If you want to pay for a coffee with your Bitcoins or order clothes online, you are usually looking in vain for merchants who accept cryptocurrencies. Because despite the enormous growth of the crypto market, digital money still has hardly any use cases in the real world. But this does not mean that you can not pay with cryptocurrencies at all.
The delivery service Lieferando is one of the only major providers in Germany that already allow payment with Bitcoin. Other large companies such as Tesla or Microsoft have already experimented with Bitcoins as a means of payment, but have discontinued the experiments again.
However, there are also some smaller stores and service providers that let their customers pay with Bitcoin. There is no uniform list of all service providers that accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, but the website coinmap.org offers at least a rough overview for Germany.
To date, it is only possible to pay with Bitcoin in El Salvador. There, the cryptocurrency has been a legal means of payment since September 7, 2021.
Even though cryptocurrencies have hardly been widely used as a means of payment so far, there is still a way to pay almost everywhere with Bitcoin and Co. To do this, you need to get a crypto credit card that can be topped up or covered with cryptocurrencies.
Providers such as Binance, Crypto or Nexo offer such cards. Consumers should be careful, however, because there are good reasons why cryptocurrencies are still hardly used as a means of payment.
The most pressing reason against the use of cryptocurrencies in payments is the price fluctuations. Suppose you pay for a coffee that costs €3 with bitcoin. Within the next hour, the value of the bitcoins spent could increase by 100%. So you would have paid €6 for the coffee. However, it could just as easily go the other way, and the exchange rate could fall by 50%. Then the coffee seller would have made a bitter loss.
Unlike buying goods with euros, paying with cryptocurrencies can be subject to income tax. This is because, from the perspective of the tax authorities, paying for a coffee or a roll with Bitcoins is a barter transaction. If the value of the Bitcoins has increased since you bought them, you would realize some of that gain even by buying a roll. And taxes would have to be paid on that.
However, taxes are only incurred if one has not held the cryptocurrencies for more than a year. There is also an exemption limit of €600 per year for such private sales transactions. You can find out how the taxation of cryptocurrencies works in detail in our guide.
It is important to know, however, that you would have to record every transaction, no matter how small, for your tax return. The effort involved in this alone would far exceed the benefits of paying with cryptocurrencies.
Handling refunds when paying with cryptocurrencies also presents problems. For one thing, the customer would have to rely on the goodwill of the merchant and would have a poor chance of getting the money back if the merchant blocks. For another, merchants would have a huge accounting burden. After all, the value of a Bitcoin rises and falls constantly. One would have to note the exact equivalent value in euros for every transaction.