Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that has exploded onto the investment world in dramatic fashion, fluctuating greatly in price and making millionaires out of early investors. Although bitcoin has proven to be a wild ride for speculative investors, its main purpose is ostensibly to be a currency — an alternative way to buy and sell products and services. In fact, you might be surprised by what bitcoin can buy.
Keep reading to learn more about what you can buy with bitcoin in 2023.
Successful morticians are masters of customer service, making what’s usually an uncomfortable time in most people’s lives as easy as possible. Crescent Tide Cremation Services in St. Paul, Minnesota, took this idea to a whole new level when it began accepting payment in bitcoin for its services. While not a common request, the company does still accept payments this way. And it’s not the only one. These U.S. and Canadian funeral service providers also accept bitcoin payments:
- Taylor Funeral and Cremation Services (on-site cryptocurrency ATM), Aurora, Colorado
- Tranquility Funeral Services Inc., Mississauga, ON
2. Real Estate
Dubai is the ultimate land of excess. The tiny emirate boasts the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest laser light show and an indoor ski slope. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that Dubai is the place where you can use bitcoin to buy an apartment. In September 2017, the Aston Plaza and Residences Development in Dubai Science Park began accepting payments of 30, 50 and 70 bitcoins for some of its studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, respectively.
Direct-to-seller payments are still the easiest way to buy real estate with bitcoin, but it’s not the only way. Last year, Zillow reported that a Miami real estate agent sold a home in an NFT-backed transaction, where the seller was paid in ethereum and received a non-fungible token in the form of a digital image of the house as verification of the sale.
Other ways to buy a home with cryptocurrency include getting a mortgage from a crypto-backed lender that lets you leverage your bitcoin to finance your purchase:
- Moon Mortgage
- USDC Homes
That’s not to say that crypto mortgages are a good idea. In fact, they’re an extremely risky way to finance a home.
When it comes to digital currencies — another name for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin — the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is all in. The university was the first to offer a cryptocurrency course, the first to offer a digital currency degree and the first to accept bitcoin for tuition payments.
Many more colleges and universities, including two in the U.S., also accept bitcoin, although you might have to process the transaction through a third-party merchant. Here are a few schools confirmed to accept bitcoin:
- The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets program)
- Bentley University
- ESMT Berlin
One of the most unusual answers to the question “What can I buy with bitcoin?” is space travel. Richard Branson’s visionary company Virgin Galactic is sending civilian astronauts into orbit aboard its own spacecraft. About 800 future Virgin Galactic astronauts have deposits down on their trips, The Hill reported. Going forward, you too can secure a slot on a Virgin Galactic ship using bitcoin as your payment method.
If your wanderlust tends to be more Earth-centered, you can pay for travel using bitcoin with these companies:
- Berkeley Travel
5. Lottery Tickets
Investors in bitcoin must feel like they are playing the lottery every day because the value of the cryptocurrency fluctuates so dramatically. Now you can buy actual lottery tickets with bitcoin. The Jackpocket app lets you purchase lottery tickets for popular games like Powerball, Mega Millions and New York Lottery. These states allow ticket sales via Jackpocket:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
Although the practice is not yet widespread, you can use bitcoin to buy an automobile in some markets. In 2013, dealer Lamborghini Newport Beach in California reported its first sale of a car — a Tesla Model S — to a customer who paid entirely with bitcoin. Today, a number of dealers accept bitcoin payments, albeit through partners like BitPay in most cases:
- Vegas Auto Gallery, Las Vegas, Nevada
- RM Sotheby’s car auction
- Exclusive Automotive Group, Ashburn, Virginia
7. Anything at Amazon.com
Technically, you can’t yet use bitcoin to pay for your purchases on Amazon.com. However, there’s an indirect way to spend bitcoin on items in your Amazon cart. At Gyft.com, you can buy Amazon gift cards with bitcoin, essentially converting the bitcoin to cash. The cards never expire, so you can stock up whenever you want to “sell” your bitcoin and then spend them at Amazon.com at your leisure.
Here are some more workarounds for using bitcoin to pay for Amazon.com purchases:
- Cash App
John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.
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- Zillow. 2022. "Can You Really Buy a House with Bitcoin?"
- The Hill. 2023. "Virgin Galactic will launch first commercial flight on Thursday"