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Coinbase now offering cryptocurrency gift cards for easier real-world spending

Coinbase now offering cryptocurrency gift cards for easier real-world spending

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Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

Major bitcoin exchange Coinbase launched a feature yesterday that lets its European customers buy virtual gift cards with cryptocurrency. By partnering with a London-based gift card startup called WeGift, Coinbase now offers gift cards that can be spent at over 120 retailers, which could solve the problem of many stores not accepting cryptocurrency.

Most stores still don’t accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, but with this feature you can work around that. When you purchase a gift card through the program, there’s often a small bonus percentage of 1 to 9 percent that WeGift will offer you, and Coinbase promises to charge zero withdrawal fees for converting your cryptocurrency this way. It’s honestly a tempting deal that could attract some people who aren’t holding onto their investments in hopes of prices rising again.

You can spend your bitcoin and ethereum at Google Play and Ticketmaster

Of the 120 retailers, notable ones include Uber, Google Play, Nike, Ticketmaster, and fashion brands like Ted Baker and Clarks. Currently, the gift card feature is only open to people in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Australia, but Coinbase says it will eventually expand to other places as well.

It should also be noted that Coinbase only supports a handful of the major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic. So if you own a bunch of altcoins held in a different exchange, you’re likely out of luck converting that into gift cards.

“From converting bitcoin into Uber credits or ether into a Nike shopping spree, customers will have greater flexibility and control over how they use their crypto,” Coinbase wrote in its blog post on the feature, which can be accessed here.