If cryptocurrency is, at its core, just like any other currency, how do we actually use it? Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t actually coins and they don’t come in a paper format. For the most part, this limits their use to online and debit purchases. But how does that work and who accepts them anyway?
How to Store Cryptocurrencies
We store cash in our wallets. The same goes for cryptocurrencies. The currency is stored in a digital wallet, provided by software companies, online platforms, or hard drive wallets (the form most commonly used in the early days of cryptocurrency). These wallets are often associated with specific companies and their respective goods and services. For example, an online widget provider might develop its own cryptocurrency, its own wallet, and then allow you to use the two to purchase goods from its stores.
Where to Spend Cryptocurrencies
While Bitcoin initially developed a bad rap for its use as a currency between criminals, it has evolved into one of the most commonly used cryptocurrencies. A worthy number of businesses today accept it as a form of payment. Some of these include:
There are also a number of prepaid and debit card service providers that allow users to spend cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in everyday brick-and-mortar stores.
Should You Adopt It?
So, it’s functional. It’s secure. It’s more widely used than it has been in the past. But is it for you? That depends on your level of comfort with the technology and its relevance to your purchasing habits. Some of the advantages to spending with cryptocurrency include:
Peer to peer sharing: This function allows users to share funds simply, securely, and inexpensively (this is also what made it so appealing to aforementioned criminals).
Risk management: Use of credit and debit cards leaves businesses open to a number of risks, most notably a lack of funds on the part of the purchaser. Use of cryptocurrency mitigates this risk.
Investment: We’ve touched on this already, but a number of cryptocurrencies can be seen as appreciable assets rather than a medium of exchange. This comes with its own risks (large risks, in the eyes of some), but it’s an option, nonetheless.
We think there’s a lot more development to occur before widespread use is adopted. It’s a new technology, people are leery, and we’re all still trying to root out its place in our world. That said, those who are curious should certainly look into their options. At the very least, it might be fun to try.