In 2020, since COVID-19, everything in the world got stuck. The pandemic has accelerated digitalization that started many years ago as retail companies and services needed to sustain their businesses not to lose everything. A plethora of companies has reorganized business management to save the sinking ships, turning all the processes upside down.

We also saw the proliferation of IT companies, the appearance of innovative approaches in such industries as fashion, beauty, art, food delivery, AR, i-gaming, and e-sport.

In view of such a shift to digital activities, crypto payments became widespread among online services and retail. Now you can buy, exchange, trade, and sell bitcoin instantly whenever you need it. So what virtual currency is and which industries and companies now widely accept BTC?

Payment methods evolution

Virtual currency is digital money that any financial institution does not manage. Nowadays, more than 4,000 various cryptocurrencies are listed. Among them in great demand are Bitcoin, Ethereum, DOGE, Ripple, etc. Since the first cryptocurrency burst, many companies started accepting it as a payment method.

Let’s have a closer look at domains where the transformation passed and which companies started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.

There’s a new wind blowing in IT services

Overstock

Overstock.com forged ahead of Microsoft and PayPal in going crypto. CNN reported in 2018 that Overstock was primarily a virtual currency company then, a misrepresentation based on the online retailer’s big presence in blockchain technology. Before COVID propelled Overstock to its present status as one of the world’s greatest e-commerce systems, it had become a Bitcoin veteran. Overstock grew into the first major retailer to accept cryptocurrency payments in January 2014, nearly nine months before PayPal did so in September of the same year and nearly a year before Microsoft.

A picture of someone using a computer
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Uns

Microsoft

A huge company, known in each coin of the world, was among the first to adopt Bitcoin as a payment method. Since 2014, Microsoft has been accepting crypto for various digital content, games and apps for platforms operating on Windows. Even though, for security reasons, Bitcoin payments were banned for some period, the possibility to pay for services with virtual currencies came into force again in 2021. 

PayPal

The company that pioneered digital payments initiated accepting Bitcoins as soon as digital currency gained popularity in September 2014. At that time, PayPal’s decision was expected to target businesses rather than consumers to its platform. The attraction of Bitcoin was that its transaction fees were significantly lower than the profit-eroding 2 percent – 3 percent charge that businesses were spending for credit card transactions.

Others

Nowadays there are multiple IT companies that follow the crypto trend and accept payments in BTC. Namely, these are Archos, AVnet, GoDark, etc.

Goods and food payments are going crypto

Etsy

Although Etsy does not have a platform for accepting Bitcoin as payment across the platform, the independent sellers who populate its platform can accept cryptocurrency in their individual shops if they want so. It is the seller’s responsibility to include another payment method option while purchasing. When buyers select that option, they could message the buyer with their payment choices —  Bitcoin. To make a payment, the seller replies with a Bitcoin address. The Etsy Community forum disposes of a Bitcoin-specific page with guides on how sellers can promote that they accept Bitcoin and how to make the experience more convenient.

Starbucks

The majority of coffee-lovers were excited when Starbucks published the news concerning accepting Bitcoins for their goods in 2020. Maybe you think you may pay for your Cappuccino at the register. Actually, that’s far from the truth. Basically, the only thing you can do is to replenish with Bitcoin the Starbucks app, along with gift card balances and frequent-flyer miles, and pay that way. Such payments became possible thanks to Bakkt, a digital wallet that exchanges BTC to USD making instant payments possible.

Rakuten

One of the biggest Japanese shopping sites, Rakuten, caught up with the trend and included Bitcoin as a payment option. The group launched business with Rakuten.com in the United States as part of a considerable Bitcoin implementation before spreading the new service to its counterparts in Germany and Austria. Rakuten achieved this by incorporating the Bitnet online payment platform into its own marketplaces. Since then, it has developed Rakuten Wallet, which now supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum. Clients can now use virtual assets to replenish their Rakuten Cash balance.

Which other food companies and marketplaces accept payments in BTC?

The most widespread fast-food cafes like Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, and Toga joined the trend, and now you can pay for your favorite snacks and beverages in Bitcoin.

Transformation of payments for entertainment

When all the world got stuck at home, we all went online to find some entertainment. Even art galleries like Louvre launched online 3d tours to cheer the depressed population up and remind them that even in hard times, art can revive. 

Under the circumstances COVID put us at, such platforms as Netflix and YouTube grew dramatically in popularity, offering more and more content of high quality. Thus, with the hype of virtual currency, the entertainment media didn’t stand aside.

Twitch

A big whale among entertainment platforms is Twitch, which Amazon owns. Virtual currency – and not only Bitcoin – is accepted by one of the most popular streaming platforms. You are allowed to pay in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and lesser-known altcoins such as BUSD, PAX, GUSD, USDC, and XRP. Twitch appeared to be an enthusiastic supporter of digital currency, offering it as a payment option in 2014.

That, however, came to an end in 2019 when Twitch disabled its Bitcoin service. However, the entertainment platform restored that capability in June 2020, much to the delight of its crypto-savvy users.

Wikipedia

The Wikimedia Foundation is a charity and non-profit company based in the United States. It is best known for owning Wikipedia, the world’s most giant free encyclopedia. They accept credit/debit cards, eWallet, and internet banking donations.

Since 2014, you can donate to Wiki using BitPay. Only Bitcoin donations can be refunded in Bitcoin. Payouts are calculated depending on the quantity of US dollars received at the time of the donation.

Other companies accepting BTC

iTunes, Bittunes, Long Player, and Tradebit appeared among the media foundations accepting virtual currencies.