What exactly is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are not controlled or regulated by a governing body or centralized financial authority. There is NO physical currency, only a digital coin online.
While everyone is intrigued and interested in investing at this exciting time, not everyone understands how to spend or use their Bitcoin or other currency. The good news? It’s becoming easier to spend your digital coins every day.
How to store coins?
Before you can run out and spend your cryptocurrency, you’ll need to know how to store your cryptocurrency. Just like with traditional paper USD, there are several ways to do this. There are software wallets or online wallets that are accessed from your desktop, mobile wallets for transferring via your phone, hardware wallets that are on a USB device, or paper wallets that are a literal hard copy of your cryptocurrencies similar to cash. These will have two QR codes, one for sending and one for receiving cryptocurrency.
For a deeper look at these types of crypto wallets, see our previous post all about wallets and how to use them.
Cryptocurrency Debit Cards
One way to use cryptocurrency is to use a debit card design for spending it. With many major credit card companies offering these options, you’re able to spend your cryptocurrency anywhere cards are accepted.
Something to consider when investing in a cryptocurrency is certainly the utility of that particular currency. Different types will offer different cards and vary in usability, the most easily used being the most popular. For instance, you’ll find many more options for a debit card that uses Bitcoin than any other currency.
Retailers That Support Cryptocurrency
Though the list is currently not extensive, there is a growing number of retailers who accept Bitcoin or other currencies as payment. The Benefit of purchasing through these companies is the elimination of the fees associated with using a combination of wallet and debit card mentioned previously.
It should be noted that these online retailers often use third party payment processor (such as Bitpay or Cryptopay). Be diligent and do sufficient research on any payment options before offering payment, as you would with traditional currency.
While we’re seeing a rise in major retailers who accept cryptocurrency, popular payment processors are making it possible for small businesses to accept it as well. Shopify, Square and Stripe are all rolling out different methods of allowing businesses to accept Bitcoin payment from their customers. With these companies joining the world of cryptocurrency, we could see a rise in usability of Bitcoin and eventually other forms of digital currency as well.
(Are you more interested in trading crypto rather than spending it? See our introduction to crypto exchanges.)
Why Use Cryptocurrency?
If you, like most people these days, are using debit or credit cards as your primary form of payment as opposed to cash, you may be wondering if using a digital currency has anything new to offer you.
Transaction fees are generally low for core cryptocurrency transactions, since the network itself rewards miners with the coins.
With tradition currency stored in a bank, your money can be frozen or your transaction limited to certain amounts. This is a problem you cannot face while storing your cryptocurrency in your wallet using your unique key. Only you have access to the funds within your wallet.
Using cryptocurrency offers an added level of protection, since you won’t be providing anyone with sensitive banking information that could potentially be sold or stolen.
Negatives to Using Cryptocurrency
Despite the many benefits to using cryptocurrency to make purchases, there are a few setbacks. While more businesses are growing aware and accepting cryptocurrency every day, it is currently a small number compared to where you can spend traditional debit or credit cards.
With the exchange rates varying too sharply, the amount you pay or receive may be wildly different from day to day. With cryptocurrency being such a young market, it could be a while before these currencies reach their full potential.
Spending your Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency may seem intimidating at first. With a good crypto wallet and a debit card tied to your cryptocurrency, you will be able to spend these funds anywhere major credit cards are accepted. If the fees associated with these services seem hefty, there are a growing number of major online retailers accepting Bitcoin as payment, as well as options for small businesses and start ups to start moving that way as well. Be sure, as always, to do thorough research before diving into spending your cryptocurrency.