Are you sitting on a stash of Bitcoin and wondering where you can spend it in the UK?
Despite a huge surge in the number of people engaging with crypto in recent years, it can still be quite tricky to use it in the real world.
Here, I’ll take a look at where you can spend your Bitcoin and some of the things that you can buy with it.
Where can I spend my Bitcoin?
It’s fair to say that there aren’t many high street shops in the UK that will accept crypto instead of cash or your credit/debit card.
So, if you’re hoping to splurge on the latest fashions or grab a meal and a drink using your crypto, you’re going to struggle.
In a nutshell, despite the rapid adoption of digital currencies in recent years, it’s still difficult to use it when you are shopping in physical stores.
However, there are plenty of online retailers and other business that’ll accept your Bitcoin.
Online retailers that accept Bitcoin as payment
There are a growing number of online stores that will allow you to make your purchases using crypto.
Here’s a selection of some of the retailers and stores that will accept Bitcoin.
It’s by no means exhaustive but designed to give you a flavour of just how far crypto has come in just a few years.
Etsy is firmly established as the leading global marketplace for artists and creative crafters but did you know you can use your Bitcoin to buy their handmade gifts?
Although the payment system integrated into the platform doesn’t yet allow direct crypto transactions, a growing number of innovative sellers are accepting digital currencies for their goods.
You’ll need to liaise directly with the seller to arrange payment and they may use a Bitcoin payment processor to complete the transaction to give them some added protection.
Other than that, you’re good to go.
Also, an added bonus for crypto enthusiasts is the huge market for Bitcoin and crypto related items on the site.
These include crypto price tickers, Bitcoin art, shoes, clocks, novelty coins and, of course, crypto socks!
Although Etsy sellers who accept Bitcoin are definitely in the minority right now, this will certainly change as crypto adoption continues to grow.
This is really an indirect way of using your crypto to buy goods.
Gift Off is a hub for gift cards which you can buy using a wide range of payment methods, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) or Dogecoin (DOGE).
What this means is that you’re effectively swapping your crypto for cash loaded onto a card linked to one of a wide range of retailers.
You’ll need to buy your crypto before you land on the site, but once you’ve got it loaded on to a wallet you can go right ahead and buy the gift card of your choosing.
Some of the major high street retailers onboard include Argos, Currys, John Lewis, Waitrose and Sainsburys.
You can also buy gift cards to spend at a wide range of online businesses, including Amazon, Deliveroo, App Store & iTunes, Just Eat, Spotify and Uber.
So effectively you can use Bitcoin on Amazon and a range of other retail giants, just not directly.
The brands mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are hundreds of others to choose from covering everything from electronics and gaming to clothes, sport equipment and home décor.
Various (via the Mode app)
UK crypto app Mode has partnered with a number of high street stores in to offer cashback in kind.
Partners already include big name retailers such as Ocado, Homebase, Boots, THG and LK Bennet, with many more promised in the near future.
Through the app, customers will be able to use crypto for online purchases and receive cashback rewards in the same digital currency.
This means that if you use Bitcoin to make your purchase, you’ll be rewarded with Bitcoin in return, with some retailers offering 5-10%.
You’ll have to download the Mode crypto app first to take advantage of the cashback offer, but once set up the process is straight forward.
You may also like: Mode crypto app review
If you’re looking to jet off for a break to recharge your batteries but only have crypto to spend then Travala is a great destination (you see what we did there).
Travala is a booking hub that’s grown rapidly in recent years and prides itself on being crypto-friendly.
It even lists crypto as a method of payment on the homepage – you can’t get any clearer than that!
Not only does it accept a wide range of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, but you can also pay with a range of lesser-known altcoins such as Chainlink, Filecoin and Dash to name a few, and stablecoins such as Tether.
You can also use Binance Pay and Crypto.com Pay alongside traditional methods, such as a credit card.
Travala offers more than 2 million hotels and other accommodations worldwide, together with flights and activities when you arrive at your destination.
The Pi Hut
If you’re a fan of the Raspberry Pi and you have a stash of crypto that you’re itching to spend then you’re in luck.
UK-based The Pi Hut is an approved reseller of the tiny, inexpensive computer and add-ons, together with Arduino and maker accessories.
The company accepts a wide range of payment methods including cryptocurrency, specifically naming Bitcoin as one of the accepted digital coins.
With a huge number of products available for beginners and enthusiasts alike this is the perfect place to finally use your Bitcoin for something tangible.
Another place where you can spend your Bitcoin in the UK on computer equipment is Scan.
The UK company has been supplying PCs and accessories for more than 30 years, but it has moved with the times by deciding to accept Bitcoin as payment.
This is great for anyone looking for a new PC or add-on as Scan offers a huge range of products covering gaming, video editing and high- performance business systems.
This online-only UK company offers both Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment options for cigars.
City Cigars offers a wide range of products for the discerning smoker, and the company pledges to offer competitive prices and discounts for large orders.
In addition to the cigars kept in stock, the company will attempt to source other brands on request.
The tech giant currently allows customers to buy apps and games through its Windows or Xbox stores using crypto.
Historically, Microsoft’s support of Bitcoin has been inconsistent, and it remains to be seen if its support of digital currencies will continue.
The live streaming giant allows users to pay for content using Bitcoin and other cryptos.
At one point it was even offering a 10% discount if customers chose this payment method, but we couldn’t find a recent mention of this.
Twitch focuses on video game live streaming, including esports, and is owned by Amazon.
Real-world businesses that accept Bitcoin
Sotheby’s is probably the most recognisable auction house in the world and has been going strong since 1744. It currently hosts more than 600 auctions per year.
Recently the company has moved to accept cryptocurrency payments of some lots, at the discretion of the seller, and they are marked as such.
This means you can use Bitcoin, Ethereum or the USDC stablecoin as payment for the item if you’re the successful bidder.
There’s also a Sotheby’s Metaverse which is a dedicated portal for rare Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
High street retailers and shops that accept cryptocurrency in the UK
Despite the growing number of online retailers now accepting crypto payments, high street businesses doing the same are still few and far between at the time of writing.
In fact, we struggled to find any shops, bars or restaurant that we’re actively promoting themselves as accepting crypto.
We found a website – coinmap.org – which is designed to show you all the businesses in your area that accept crypto.
But again, those listed either had no mention of accepting crypto, were online only or had closed down altogether.
So, for now, it seems that Bitcoin is the preserve of the online world when it comes to making payments.
Attitudes towards crypto are shifting dramatically and adoption is growing but there clearly needs to be a major shift to bring Bitcoin to the British high street.
Are there Bitcoin ATMs in the UK?
While you may find it difficult to spend your crypto in high street retailers, there’s a growing number of real-world places in the UK – and across the world – that you can buy it.
Bitcoin ATMs are popping up along high streets up and down the country, with even small newsagents getting in on the act.
These machines allow you to quickly get your hands on a number of different cryptos using fiat money.
You’ll need to go through an ID check due to AML/KYC regulations, but after this you can buy Bitcoin instantly.
Related link: What is a Bitcoin ATM and how do they work?
Now that we’ve established that it’s going to be difficult to spend your crypto in the shops, there is another way of doing something useful with.
A growing number of organisations are accepting donations in the form of digital currency, including one of the UK’s most respected and vital charities – the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
The RNLI was the first major UK charity to accept Bitcoin donations, but others have followed its lead.
So, if you can’t spend it why not donate it?
Gift crypto to support Wikipedia
Wikipedia, the vast, free online encyclopedia, is maintained by an army of volunteers around the world and relies on legacies and donations to keeping running.
So, if you like what they do, why not donate some of your crypto to the cause and help this hugely beneficial resource stay independent?
Help The Internet Archive with a Bitcoin pledge
The Internet Archive is a non-profit offering a huge online repository of materials, including software, videos and books.
It also operates The Wayback Machine which takes and keeps historical snapshots of websites so you can see how they looked in years gone by (think luminous backgrounds and plenty of animated gifs!).
Can I buy a car with Bitcoin?
Yes, there a growing number of online car showrooms together with real world franchises – including some BMW dealerships – that accept crypto as payment, which we’ve written more about here.
Can I use my crypto for a mortgage?
There are very few banks and mortgage lenders in the UK that describe themselves as crypto friendly, but some are dabbling with the idea.
Related link: Are there any crypto-friendly banks in the UK?
We’re the first to admit that this list is on the thin side and there are clearly some glaring gaps.
But UK businesses that accept Bitcoin are elusive and finding them proved a difficult task.
If you’ve got a business that accepts crypto and we’ve haven’t mentioned it here, let us know and we’ll add to this list.
Adam is the founder of The Crypto Adviser which offers experts guides and reviews on all things related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Adam is Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) Level 4 qualified, a Member of the London Institute of Banking and Finance (MLIBF), and has worked for many years as a journalist and PR consultant, having studied with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).