Expedia has become the latest company to legitimize the bitcoin craze.
On Wednesday, the travel site said it will start accepting the digital currency for hotel bookings, joining a growing list of well-known retailers and companies now accepting bitcoins. Coinbase, a third-party bitcoin payment processor, works with over 32,000 businesses that accept the digital currency, including Expedia.
While there are the expected online niche businesses accepting bitcoin, such as Reddit and 4Chan, more and more mainstream companies are starting to consider it as a payment option. Apple recently updated its application developer guidelines to pave the way for future bitcoin acceptance, and EBay’s CEO said recently the company is considering adding the option to its namesake auction site and PayPal.
Even tracking the value of bitcoin has reached the mainstream this year. On its eponymous terminal, Bloomberg integrated bitcoin tracking in April, offering live exchange information. Meanwhile, everyday bitcoin investors can turn to Mint.com where the site will track the investment alongside 401(k) and IRA accounts.
Once you’ve got a good handle on the value of your digital holdings, here are just some of the many places you can spend your hard-earned bitcoins.
Buy more than illegal substances.
Overstock.com started accepting bitcoin in January and after 50 days sales using the digital currency surpassed $1 million. More than half of all customers paying with the digital currency were new to Overstock.
Etsy has 500 vendors that are part of the bitcoin vendors group, indicating that the sellers accept the digital currency for their DIY creations. Adding “bitcoin” to the site search brings up even more vendor options.
Get the news.
Chicago Sun-Times, the 167-year-old newspaper, will take your digital payments for its print or online subscriptions.
Pay your bills.
Dish Networks announced in May that customers can pay their monthly bills online using bitcoin, becoming the largest company to do so.
Catch a game.
The NBA’s Sacramento Kings and MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes are two sports teams that accept bitcoin for ticket purchases, gear and, for the Quakes, even a churro or beer at the stadium.
Make a donation.
The Federal Election Committee approved bitcoin for political campaign contributions. Congressman Jared Polis’ campaign was the first to start soliciting donations using the digital currency and has processed more than $1,000 worth of bitcoin since the May debut.
Hitch a ride.
Virgin Galactic welcomes bitcoins for its commercial space flights. “Virgin Galactic is a bold entrepreneurial technology,” Sir Richard Branson told CNBC. “It’s driving a revolution. And bitcoin is doing just the same when it comes to inventing a new currency.”
Do serious business.
Wedbush Securities, a leading financial services provider, accepts bitcoin payments for its research coverage.
TechCrunch opened up an option to attend its recent Disrupt Conference by using the digital currency to cover the nearly $3,000 general admission fee.
And many more.
WordPress, OkCupid, Zynga and Cheapair.com are also all on board with bitcoin payments.