It still takes some searching to find places to spend your Bitcoin, but the list is growing. From sports teams to gift card retailers to online outlets, more and more shops are partnering with sites like Coinbase and other digital wallets to make it easier for people to spend their cryptocurrency.
Restaurants and other types of brick-and-mortar businesses are starting to accept Bitcoin in person, but it's mostly just individual locations — for example, a Subway sandwich shop in Pennsylvania or an Indian restaurant in California. Right now there are at least 76 restaurants around the country, according to some estimates.
As of the time of writing, the going price for a Bitcoin is $621.69. If you've got some to throw around, here is a list of 10 places currently accepting Bitcoin as payment.
1. Virgin Galactic
If you have a few hundred Bitcoins lying around, feel free to put them toward a trip to space. The airline is now accepting Bitcoin for space flights on board the SpaceShipTwo. One seat on the six-passenger spaceship costs $250,000, and Virgin Galactic plans to operate flights out of Spaceport America in New Mexico by 2015. The Winklevoss twins, who are well-known for creating a Harvard social networking site and for suing Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook, bought their seats using some of their large Bitcoin stash earlier this year.
The popular blogging platform accepts Bitcoins as payment for upgrades and allows users to install plug-ins for accepting the currency on personal websites that use the free service. The feature has been in place since 2012. Wordpress said they use Bitcoin because, although their blogging platform is free, many international users are blocked because of PayPal and other traditional payment limitations.
Last week, Expedia, the online travel site, announced it will start accepting Bitcoin for hotel bookings. If people utilize the service, the company said it will eventually bring it to other areas of the site like air travel, car rental, and other vacation services. Expedia is using Coinbase, the international digital wallet for secure purchasing and keeping of the digital currency, as the processor of these transactions, so it won't hold the currency it receives.
4. Pizza for Coins
Order a Domino's, Papa John's, or Pizza Hut pizza with Bitcoin using the website PizzaforCoins.com and receive it at your door. Pizza for Coins prices fluctuates as the demand for Bitcoin changes, but a large, thin crust Papa John's cheese pizza is $0.0259 Bitcoin right now, or $16.32. Depending on what type of pizza you order and how popular Bitcoin is, that pizza could be pretty affordable.
5. The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay, the popular BitTorrent website for downloading music, movies, games, and software accepts Bitcoin as donation funds to keep the site up and running. Before, the site relied on banner ads for money, and the digital currency makes it much harder to trace who is funding the site. The Pirate Bay also accepts Litecoin, an open source digital currency.
Purchase gift cards for more than 200 retailers using the gift card retailer website Gyft, which now accepts Bitcoin as payment. Some retailers include: Whole Foods, Best Buy, Sephora, Gap, Sears, Victoria's Secret, Target, and Home Depot. All you need is a Bitcoin wallet to purchase the gift card and you're good to spend it at the store location or website. This is obviously an easy way to convert Bitcoin to spendable currency at mainstream retailers.
Online gaming company Zynga accepts Bitcoin as a payment option for tokens (Zynga's in-game virtual currency) for such games as FarmVille, CityVille, Hidden Chronicles, and others. It is the first major gaming site to allow the transactions via Bitcoin, though the games it offers have dropped in popularity recently. The company is probably hoping this addition will help boost revenue. Zynga has partnered with BitPay for this, which is a startup that is trying to be the main Bitcoin gateway.
Overstock was the first major retailer to start accepting Bitcoin through Coinbase. Patrick Byrne, the CEO, was a Bitcoin enthusiast from the beginning and made sure his company stayed ahead of the game by accepting the currency before almost anyone else. Overstock sells surplus and liquidated items, as well as new furniture, apparel, home goods, and electronics.
9. Sports teams
The Sacremento Kings and San Jose Quakes are two sports teams that now accept Bitcoin for ticket purchases and team apparel. The Quakes partnered with Coinbase as a digital wallet service, and you can also purchase food and beverages like churros or a beer with the currency while you're at the game. All you need to bring is your mobile phone with a digital wallet carrying your Bitcoin.
It depends on the individual seller, but the list of the vendors who accept Bitcoin for payment on Etsy is growing every day. Currently, there are at least 500 on Etsy that accept Bitcoin. All they have to do is add it to their profile so it will come up in search results, and sign up with a digital wallet. You'll know which ones accept by the "Bitcoin accepted here" banner on top of the shop page, or simply search the Bitcoin group on Etsy. The types of things vendors sell vary as widely as Etsy itself, ranging from jewelry to home goods to clothes to tech-themed products.
Lyndsey Gilpin has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Lyndsey Gilpin is a former Staff Writer for TechRepublic, covering sustainability and entrepreneurship. She's co-author of the book Follow the Geeks.