As of the fall of 2018 there aren’t many industries that have fully adopted bitcoin as a usable currency. In fact, there might not be any industries, so much as individual companies. That’s not to say there hasn’t been some heavy flirtation however, and there’s at least a possibility that this can give us an idea of which types of companies might be interested in accepting bitcoin in the near future, if and when it becomes more ubiquitous. So with that in mind, we’re taking a quick look at five industries that have flirted with bitcoin in various ways.
1. Travel Planning
Maybe because bitcoin doesn’t change when it crosses borders, the travel planning business was one of the first that seemed to take it seriously as a currency. Interest has since subsided, with Expedia being one of the biggest companies to stop accepting bitcoin after having done so at one point. However, there are still some air travel and accommodation booking sites that allow cryptocurrency transactions – most notably CheapAir. It’s difficult to say if we’ll see growing interest in this space, but here at least, there’s been more than flirtation with bitcoin.
Here too the flirtation has been fairly heavy, and this is ultimately one of the most broadly useful bitcoin applications to date. Online gift-giving sites like Gyft and eGifter were fairly early to open their doors to cryptocurrency, which in turn meant that people could transfer their stores of bitcoin into usable gift cards at any number of popular stores. It’s not the most direct process, but it does make bitcoin more useful in one sense.
3. PC Gaming
Bitcoin has broad appeal in the gaming world for the exceedingly simple reason that it’s all digital, and gaming is already conducted on digital platforms. It’s more natural to click a few buttons and buy a game with bitcoin, that is, than to try to buy a cup of coffee at the nearest shopping center in person with a bitcoin wallet app and a point-of-sale scanning mechanism. That being the case, a few companies have entertained the idea of accepting bitcoin for game downloads – most notably Steam, though like Expedia this particular company halted the practice.
4. Fantasy Sports
Plenty of people play fantasy sports with no financial stakes whatsoever, but particularly with the rise of daily fantasy, it’s frequently a cash-based form of entertainment. There are several platforms with different game types and contest styles, though FanDuel and DraftKings dominate the industry fairly thoroughly. To date neither has accepted bitcoin deposits, but FanDuel has run a “Bitcoin Bowl” doling out prizes in bitcoin. This at least indicates some curiosity between daily fantasy providers and cryptocurrency.
5. Food Purchase & Delivery
Subway was among the early major companies to explore bitcoin usage, and even back in 2014 you could buy pizza with bitcoin. Clearly it hasn’t become too widespread a practice to purchase food with cryptocurrency, but it’s hard to imagine too many bigger influencers than Subway and pizza delivery. Particularly given that food orders are getting more digital already (thanks to various online ordering and delivery systems), this early flirtation could be a sign of things to come.