitcoin is quite simply for many, it just doesn’t resonate with what they are used to. The worst part is, it really is not that difficult as it seems. If you take away all the techno mumbo jumbo, well, it’s actually pretty straight forward. So lets try this again, the Bitcoin way.
- You owe your friend 10 dollars for lunch last week from when you forgot your wallet: You both take out your phones, you scan his QR code, send him 10 dollars worth of Bitcoin, and he pays the tab.
- Your girlfriend – or partner (just to be sure we are in a zone of political correctness here) – is on vacation and needs money to cover the cost of extra baggage: She sends you a message saying she needs some extra cash and attaches her Bitcoin address. You copy that address into your Bitcoin wallet app and send her the dollar value in Bitcoin she needs, plus a little extra just in case the price drops before she makes it down to the Bitcoin ATM in the lobby of the hotel you specifically booked her into for this reason.
- Your restoring an old car and have found a rare necessary part unexpectedly while driving home from a long weekend camping trip with your family: The only reason you actually stopped was because of a Bitcoin accepted here sign in the window. You haggle a bit, strike a deal, send Bitcoin off to the sellers wallet address via scanning his QR code, pay a little more for gas because you know the kids are getting anxious, and take them next door to the local grocer to get an ice cream bar before heading to the park and letting both them and dog stretch their legs while you and your wife relax in the shade before resuming the journey home.
- Pretty much the exact same as above except this time you opt to take them next door to the local restaurant to go to the toilet and have a strawberry banana sunday, because with no dog to worry about, well, why the heck not.
All joking aside, I guess it’s time to show grandma how to send Bitcoin. And by grandma I mean you, at least all of those who are far too young to actually be grandma’s but are stuck in what is increasingly becoming for transactions as the kids would say, soooo last century.
- Source: Shutterstock
As for locations that accept bitcoin, well, at present that’s diversified across varying degrees. Although there may not appear to be many merchants that accept bitcoin directly, through third party solutions such as gift and credit cards, the number of both physical locations and online shops who accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payments indirectly has this year alone drastically increased. In Buying Things With Bitcoin, a variety of companies, shops, and online stores accepting Bitcoin as payment are outlined in a fair bit of detail so please check out that post if you have not already for further details on this. Depending upon what it is one wants to buy and where, the details of spending Bitcoin on goods and services will slightly vary.
The Most Optimal of Options at Present
Bitpay offers multiple options for paying in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash through utilization of the Bitpay appand/or Bitpay credit card. , Bitpay users can choose between a host of compatible wallets to pay billing payments through email, online, and in person at a store. Compatible wallets at present include
For those that are curious about utilizing hardware wallets such as Ledger Nano or Trezor, bitpay has you covered there as well.
Of course options will vary depending upon whether you are sending payment online, through email, or paying in person at a brick and mortar location, but for illustration sake, there are three options available for users of the bitpay crypto transfer payment service.
Option A. Scan the QR Code: Scan the QR code to open the payment in your mobile wallet. Your wallet will lock in with the correct receiving bitcoin address and sending amount. Then, make the payment.
Option B. Send the Payment Manually: Copy the payment URL (beginning with bitcoin:?r=https://) from the invoice and paste it into your wallet’s Send screen. Check your payment details, then send the payment.
Option C. Open the Payment In Your Wallet: If your wallet is on the device you’re using to view the invoice, you can open the payment in your wallet by tapping Open in wallet. Confirm everything is correct, and you can send the payment from your wallet. (source)
Bitpay also offers the ability to apply and obtain a Bitpay Visa credit card allowing users to convert Bitcoin into fiat purchasing power via the Visa and MasterCard networks. For more information on this please refer to https://bitpay.com/card.
Cryptopay is another company venturing into this fray of utilizing existing infrastructure to facilitate Bitcoin payments. Seemingly limited to users in the U.K., Europe, Singapore, and Russia at present, I have not at present looked too deeply into this, but maybe one of our dear readers has and would be so kind as to comment below.
Other Bitcoin (and alternative cryptocurrency) merchant services that are taking advantage of this ever increasing space shaped by growing demand are CoinPayments, Coinbase Commerce, CoinGate, Blockchain.info, SpectroCoin, GoUrl.io, and CoinsBank. For more info on the specifics of these companies please check 8 Popular Bitcoin Payment Gateways for Merchant Accounts and Services, an excellent overview on the the subject published by CoinSutra delving into many options both online and in person for both merchants and vendors alike.
For more options beyond the scope of this post, such as using the Moon browser extension available for Chrome, Brave, and Opera to shop with Bitcoin Lightning on Amazon and other online stores, Bitcoin Gift Card options like eGifter and Gyft.com, as well as other related information on Bitcoin payment goods, services, and locations, please check out my previous post Buying Things With Bitcoin for the complete rundown.
However you slice it though, projects like these integrating Bitcoin payment options into mainstream pre-existing infrastructure clearly enhances what companies accept Bitcoin for payment and brings about at the very least, greater exposure and validity to the overall blockchain and cryptocurrency space helping to further more development for increasing businesses both online and at physical locations throughout various locations in countries accepting Bitcoin as payment in the future.
What the Problem Is??
The biggest problem by far is that we are unfortunately one solid app away from bringing Bitcoin payments to the mainstream. By this I mean that although there are both shops and online stores accepting Bitcoin, the process one has to go through is really at present no comparison to debit or credit card functionality. Full disclosure here, but upon concluding the into to this piece I have been stumped in a search for videos and posts to show just how easy it is to pay for things with Bitcoin. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of apps and videos that let you do so, but most of them are quite dated and/or not that easy to find information on. Basically, searching out online stores in the flesh that use Bitcoin seems far easier than a dumbed down version on actually how to do so. If your old enough to remember, we seem to be in that period way back when that entailed waiting for the attendant to get out that machine that carbon copied your credit card, placing your card inside, sliding the bar across the paper, and finding a pen for you to sign. I remember way back then thinking, well, I guess this is easier than going and standing in a bank line to get some money from the teller. Of course, that all changed with the advent of debit cards and remote access brought about by the advent of the Internet. In many senses the West is still dominated by such credit/debit card systems, and many areas in the East by cold hard cash. Just as in the case of the QWERTY keyboard designed and developed to prevent the jamming of the typewriter keys, the standard has reigned through as people tend to not want to adapt something that is already good enough. In fact the Internet is littered with advocates both for and against the switch to Dvorak and Colemak, and despite the few who have tried, most are happy sticking with the QWERTY irregardless of whether it be the fastest or most efficient or not (source). As with most things, we are creatures of habit and most people just really don’t care. Compare that to many young people who simply cant be bothered to type with anything but their two opposable thumbs on a mobile device, and stamp, sign, and seal my case in point. With the exception of all but the most radical Grandma, Bitcoin payments may never really be something they gravitate towards, at least not in the West.
As for those that want to help in usher the future of near instant and low fee transactions, well, although not perfected by any means, at least now there is are alternative options to Grandma’s centralized habitual choice. In the end, it may not be all that long in the grand scheme of things where simply walking into a mainstream financial institution and inquiring about paying a mortgage with Bitcoin or other currencies is not only possible, but common (How to Use Cryptocurrency to Pay Your Mortgage), but in the meantime, at least until we get mass clarity on simpler regulations such as how to pay taxes Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are sure to remain beyond the daily realm of all but the most adventurous of adopters. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that with the recent advances towards both adoption and regulatory clarity throughout many countries and regions of the world, the next 10 years will truly be something to behold – so much so in fact that when we are grandma’s and grandpa’s with our little grandchildren listening to stories on our laps of us having to climb over telephone lines in the winter blizzard months after taking a jet half way across the country just to search out a Bitcoin ATM to cash out before the next proverbial dump, they will surely whisper to their parents that we have lost our marbles and should be committed to a life luxury in the best old age home that Bitcoin can buy. If only they knew all that we went through to get to that point where our risk taking and trials allowed for their enabled entitlement of writing our ancient stories of as mere exaggeration and fantasy. As hard as I try, moving from a worldview where even deciphering paying Bitcoin with PayPal is shrouded in uncertainty to a place where other ‘payment of the future’ options have all but disappeared, is a task of immense imaginary foresight even for a true believer such as myself. And with that I reckon it’s time to bid you ado; for in the world that is truly free, the option to move with the times and progress toward what to me at least seems inevitable is clearly beyond me beating this death even more, in the end up to you.
**Please note: Although I have to the best of my ability done my due diligence in researching this piece, I am not a financial advisor and assume no responsibility for any losses incurred on the readers part for any investments or products supported obtained from this post. Please understand that it is the readers responsibility to look after and maintain their own finances and perform all due diligence on their own part for their personal and financial well being and safety and not rely on myself or others in this space to keep them safe. In addition, although I have done my best to only include what appear to be legitimate sources and projects, due to the sheer volume and scope of projects in this post, unfortunately I have not personally had either the time or the resources available to verify the validity of all the projects mentioned, so please do be sure the do your due diligence before embarking on using or sending money to any of the above projects or companies.
Interested in some of my other pieces on Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Cryptocurrencies? If so, be sure to check out How to Get Bitcoins, Where to Trade Cryptocurrency, Best Places for Trading Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies, How to Trade Bitcoin: A Not So Brief Nor Overtly Technical Overview, Ledger Nano S Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet, How to Purchase Ripple XRP, How To Buy NEO, How to Buy Ethereum Decentralized and So Much More, Bitcoin Machine Near Me?!?, Should I Invest in Bitcoin?!? Past & Probable Future Conversations with Myself, Jimmy D’s Answers to Bitcoin FAQ’s Especially For You: What Can Be Done With Bitcoin?!?, How To Pay With Bitcoin, How to Send Bitcoin: The Basics, The Importance of Learning How to Create Bitcoin Wallet Private and Public Keys, Buy Bitcoin with Debit Card: The Basics, Buy Bitcoin with Bank Account Deposits and Transfers, BTC Numericalized: How Many Bitcoins Are There?, Buy Bitcoin with PayPal: An Overview, Best Options to Buy Bitcoin with USD, Jimmy D’s Answers to Bitcoin FAQ’s Especially For You: What Can You Buy with Bitcoin?!?, and Bitcoin How It Works.
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