If the evidence of the last decade is anything to go by, cryptocurrencies are poised to be a long-term success as an asset class. But crypto also aspires, and has always aspired, to represent a monetary paradigm shift beyond that. Whether or not we ever reach that point is still up for debate, but one thing that has continued to fuel “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) among skeptics is the question of practical uses.
Right now, cryptocurrency is not useful enough to represent any true paradigm shift. And yet, there are more ways to use it than many might realize. Below is a selection of popular options that are already in play.
Lamborghinis are something of a meme among the internet crypto and investment community, but there are in fact a number of car dealerships that will now accept crypto as payment. Last year, Tesla caused a bit of a storm in the community when it declared it would stop accepting bitcoin for the time being (though it may restart). But in the meantime, others have continued to join the club, such as real-time digital retail platform CarNow.
2. In-Game Assets
These are a class of NFT that, aside from being bought and sold like art NFTs, can be enjoyed inside a video game’s world. Thriving marketplaces like OpenSea and Axie Infinity Marketplace will be joined in Q2 of this year by Gamestop, which has risen phoenix-like with partner Loopring. In short, these platforms are steadily working to make crypto and related assets practically useful within video games (to say nothing of other services where games can be purchased with cryptocurrency).
Charities small and large are now taking donations in bitcoin and other cryptos. Save the Children, for example, has been accepting these assets for nearly a decade already! It’s a popular option among celebrities, too. For instance, rapper Drake recently donated a million dollars’ worth of bitcoin to LeBron James’s charity.
4. Online Poker Deposits
After seeing a boom in the mid 2000s, online poker has remained extremely popular for the better part of two decades, both in the U.S. and around the world. And among people who play real-money online poker, as opposed to “play-money” alternatives, bitcoin is beginning to become a popular way to fund accounts. This is due in no small part to the relatively fast and simple registration, deposits and transactions enabled by cryptocurrency.
Popular trading platform eToro is one of a number that not only support crypto trading, but will happily accept cryptocurrency in stock purchases. The question of which is the better investment is down to you — although far from non-volatile, stocks are a more tightly regulated asset class for the time being, and are therefore seen by some as a safer long-term investment option. But whether you opt to buy stocks or trade crypto directly, you do now have the option of funding the venture with your own digital assets.
Since April of 2021, people have has the option of using bitcoin to purchase insurance with big-time insurer AXA. Regulatory issues have stood in the way of this practice extending to life insurance, but most if not all other kinds are covered. Meanwhile, in the blockchain world itself, a number of NFTs have become sufficiently valuable that companies such as Coincover (which accepts bitcoin) have moved in to insure them.
7. Almost Anything Else Money Can Buy
Take this one with a grain of salt, because it doesn’t mean that all stores, online outlets, etc. are accepting crypto directly. However, payment processor Visa has made it possible to spend your crypto in day-to-day shopping and dining, thanks to its cards that automatically exchange crypto quantities for the fiat currency of choice at any sales terminal that accepts debit cards. Just bear in mind that the sale of crypto now constitutes a taxable event, and factor this in when you load up your card and spend with crypto
Some of the markets for goods and services that put crypto front and center are already reaching maturity, and other potential heavyweights are either getting in on an investment level or integrating crypto into their mainstream platforms. With technical barriers to using crypto disappearing and platform security improving in many cases, expect the trends to continue.