Bitcoin has been one of the best-performing assets of the decade if you had the luck, patience or foresight to hold it for an extended period. It has not only protected hodlers wealth but multiplied it, and it continues to trend upwards. Saving in bitcoin becomes evident to many of us who have fallen down the rabbit hole.
Focusing on getting fiat swapped for bitcoin or labour and time swapped for bitcoin is probably your primary focus. The idea many have is that by building up a stack of bitcoin reserves, you will be able to draw down on the future to pay for your living expenses or buy big-ticket items.
As bitcoin matures and governments and institutions wake up, they’ve started to put chokeholds on places where bitcoin is traded. It becomes harder to acquire non-KYC bitcoin and if you are buying KYC bitcoin, taking privacy best practices to secure your holdings means you’re not likely to want to hit a KYC on-ramp in the future.
Accessing your bitcoin stack
Now that you have a bitcoin stack, perhaps you want to tap into that value, especially if you’re one of those get in zero types who have gone all in and don’t keep much fiat lying around to make purchases. The issue with spending your bitcoin is that apart from El Salvador, very few countries are open to accepting it for commerce. If you’re not living in a bitcoin country, it’s pretty hard to find businesses that are willing to conduct bitcoin transfers.
One way to get around this is to use Bitcoin ATMs that allow you to trade small amounts of Bitcoin for cash and then use that cash to purchase goods and services. The issue with Bitcoin ATMs is that they’re not available everywhere, and carrying cash with you can make you a target for crime. Additionally, cash is limited to physical purchases, so if you’re trying to make an online purchase, you’re not going to get very far. Sure some places offer cash on delivery, but it might not be for every item.
Turning back into fiat
One of the pain points surrounding storing your wealth in bitcoin is maintaining your privacy and also limiting your footprint on the blockchain, and connecting your public key and identity to centralised entities. Those looking to acquire cash but have no Bitcoin ATMs around can look at P2P exchanges and leverage bank transfers for direct swaps with other bitcoiners, but you will pay a premium for this when compared to centralised exchanges.
If you value your privacy, you’re willing to put up with that premium, or you have to give up if you’re using a centralised exchange. Using a centralised exchange is probably the most popular medium. You would dox your public key to a service provider along with your ID and balances and then swap that bitcoin for the fiat currency you require.
Depending on the size of the transaction, you’ll probably have to pay taxes on it too. I mean, you’re not going to make an on-chain bitcoin transfer for a small amount of money; it would be a waste of your time. You want to do one transfer to access an amount of cash you can use for an extended period of time and to cover several purchases.
Pay point problems
Having gone through the various scenarios, you can see that the friction between getting your bitcoin out of cold storage and into a medium of exchange all comes with its own pros and cons. But you’re not alone in having to deal with it, all bitcoiners have to, and some of those bitcoiners go out and create solutions for it, like the guys and girls at the bitcoin company.
The Bitcoin Company offers bitcoiners a mobile app that leverages the lightning network for cheaper transactions and better privacy and allows you to convert your bitcoin into gift cards with popular merchants.
Note: Available merchants are restricted to the USA.
How to sign up
Start by downloading the app for your prefered device, iOS or Android and once installed; you can start purchasing vouchers. You can run the app anonymously, or you can tie it to an email address of your choice.
Browsing the selection of gift cards
Once installed, browse through the various merchants you can purchase gift cards with, favourite the ones you think you’ll use regularly build custom lists for yourself. Each merchant will have a minimum and maximum price range for their gift card purchases, along with a sats back percentage on every purchase. Yes, that’s right, if you purchase gift cards with this app, you’ll earn satoshis back based on the percentage stated, which is returned to you after your purchase.
Purchase a voucher
Once you’re ready to purchase a gift card, select the merchant you like, the amount you would like to purchase from the preset values or select a custom value.
Review the terms and conditions of the gift card to make sure you’re happy with it before clicking purchase.
Then click purchase gift card; you will then receive a QR code or Lightning invoice to pay for the purchase. To settle it, you will need a lightning network-enabled wallet with an established channel and liquidity to make the purchase.
Once the purchase is complete, the gift cards will be available in your app, along with the returning satoshi balance you earned for making the purchase.
Get the app
There you have it, an easier way to skip all the on-chain transactions, fees or KYC issues if you simply want to turn some bitcoin into a meal or a few day to day purchases.
If you’re looking to use your sats for real-world purchases but don’t want to go via exchanges and turn them into stablecoins or fiat currency, then gift cards are an option that reduces a lot of the friction. Download The Bitcoin Company app to start earning bitcoin back on your purchases.
If you’d like to support us, feel free to use TBM referral code: 8SW11Z