Even at a time when the price of Bitcoin flirts with the $15,000 mark on a regular basis, it seems Canadians still don’t quite have a full understanding of where and how they can spend Bitcoins. The beauty of digital gold and all of the altcoins arriving on the scene nowadays is that they are completely borderless. They can be spent anywhere by anybody without fear of censorship or restrictions. The only restriction with regard to spending Bitcoin is the fact that many recognizable brand names and merchants still don’t accept it. It’s okay though, because as crypto adoption continues to spread across the globe, the number of options for spending Bitcoin will continue increasing exponentially.
Spending Cryptocurrency: The Role of Bitcoin Merchants in Canada
A consumer can’t spend Bitcoin that they don’t have, so the first step in spending Bitcoin and officially sending oneself down the rabbit hole is to buy some in the first place. Netcoins is recognized as a top cryptocurrency exchange in Canada. The site makes it easy to get started. Just verify an email address and phone number, deposit instantly through an e-transfer, or use a wire transfer or online bill payment to get the job done.
Side Note: “Spending” Bitcoin with Netcoins
The first and quickest way to ‘spend’ bitcoin is to convert them back into cash and sell them back to a crypto exchange in Canada. Netcoins makes it easy to both buy and sell quickly for a nominal fee.
The Easiest Ways to Spend Bitcoin in Canada
Aside from dealing directly with an exchange and selling Bitcoin back to it, the next easiest way to spend Bitcoin in Canada is to use a traditional money service or gift card friendly website to do so. Traditional payment processors like Visa and MasterCard offer debit card and prepaid options that allow users to preload cards with Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Services like BitPay offer access to this avenue for spending Bitcoin. The company caters to both individuals and businesses.
The upside to using Visa and MasterCard debit or prepaid options is obvious. The user gets to spend cryptocurrency anywhere because the merchant they are spending with is still receiving fiat currency if they choose to. The downside is that some of these prepaid options require annual fees, charge exorbitant transaction fees or require users to maintain minimum balances. Still, those who wish to spend crypto at many different places without having to worry about doing mental gymnastics the whole time should strongly consider this option.
Using Gift Cards to Spend Bitcoin in Canada
For those that don’t mind the mental gymnastics, buying gift cards as a way to spend Bitcoin is a great option. CoinCards.ca serves Canadians well in that department! Buy gift cards to large brand name products and services like Apple, Air Canada, Amazon.ca, Banana Republic, Best Buy and more. While gift cards from many retailers listed on the site will limit users to a maximum of $100 or $200, some merchants will allow users to purchase gift cards worth up to $5,000, so CoinCards is actually a viable option for big spenders believe it or not.
All of that being said, just because using a gift card website allows consumers to avoid paying fees at crypto exchanges, nothing in life is free. Buying a gift card with Bitcoin on CoinCards or similar websites can cost users more than 5% in transaction fees. Given Bitcoin’s volatility, paying anywhere between five and 10% in fees for a transaction is not exactly unheard of. It’s part of the cost of doing business in Bitcoin.
How Canadian Travellers Can Spend Bitcoin on Vacations
While CoinCards does offer gift card purchasing options from travel related companies like Air Canada, there’s an even more direct way to purchase vacations and trips online with Bitcoin. Users can do that through Expedia, one of the top travel websites in Canada.
According to the websites Bitcoin terms and conditions, crypto purchases on the website are powered by Coinbase. Transactions are guaranteed at whatever the current Bitcoin price is for 10 minutes, as long as Coinbase’s payment services are working properly or the website’s not down. Expedia does specify that in the terms and conditions.
Spending Bitcoin at Canadian Bars and Restaurants
During a time when getting together to eat or drink is something Canadians can no longer take for granted, spending Bitcoin at Canadian bars and restaurants is a great way to give bar owners some much needed business.
Torontonians can spend Bitcoin at Grossman’s Tavern located in Kensington Market, a pocket in the city that features a number of small bars and restaurants to check out. By hoppers in Vancouver and Montréal need not fret, there are options in every province across Canada. Steamed-food specialty shop Steamrollers in Vancouver accepts Bitcoin and in Montréal, diners who love burritos can use digital gold at Burrito Shop.
While crypto adoption at bars and restaurants across the country still has lots of room to grow, the economic hit this particular industry is experiencing as a result of the coronavirus just might inspire more restaurant owners to begin accepting digital currencies to try to lure in a more hip audience that has digital money to spend.
The First Canadian Sports Team to Let Fans Spend Bitcoin
The first Canadian sports team to give its fans an outlet for spending Bitcoin is not the Vancouver Canucks, the Toronto Raptors or even the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s actually a team most Canadians outside of British Columbia and even those residing out West have probably never heard of. It’s the Victoria Harbourcats of the West Coast League, a baseball league that has seen a small number of players make the transition all the way to Major League Baseball. Although Canadian sports teams have been slow in adopting cryptocurrency, many notable franchises south of the border are making the leap, including the Miami Dolphins, Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks to name a few. Still, it’s good to know that at least one sports team in Canada is on board with Bitcoin, even if it’s not a major league team.
Other Ways to Spend Bitcoin in Canada
Given the coronavirus pandemic forced the Canadian government to push back all kinds of programming at a municipal, provincial and federal level, one of the best ways to spend Bitcoin right now is probably on accounting services. That’s because Canada Revenue Agency is giving self-employed people until the end of June to file their taxes this year. Fortunately, TheTaxMan.ca in Toronto accepts Bitcoin for accounting services. Businesses who might need help with their information technology services on top of their accounting needs can count on The Tech Guys.
For those who are stressed out from trying to meet all of their business needs with Bitcoin, Stretch Yoga in Vancouver will get you in touch with your inner self and help you wind down in exchange for digital currency.
The Best Way for Canadians to Spend Bitcoin Online
Shopify is not just a Canadian stock market darling with an estimated market capitalization of $118 billion, it’s a Canadian e-commerce juggernaut that allows anybody to set up their own professional online store. The company has its sights set on competing in a league all its own in becoming synonymous with big online merchants like Amazon. The best part is, Shopify allows storeowners to accept Bitcoin and other digital currencies as payment seamlessly. This means shoppers whose favourite stores use Shopify as their e-commerce platform don’t need to worry about using credit cards or fiat to buy the products and services they want.
Donating Bitcoin to Charity
The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia.org, depends on user donations to keep its ever-expanding library of articles growing. Those donations can come in the form of Bitcoin. Anybody who wants to further the adoption of Bitcoin with a donation can donate to the Bitcoin Foundation as well.
At the end of the day, Bitcoin enthusiasts using Bitcoin to do business, make purchases or make a difference can find a Bitcoin friendly outlets using CoinMap.org. Now get out there and start spending those Bitcoins!
Written by Ayelen Osorio of Netcoins