Although most cryptocurrencies are used as investments, they carry more functionality than you may realize.

Over recent years, Bitcoin and Ethereum have undergone upgrades geared towards improving transaction speeds and functionality.

And as crypto evolves, we’ll see it emerge into more regular uses—but where can coins like BTC and ETH be used today? Could they really become popular as a currency as well as an investment? Well, with a wide range of weird and wonderful use cases already available, we’re looking at a bright future for crypto usability.

1. Shop in Store Without Converting to Fiat

CoinMap showing locations in London that accept crypto payments

Although we’ve become used to seeing new online retailers confirming that they’re willing to accept crypto payments online, and the arrival of PayPal’s acceptance of crypto has opened the door to millions of global stores, it’s important to note that there’s a rapidly growing array of renowned brick and mortar outlets that accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Companies like Starbucks, Whole Foods, Home Depot, Baskin-Robbins, GameStop, and Crate + Barrel have all confirmed that they’re accepting cryptocurrency transactions (though this may not be the case for every brick-and-mortar location).

Furthermore, fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King have confirmed that they’re looking at incorporating crypto payments into their offerings.

For crypto holders worldwide, there is a growing range of apps and maps that can help show which stores accept crypto. Pictured above is CoinMap, an interactive map that lists all the stores, cafes, social venues, and ATMs that accept crypto.

2. Convert to Domestic Currencies at a Crypto ATM

Can’t pay in BTC when you’re in a shop? No problem; there are also more than 38,000 cryptocurrency ATMs active worldwide that can convert your crypto into domestic currency to use wherever you may be.

In the future, as cryptocurrency becomes faster with fewer transaction fees, holding crypto and converting to local currency at an ATM could become a great way of making payments without having to pay conversion fees on a card.

We’ve already seen that CoinMap offers a great service in highlighting ATMs around the world, but it’s also worth mentioning Coin ATM Radar, which also includes a live counter showing the range of crypto services currently available.

3. Pay Freelancers for Their Work

Cryptocurrency can also be a big help for matters of productivity. Crypto can be used to pay freelancers for their services without encountering currency or border restrictions. Whether it’s an odd job or a key project for your business, cryptocurrency payments and salaries are becoming a popular way of paying staff.

Because it’s built on blockchain technology, crypto can be easier to organize, manage, and pay freelancers for the work they do, and platforms like Gitcoin, LaborX, and Ethlance already offer platforms for freelance work that pays in crypto.

4. Become a Lender by Offering P2P DeFi Loans

Thanks to the immutable nature of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency-based peer-to-peer lending makes it possible to issue loans through smart contracts that can automatically collect repayments at the agreed interest rates.

Numerous decentralized finance products are available today, with many firms branching into P2P lending platforms.

Lending platforms like SALT and BlockFi offer P2P lending solutions, which can be a great way for those who like to invest in crypto to put their coins to work. P2P lending can help pave the way for a passive income without necessarily having to worry about the rise and fall of cryptocurrency values.

5. Make Donations Online

Jar on its side with coins spilling out

The most rewarding way of spending your cryptocurrency is through charitable crypto donations. Whether you’re making a micro-donation to the author of a good article via a WordPress plugin, tipping your favorite streamer, or donating to a charity that accepts crypto, there are many web functions and features that accept donations in BTC and other cryptocurrencies.

In fact, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked the world, the Ukrainian government moved to accept cryptocurrency donations, with many investors seeking to offer support.

6. Build Yourself a Website

It’s even possible for you to spend your crypto on personal or business endeavors. Thanks to Namecheap’s cryptocurrency payment support, we’re free to spend BTC on securely buying domains and creating websites.

Specifically accepting bitcoin as a payment method, Namecheap welcomes the cryptocurrency alongside traditional PayPal and credit card purchases.

7. Buy Tickets for Sporting Events

Cryptocurrency marketing is rife within the world of sports, and this can be a good thing for those who invest in crypto while harboring a keen interest in sporting events.

Today, a growing number of sports teams have announced that it’s possible to buy tickets to events via cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In the world of soccer, Spain’s RCD Espanyol and Mexico’s Tigres are two examples of world-renowned teams that accept crypto.

Elsewhere in the US, NHL team the San Jose Sharks and baseball team the Oakland Athletics have both announced that they’re accepting crypto payments in return for some tickets. In March 2021, the Mark Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks basketball team announced that they would accept payments in Dogecoin via BitPay.

8. Purchase Gift Cards

Hand holding blank white gift card

Whether they’re gifts for friends and family or simply a more straightforward way of getting your BTC converted into money for your PlayStation Store wallet, there’s also a range of gift card options available to purchase with crypto.

Thanks to prominent gifting platforms like Bitrefill, it’s possible to purchase from a massive range of gift cards that carry many practical uses for firms like PlayStation, Amazon, Steam, Best Buy, Uber, and Spotify, among many more household names. Essentially, even if your favorite store is yet to accept crypto, Bitrefill’s gifting options mean that this doesn’t have to be an issue.

9. Book Your Next Holiday

The travel industry has moved quickly regarding cryptocurrency acceptance, and a growing list of holiday services have opted to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

Expedia stands as one of the world’s largest travel booking agencies, and the platform now accepts BTC for hotel bookings and intends to introduce crypto payments for purchasing flights, too. Elsewhere, AirBaltic is another name that accepts bitcoin payments for flights.

If you’ve got your sights set a little further afield, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial space travel company, also accepts bitcoin payments.

10. Take Out DeFi Insurance

Because of the decentralized nature of blockchains, it’s possible to take out insurance policies that can be kept safe and secure with no interference from middlemen.

So how could decentralized insurance claims work without central parties? Well, smart contracts within decentralized insurance can be instructed to pay out as soon as the terms of the contract have been met.

To help illustrate this, Hedera uses the example of insurance against drought scenarios. When a smart rain gauge is connected to a smart contract, the contract can self-execute when a drought occurs. This can work with a variety of terms and is already in play today.

DeFi terms like Nexus Mutual, Superscript, and InsureAce Protocol all offer forms of Decentralized finance insurance, and this list is likely to grow further in the age of Web3.

So Many Ways to Spend Crypto

While cryptocurrency is still largely seen as an investment option today, this mass mindset will likely change in the coming years as blockchain tech grows and the age of the metaverse begins to truly dawn. As an immutable digital ledger, the possibilities for safe and efficient spending beyond borders are virtually limitless, so it’s definitely worth looking out for ways to make your crypto go further.