One of the most important measures of the success of Bitcoin is its buying power. If you have some Bitcoins and you’d like to make a purchase, what are the odds you’ll be able to do so without fuss? Some purchases are, of course, right out. If you’d like to buy a house or a new car with Bitcoin, at minimum, you’ll probably need to do the legwork to educate the person or organization doing the selling on the existence of Bitcoin, and convince them to accept what they’ll probably understand to be sketchy, potentially illegal internet monopoly money. Other products are a little easier: If you’re looking for gadgets or computers, there’s TigerDirect or Newegg. If you want a ticket to space, there’s Virgin Galactic. For everything else, there’s a good chance that Overstock has you covered.
There are a lot of different ways to improve the buying power of Bitcoin. You can try to persuade businesses to take it. You can add support to payment processors, to make it easier for businesses to add that support. You can even try to provide financial incentives for individual merchants to accept Bitcoin. Or, you can do what a clever little service called Spendabit has done, and attack the problem from the other side.
Spendabit provides a convenient, clean web portal that allows its users to search through the inventories of a wide array of companies that choose to accept Bitcoin. The idea is to make spending Bitcoin just a little bit easier, and to bring business to those vendors that choose to support the currency.
Some initial searches turned up a mixed bag of results. Computer equipment, appliances, and movies were well represented. Books were less available, and the selection of music was, unfortunately, very thin. Still, that’s a reflection of the limited state of Bitcoin saturation right now, not the service itself (and perhaps an indication that there’s room in the market for a Bitcoin book or record store). Even in its current state, the site is a must-have for anyone trying to incorporate Bitcoin purchases into their daily lives.
Images courtesy Spendabit