The Bitcoin Shopping Experience Is Lacking

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Does Bitcoin even really exist? eBay, PayPal, and a long list of majors still don’t seem to think so. Therefore, if you want to, for example, pay for a winning auction with cryptocurrency, you have to use some alternative method. For me, this means going to eGifter and buying an eBay gift card.

Spending Bitcoin Is Harder Than It Looks

I’ve bought a lot of gift cards on eGifter. It’s a convenient way that you can buy a lot of different major brands, plus a few random things, with cryptocurrency. On the face, it’s just a place to buy gift cards, but when you consider they’re as good as cash, it’s one of the primary ways to get your crypto out in the world.

Some will argue that you should simply use a Bitcoin debit card, but I say that’s asking a bit much from the casual user. What happened to me is simple enough: I selected Bitcoin Cash, was directed to Bitpay, and there I was asked what wallet software I was using. Bitpay has adopted the ridiculous strategy of specializing on a per-wallet basis, and as you’re about to find out, it’s not 100%.

I selected the wallet that I use. Thankfully it was on the list. It’s Edge wallet, a product of Paul Puey and his company, which was formerly called Airbitz. I scanned the QR code generated by Bitpay and found out it wasn’t valid for Edge wallet. Ultimately, I was unable to spend Bitcoin Cash. I was forced into spending Bitcoin, which I don’t like to do for multiple reasons – not only because I paid 85 odd cents to make the transaction, but also because I believe that’s one way you can subscribe to both philosophies: use Bitcoin Cash, hold Bitcoin.

But I digress.

When Can I PayPal You BTC?

I chose not to use Bitpay as an option. Luckily, eGifter has an alternative when it comes to spending Bitcoin.

The whole incident got me thinking about the Bitcoin shopping experience, and how much it’s lacking. Speaking of Edge wallet, its predecessor had one of the more interesting things I’ve ever seen: a directory of places the wallet could be used.

And what’s so hard about that?

There are places out there, sure, including and more.

Thinking about that got me thinking a bit deeper. Does Bitcoin even exist? If I can’t go store it in my bank account, and the places I want to shop don’t accept it, and I have no other incentive to try it out, then the answer for me, and probably most people, is no. BItcoin remains niche mainly because so many people have no utility for it.

Online shopping should be an area of rapid growth for cryptocurrency. However, the speculative market and user growth have a symbiotic relationship – it is, after all, the volatility of the former that attracts the latter. Perhaps we won’t see Bitcoinization of shopping unless or until companies such as PayPal have found a way to integrate crypto.

In the meantime, crypto-native companies like Bitpay could certainly do more to ensure their tech is actually working. People don’t like to struggle to pay for goods, after all.