Refusing to Pay with Cash – The Adventures of Cryptocurrency Mike

This is a short fictional story written for the purposes of illustrating how widespread the adoption of cryptocurrencies as payment for goods/services has become. There are thousands of cryptocurrency merchants out there, and this story includes some of them.

The main character is a fictional person named Michael, or “Cryptocurrency Mike”. Crypto-Mike doesn’t trust banks. Or, rather, he thinks the banks’ way of processing payments is obsolete. Why should Crypto-Mike have to wait for an entire weekend to complete a bank transfer to his friend who has another bank, if he makes the transfer on Friday evening? Also, if he wants to buy a coffee at a cafeteria using a debit card, why should there even be a third party (normally a bank) in between Crypto-Mike and the cafeteria? What is the need for that middleman? Why should he pay fees to bank in order to be permitted to have his money at a bank? Shouldn’t they pay him, also during a financial period where there’s no interest on savings accounts? These are a few of the questions that Crypto-Mike has been asking, without receiving any satisfactory answers.

Accordingly, Crypto-Mike refuses to pay for goods/services with anything else than cryptocurrency. Every single company or organization mentioned in this fictional story accepts payment in cryptocurrencies (most notably Bitcoins) and every payment/lease or similar transaction made in the story is made through a cryptocurrency transfer. This is how a day in the life of Crypto-Mike can look.

Starting off the day

Crypto-Mike wakes up in his bed at home. The time is 7 a.m. On a Monday. He lives with his girlfriend named Hantu Kopek in an apartment in a large suburban American city. He has rented the apartment from RE/MAX and – as is customary – pays rent every month. On the head side of the bed, about 1 meter (a bit more than 3 feet) above the bed is a large painting of a bull with the Bitcoin-symbol on its side. The bull in the picture has a mountain straight ahead. The bull is slowly demolishing the mountain. The painting is from Ludvig Manukyan (an artist primarily painting cryptocurrency related motives).

Cryptocurrency Merchants: Ludvig Art. Painting of Bull
Bull Painting by Ludvig Manukyan.

“You need to pay your bills TODAY”, says a Post-It note that Crypto-Mike placed on the screen of his bedside lamp the night before. He tends to forget such things. He sits down at his desk and starts paying his bills. There are tons of different services you can use to pay bills with cryptocurrencies. He himself uses Coinbills (and sometimes Coinsfer), his European friends use any one of Piixpay, Bitbill or Bitwala, his brother who lives in Canada uses Bylls and his ex-girlfriend who is from the Philippines uses Coins.ph or Rebit.ph. Living Room of Satoshi and Get Paid in Bitcoin are two Australian alternatives. Anyway.

Clothing

He picks his T-shirt up from the floor (he can use it for one more day before it goes into the laundry basket). He bought it from Hodl Monkey, a company focusing on cryptocurrency clothing.

Cryptocurrency Merchants: HODL Monkey - HODL Shirt
HODL the line.

Crypto-Mike has non-cryptocurrency clothes as well. Meaning, he has clothing he has bought for cryptocurrency but with prints that don’t necessarily relate to cryptocurrency. Like regular jeans and white T-shirts. He bought his jeans at one of the billion dollar retail online stores – Overstock.com – that has been around since forever. Or at least since 1999, 10 years before the invention of Bitcoin. According to Mike that’s equal to ancient Rome. At Overstock, you can buy almost anything you need for your home or closet.

Food

Crypto-Mike leaves his room and goes into the kitchen. He’s not too hungry but he still feels that he needs to eat something before going to work. His girlfriend who got out of bed and left for work more than an hour earlier probably ate a proper breakfast with groceries from Whole Foods. They share a Whole Foods-gift card that they purchased through Gyft. Nevertheless, it was probably 2-3 months ago that the gift card was in Crypto-Mike’s possession. He doesn’t mind though.

He grabs a few of the slices from one of the pizzas from last night that he, his girlfriend and his friends couldn’t manage to finish last night. They had ordered it from Pizzaforcoins and within an hour from the order, four hot, cheesy peperoni pizzas were at the door. He downs a few slices of the pizza remaining from yesterday’s Netflix binge watching. It’s September and Beach 2019 is very far away right now.

Netflix or Torrent Downloads?

Last night’s binge watching mostly consisted of the series The Staircase and a few intermediary episodes of Matt Groening’s Disenchanted. Crypto-Mike had been a household hero when he bought a one-year Netflix subscription a few months ago, using a gift card from CoinCards.ca. He thought that the Netflix-offering was vastly superior to the satellite-TV alternative presented by e.g. Dish Network. If he had known how many Netflix rom-coms his girlfriend would end up forcing him to sit through, he might have thought otherwise though.

Before Netflix, Crypto-Mike was “one of them pirates”, downloading torrent files and being passionate about the file-sharing community. He wasn’t particularly worried about being sued by one or more movie companies. After all, he was always using a VPN-service, ensuring that the actions from him could not be traced back to his actual IP-address. His premier choice of VPN-service was TorGuard, but a close runner-up in his opinion was ExpressVPN. He wasn’t that fond of PureVPN though, even if some people definitely are. TorGuard and ExpressVPN worked like a charm and allowed him to download whatever without having to worry about any repercussions.

Grandpa’s Inheritance & Travelling

The pizza is on its way to Crypto-Mike’s stomach and he finally exits the apartment. He’s now on his way to the subway, heading to work. He does a quick pit stop by the near-by Starbucks and buys a Tall cappuccino using his Starbucks-gift card purchased via Gyft. For the last couple of years he had always used the Fold App but they have ceased with its operations, so Gyft it is.

Crypto-Mike had had a long vacation and he was still not back in to proper “work-mode”. The whole month of August had really just been one long vacation with his girlfriend. In fact, Crypto-Mike had inherited some money (not a fortune, but enough to do a few things he wouldn’t otherwise have done) from his grandpa. His grandpa was really ahead of his time and got into crypto 2010. Grandpa, who managed to rack up a decent amount of money riding the Bitcoin-wave, had even had a magnificent summer house built for him by the Belize-based company ECI Development (paid for by – you know it – Bitcoin). Grandpa’s summerhouse was even one of the first to ever be built being paid for with cryptocurrency.

Grandpa with Bitcoin

Travelling

Crypto-Mike had spent some of his inheritance on a trip (or more like a series of trips). Crypto-Mike booked the trips for him and his girlfriend back in May. He then used Expedia Inc. Lucky timing for Crypto-Mike actually, as Expedia Inc ceased to accept cryptocurrencies as payment for their services on 27 June 2018. That doesn’t bother Crypto-Mike that much though, seeing as there is a large selection of companies in the travel industry accepting cryptocurrency payments. For future travels, he thinks he will book his flights with Cheapair.com (or possibly aBitSky), and book the hotels with Bitcoin.travel.

Later in life, when he hopes that his cryptocurrency holdings have finally increased enough to call it a “cryptocurrency fortune”, he would like to try out one of the luxury travel agencies and see what they have to offer. Berkeley Travel, for instance. Wow. But he’s a long way from there now. If he were to use an online travel agency at all today, and not just purchase flights, hotels and rental cars separately, it would probably have to be Webjet.com due to financial constraints. Your everyday budget travel agency.

“You’ll get to the Berkeley Travel-level of vacations someday Crypto-Mike, don’t worry”, he tells himself while slowly walking down the stairs to the subway.

The Office

When the subway train leaves the station, Crypto-Mike looks at his phone. A brand new iPhone XS 256 GB that he bought just a few weeks ago from Alzashop. He needs to call his boss and let him know that he’s late, so he can avoid starting off the Monday with a scolding from his boss who has a notoriously bad temper. No credits left on his pre-paid phone plan. He reloads the balance using Bitrefill and makes the call. Boss seemed to be in a good mood. 15 minutes pass and Crypto-Mike walks into the office, 45 minutes late.

Crypto-Mike works at a start-up company focusing on a specific blockchain solution. At the office, they have quite a sophisticated IT-setup and – as you could expect – everything is purchased with cryptocurrencies. Even the domain name of the company was purchased with the help of Namecheap, a company that helps out with registering, managing and hosting domains. There are many similar companies helping out with domain work as well, Guisk being one of them.

Office Equipment

As for the IT-setup, the company uses Vultr. Vultr provides a standardized highly reliable high performance cloud compute environment. In normal people-language, they provide “cloud servers”. The company purchased most of the company’s computers, screens, printers, and related equipment on Newegg. A few of his colleagues also insisted on having some custom-built stuff using equipment from Pi Supply, but Mike thought the stuff from Newegg was fully sufficient. You can actually use cryptocurrency to pay for stuff from Microsoft as well, but only things from the Microsoft Store (previously Xbox Store) (games, apps, etc.), and not any hardware item. Across the Atlantic, there are so many other computer shops that you can use, one of which being the Swedish webhallen.com. His Swedish friends from school spoke highly about that company.

The company only sells online, and 80% of their business comes from organic traffic. They have spent the last year focusing hard on SEO-work, and Crypto-Mike has been the project leader for this work stream. Crypto-Mike has relied heavily on the company LinksManagement. LinksManagement is in Mikes’ opinion the clear number one player when it comes to SEO-services, and they have helped him extremely well during the course of this work.

Cryptocurrency Merchants: LinksManagement

 

Games and Private Finances

When Crypto-Mike gets tired of his sometimes very annoying co-workers, he takes a break and goes to the toilet. He normally does this for two reasons: (i) doing what you normally do at the toilet, and (ii) playing mobile games. Crypto-Mike is unbelievably talented in the small screen games, like Angry Birds for instance. He absolutely loves games. He buys his “typical toilet games” from Zynga and Big Fish Games, whereas the more serious games like Overwatch that he enjoys at this gaming station at home he buys from a place called Humble (Humble Bundle Inc.).

When he’s just about to open up the game CSR Racing 2 and get going, he receives a notification from his personal budget planner app: Mint/Inuit. He needs to categorize some expenditures and take care of some accounting matters. This was a bad toilet break.

The Relationship and The Birthday Gift

He and his girlfriend met at Badoo (this was before Tinder conquered the online dating market). He had been using Badoo for some time but it wasn’t until he upgraded to Badoo Premium that he started getting any attention at all. One of the people giving him the much-wanted attention: his now girlfriend – Hantu Kopek.

It’s a big night tonight because it’s Hantu’s birthday. Crypto-Mike doesn’t care much about his own birthdays but Hantu has made it abundantly clear to him months in advance that she in fact cares about her birthdays. Still, as Cryptocurrency Mike is a passionate procrastinator, he hasn’t bought her a proper gift. In his defence, he did buy her a gift a few days ago (or rather, he let her buy a dress from HerDresses.com using his crypto). When she picked a dress out from HerDresses.com on her computer, he noticed a few opened tabs on her computer that really showed that expectations and possibilities were misaligned with respect to what she were to get.

One tab open was REEDS Jewelers, a luxury jewellery shop. Another tab open was Bitdial, offering neat items like this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore for 134 BTC…

Cryptocurrency Merchants Bitdial: AP - Royal Oak Off-Shore
134 BTC for this baby.

Brainstorming and Brilliant Ideas

The smaller crypto-inheritance from his grandpa must really have given her a wrongful impression of Crypto-Mike’s budget for a birthday gift. The budget was around 0.023 BTC for the entire evening (including dinner, wine and cab fare). Times are tough when the crypto market is bearish.

When brainstorming the birthday gift with his colleagues, one of them said:

“Maybe something from Etsy? At least then it’s unique.”

This wasn’t a bad idea. Etsy is a place where independent creators of goods can sell them to buyers, so like a market place where all goods sold is one-of-a-kind. But there was no time. Mike was too late for ordering, the dinner was just hours away. He needed something else.

Just 30 minutes before leaving work for the birthday dinner, he had a brilliant thought. Why not donate money to a charity from his girlfriend, and then give her a printout? Such printout then showing the donation with some nice pictures? Everybody wants to be a good person, right? So, he donated 0.01 BTC to Save the Children and proudly made his way to the dinner.

The Reaction and Following Events

Hantu Kopek looked lovely this evening. She was really dressed up and had gotten her hair done at a salon. Crypto-Mike was still wearing his sweaty T-shirt from HODL Monkey, which was initially met with some criticism from his girlfriend. However, the bad mood didn’t last long. You could see excitement in her eyes and she was happy.

When they had just been seated at a table, Crypto-Mike thought “now is as good as ever”, and presented her with the printout of the donation to Save the Children. Hantu Kopek stared in disbelief at the printout, following which she asked:

“But, I saw an order confirmation from REEDS Jewelers in your email inbox…?”

Crypto-Mike responded:

“Ooooh, yeah I just wanted to check if they really did accept cryptocurrency payments, which they did. I immediately cancelled the order though, I can’t afford that. Why did you go through my email inbox anyway?”

Then hell broke loose. Statements like “It’s MY birthday – not any starving kid’s birthday!” and “Can I wear this present?” and “let me decide when I want to be a good Samaritan” were discharged. The grand finale was a:

“I’m breaking up with you Crypto-Mike, you only care about your cryptocurrencies anyway”.

Back alone at the apartment; Crypto-Mike connected his laptop to his curved 55” TV. The night didn’t end as planned, but at least it gave him proper time to see what’s new at Naughty America and Pornhub. He ended the evening with checking his holdings on his Enjin Wallet and reviewing today’s market development at Changelly. He said to himself:

“You’ll never leave me cryptocurrency. I love you.”

Concluding Remarks – Cryptocurrency Merchants and Cryptocurrency Debit Cards

Our ambition with this fictional short story was simply to demonstrate that you can buy exactly anything with cryptocurrency. Usage areas are massive. This short story has almost only focused on cryptocurrency merchants directly accepting cryptocurrency payments. However, if you would use a service like eGifter, you can buy gift certificates (and pay for such gift certificates with cryptocurrency) to stores that otherwise do not yet accept cryptocurrency payments. In that way, also the “non-progressive merchants” become accessible to Crypto-Mike and others like him.

An even easier way of opening the world to cryptocurrency payments is to get a cryptocurrency debit card. With a cryptocurrency debit card, you just transfer cryptocurrency assets to the card company. You can then use the fiat currency equivalent of such cryptocurrency assets in any store anywhere.

Our favourites at the moment are Wirex Card and Advcash but the ever-growing list also includes: Cryptopay, SpectroCoin Card, AlfaCashier Card, WageCan, CoinJar Card, Bitnovo, Lavapay, Mistertango, Loadoo, Bonpay Card, Coinsbank Card, Bitpay Card, Monaco Card, ANXPRO Card, Bitcoin Black Card, Bitwala Card, Uphold, Raxcard, SatoshiTango, Paycent Card, Uquid Card, Shift Card, TenX and Tokencard.

Oh, and don’t forget to also check out Fancy, Shopify, Shopjoy.com.au and Purse.io. They are all cryptocurrency merchants that we didn’t find a place for in this short story.