A survey conducted in the US last year revealed that 36 per cent of small and mid-sized businesses in that country accepted cryptocurrency, while 59 per cent of those companies purchased digital currency for their own use as well.
Companies like Microsoft, Wikipedia, AT&T, Intuit and Shopify are known to have accepted Bitcoin payments for their services. You could also buy flight tickets with Norwegian Air Shuttle and Virgin Galactic using Bitcoins. Virgin Galactic offers flight tickets only for space tourism, though! And at least one US-based Lamborghini dealer claims to accept payment in cryptocurrency. If you are a fan of Tesla cars, there’s good news. In a virtual conference last month, Tesla founder Elon Musk mentioned that his company would resume accepting Bitcoins after due diligence to confirm the percentage of renewable energy used in mining bitcoins.
Can you buy daily use items using Bitcoins?
The answer is yes, depending on which part of the world you’re in! Burger King and Pizza Hut in Venezuela, KFC in Canada and several Subway and Pizza Hut outlets in different countries accept or have accepted payment in Bitcoins. A lot of online platforms issue vouchers that can be purchased using cryptocurrency.
What about India?
India is slowly opening up to the idea of accepting it as a legitimate payment method. Unocoin, a bitcoin trading site, is now allowing its users to buy vouchers from over 90 different brands using Bitcoins. A registered user of Unocoin can use a Bitcoin worth as little as Rs 100 and as much as Rs 5000 to avail these vouchers.
Using these vouchers, you can buy Domino’s pizza, ice-cream from Baskin Robbins, beauty and health products from Himalaya, and even home appliances from Prestige.
How does it work?
According to the company, once the user selects the amount, the corresponding value of bitcoin will be displayed. After paying the amount, the user receives the voucher code and that is where the transaction ends – much like the Point Of Sales process, says their portal.
This is the first time that a virtual currency is being used in India for paying for goods and services. Bitcoin’s volatile price may cause some initial hiccups for consumers, but with time, the process is likely to stabilise. Megastore chains in India may soon start training their crew for this process.
In case of a refund, it can be paid in either the exact amount of Bitcoins or its value in legal tender (Rs in India and $ in the US). In any case, if the value of Bitcoin shoots up before a refund is issued, the customer stands to lose. These should apply only to big ticket purchases such as cars and motorcycles, the portal clarifies.