After a massive surge in popularity in 2013 and the first half of 2014, bitcoin has been largely absent from the news headlines lately.
However, over the past few months, the number of mainstream retailers that accept bitcoin has grown considerably. Here are some of the places where you can now spend your bitcoins just as easily as (or easier than) using a credit card.
1. Overstock.com -- Overstock was the first major retailer to start accepting bitcoin in early 2014, and the company has reported several million dollars in bitcoin sales. Overstock has recently expanded its acceptance of bitcoin to its international customers, and CEO Patrick Byrne expects bitcoin sales totaling between $6 million-$8 million by the end of the year.
2. PayPal -- Although it may be a while until bitcoin is fully integrated into PayPal and eBay, PayPal recently announced its partnership with bitcoin processors, which will allow merchants to accept bitcoin payments via PayPal.
This is definitely a step in the right direction, and maybe one day PayPal's 100 million active users will be able to store bitcoins in their PayPal accounts, which would go a long way toward the "mainstreaming" of the digital currency.
3. Dell -- The computing giant has been accepting bitcoin since July. Customers can shop on Dell's website just like they normally would, then choose bitcoin at checkout as their method of payment. They will then be sent to Coinbase's website (Dell's bitcoin partner) to complete their transaction.
4. CheapAir.com and Expedia -- The travel website CheapAir.com has been accepting bitcoin for flight bookings since November 2013, and later expanded its bitcoin acceptance to include hotel and railway bookings. In fact, CheapAir has seen so much success with bitcoin that it is going to start accepting some other virtual currencies as well.
Expedia has recently ventured into the bitcoin ecosystem, accepting the currency for hotel bookings from U.S. customers only. However, the company has suggested that it may expand this in the future.
5. 1-800-Flowers -- Similar to Dell, 1-800-Flowers recently partnered with Coinbase to allow customers to pay for purchases with bitcoins.
6. Reeds Jewelers -- The jewelry chain started accepting bitcoin payments in June. This is a somewhat unique case among major retailers because Reeds accepts bitcoins in store as well as online. The company has said that it is pleased with the results so far, and that the average bitcoin transaction is higher than those made with other payment types.
7. Newegg.com and Tiger Direct -- The two computing retailers have started to directly accept bitcoins for purchases. Both websites also have a pretty good "What is bitcoin?" tutorial, and offer help for people who don't quite know how to buy bitcoins.
8. Gyft -- This gift card seller is an excellent "back door" that lets consumers use bitcoins to shop at retailers that don't accept them yet. And, if you buy gift cards with bitcoin, Gyft will even give you 3% back in the form of reward points.
There are gift cards available from over 200 different retailers, but some of the most well-known include Amazon.com, CVS, Whole Foods, Best Buy, Target, and The Home Depot.
9. The Sacramento Kings -- In January, the Sacramento Kings announced they would become the first professional sports franchise to accept bitcoin. Fans can pay for tickets, as well as purchases in the team store, with bitcoins. Team owner Vivek Ranadive has said that accepting bitcoins will eventually allow fans to leave their wallets at home when they come to games, and that he aims to create a ticketless and cashless environment at games.
10. Thousands of small businesses -- According to the bitpay directory, there are over 30,000 businesses and charities that accept bitcoin, and this number is growing rapidly. You can buy everything from dinner at a restaurant, to entertainment, to medical and health services.
It kind of makes you wonder just how many other large companies and small businesses will decide to accept bitcoin in the coming months and years.
John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Matthew Frankel owns shares of Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, CVS Health, Home Depot, and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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