So You Want to Buy Something With Crypto?

Feb 09, 2020

This post will be a short how-to guide on how to use a cryptocurrency to purchase something. I recently was fed up with the free tier functionality of a website I use often, so decided to purchase their paid tier. They only accepted crypto. Never using crypto before, I did some internet searching with my favorite search provider. Quickly becoming overwhelmed, I reached out to others for help. Here is what I learned.

First, you need a way to purchase the cryptocurrency you want with the USD/whatever currency you have. Use Coinbase. Why? They’re widely used and trusted by many users. Coinbase will be your “wallet.” It’s basically a giant wallet. Coinbase is what crypto user’s refer to as an exchange. You buy/sell/trade different cryptos through the platform.

Second, complete the signup on Coinbase. This is a lengthy process. If you’re a citizen of the US you’ll have to do several things: (1) provide your address, (2) email, (3) phone number, (4) last four of SSN, (5) photo of ID (front and back), (6) photo of you with a short coinbase related phrase, the date, and you, and finally, (7) link a payment method. The steps are different in other countries but not all that different.

Third, wait for an email that your identity has been confirmed. Took about three minutes for me.

Fourth, purchase the crypto you want. I used Litecoin. Why Litecoin? I don’t know, if you’re planning to buy crypto to immediately use in a purchase it doesn’t really matter. My personal reasons are: the merchant I was purchasing from only accepted Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. I’ve heard Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash take more processing power than other crypto. So, maybe it’s not the most eco-friendly choice? I’ve also heard an absolute ton of FUD on Ethereum. Perhaps what I’ve heard is not true, but as a newbie to crypto I won’t opt to find out for now. That leaves us at Litecoin.

Fifth, hope that the website or merchant you want to purchase from has Coinbase integration. If so, it’s painless from this point. Step through their short OAuth2 process to extract funds from Coinbase.

Sixth and finally, if no Coinbase integration exists with your merchant, you will send the crypto to the merchant’s wallet. You can find the steps to do so here.

Your merchant will usually email you shortly after with the information you need to obtain your purchased items.

That’s all. I hope this blog post helped you - or at least demystified the process. The signing up for Coinbase is the hardest part (and that’s just long and boring). I’m happy to finally be supporting a website I’ve used for ten+ years with my crypto purchase.