At the moment, only a handful of major retailers are directly accepting Bitcoin payments. You can buy clothes from Overstock, eyewear from Coastal and tech hardware from Tiger Direct, and that’s all well and good.
But let’s say you’re a huge Bitcoin enthusiast who is trying to promote the currency, or maybe you are just trying to keep your spending off the grid for privacy’s sake. How do you get your hands on, say, bathroom toiletries or groceries or movie tickets in Bitcoin?
Enter the gift card. Specifically, digital gift cards from Gyft.
If you are unfamiliar with Gyft, it is a San Francisco-based startup that allows you to buy gift cards from major retailers through a smartphone app. Some of their biggest clients include Amazon.com, CVS pharmacies, Fandango, and Nike.
Gyft began accepting Bitcoin payments a few months ago and seems to have found success.
So, here is how to get your hands on a gift card from one of their major retail partners with Bitcoin.
Step 1: Go to Gyft.com, or download the iOS app or the Android app.
Step 2: Select the retailer at whose stores you want to shop.
Step 3: Enter the amount in USD you would like to put on the gift card, and select the option to pay with Bitcoin. Gyft uses BitPay to process transactions.
Step 4: Shop. Just use the digital gift card when shopping online or in the store. Cashiers can swipe the digital bar code on your phone to accept payment.
That’s it. I realize anyone trying to achieve total privacy with his or her spending habits can’t quite get there because you have to create an account and use a smartphone to handle the gift cards. Still, for anyone trying to live exclusively or almost exclusively off Bitcoin, Gyft opens up a number of shopping options.