Although bitcoin has proven to be a wild ride for speculative investors, its main purpose is to be a currency - an alternative way to buy and sell products and services. If you've ever wondered what to buy with it, you might be surprised at what's available.
Look for retailers that have a bitcoin logo just as you would look for a Visa or MasterCard sign. Take a look at this list of 20 ways you can buy stuff with bitcoin.
1) Guns. Central Texas Gun Works was the first dealer in Texas to use bitcoin for gun sales when it began accepting the cryptocurrency in 2014. Beyond bitcoin, Central Texas Gun Works accepts additional cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin and Ethereum, for both in-store and online transactions.
2) Caskets. Successful morticians are masters of customer service. Crescent Tide Funeral & Cremation Services takes this idea to a whole new level as it accepts payment in bitcoin for caskets and funeral services. The company also offers customers who pay with the cryptocurrency a 3 percent discount.
3) Real estate. Dubai is the ultimate land of excess. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that Dubai is the place where you can use bitcoin to buy an apartment.
In September 2017, the Aston Plaza and Residences Development in Dubai Science Park began accepting payments of 30, 50 and 70 bitcoins for some of its studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, respectively.
4) Online casino chips. If you really want to amp up your adrenaline level, use your bitcoins to fund your stake at an online casino.
Numerous bitcoin casinos have sprung up on the internet, letting you make deposits with bitcoin and then gamble your chips just as if you bought them with dollars.
5) Charitable contributions. Starting in 2015, you could make a bitcoin donation to Autism Speaks, an advocate for autism awareness and scientific research.
Heifer International, which fights hunger and poverty, began accepting bitcoin donations in 2016. At least 13 charities now accept bitcoin.
6) Brandy distillery. You can buy all sorts of luxury goods on BitPremier for bitcoind. One unusual item listed in September 2017 was a brandy distillery in Nemesvamos, Hungary.
At the time, you could pick up the building and all of the equipment for 73 bitcoins, valued at about US$339,000 (HK$2.64 million).
7) Pizza. What is thought to be the first real-world bitcoin transaction occurred on May 22, 2010 - for two pizzas from Papa John's. The cost of the transaction was 10,000 bitcoins. As of January 24, that 10,000-bitcoin purchase was worth more than US$100 million - quite a price, no matter how good those pizzas were. Today, the Pizzaforcoins website accepts more than 50 cryptocurrencies for local pizza purchases.
8) College degree. The University of Nicosia in Cyprus was the first to offer a cryptocurrency course, the first to offer a digital currency degree and the first to accept bitcoin for tuition payments. It now offers an online master of science degree in digital currency.
9) Travel. Expedia, one of the world's most recognizable online travel companies, uses the services of Coinbase to process its bitcoin transactions, but you'll have to be fast on your feet - the bitcoin price you see for your booking is only valid for 10 minutes.
10) Gold bullion. JM Bullion, an online retailer of gold and silver, accepts bitcoin for purchases. This seems like one of the most logical places where bitcoin would be accepted, as it involves using one type of currency - bitcoin - to purchase another type - gold coins.
11) Rent. ManageGo, a rental platform, uses online and mobile apps to facilitate payments between landlords and tenants. Starting in 2018, the company began accepting bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin for payments, converting them immediately into US dollars.
12) Online dating subscription. Sparklet is a new online dating service that bills itself as "bitcoin-powered online dating." Other sites, including DateAsia and Bitcoin Dating, also accept the cryptocurrency.
13) Trip to space. Richard Branson's visionary company Virgin Galactic is working on sending civilian astronauts into orbit aboard its own spacecraft. About 700 future Virgin Galactic astronauts have already put deposits down on their trips. You too can secure a slot using bitcoin as your payment.
14) Cars. In 2013, Lamborghini Newport Beach reported its first sale of a car - a Tesla Model S - to a customer who paid entirely with bitcoin. Overland Park Jeep Dodge Ram Chrysler accepts bitcoins for everything from new and used cars to parts and service.
15) In-game purchases. Bitcoin got a boost way back in 2014 when Microsoft announced it would accept bitcoins for apps and games in the Windows Store and on Xbox. In a strange case of the virtual world meeting the real world, you can now use bitcoin as an in-game currency for the popular game Minecraft.
16) Anything at Amazon.com. Technically, you can't yet use bitcoins on Amazon.com. However, there's an indirect way to spend bitcoins. At gyft.com you can buy Amazon gift cards with bitcoin. The cards never expire, so you can stock up and then spend them at Amazon.com at your leisure.
17) Beer. Pubs around the world were early adopters of bitcoin. In 2013, Sydney's Old Fitzroy Hotel became the first pub in Australia to accept the cryptocurrency. Originally, a pint of beer cost just 0.05 bitcoin, or about A$7 (HK$42.50) at the time. Since then, bitcoin acceptance has spread to additional pubs, wineries, cafes and even bakeries around the world.
18) Las Vegas casino hotels. Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the world, so it makes sense that the volatile bitcoin would find a home there. In 2014, the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel, along with its sister Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, became the first to accept bitcoin. You can use it at both hotels' front desks, and the D's gift shop and two restaurants.
19) Comic books. In 2014, Los Angeles comic book store Meltdown Comics began accepting bitcoin for in-store purchases, becoming the first brick-and-mortar comic book shop to accept the cryptocurrency in the process.
20) Lottery tickets. Investors in bitcoin must feel like they are playing the lottery because the value of the cryptocurrency fluctuates so dramatically. Now you can buy actual lottery tickets with bitcoin. The Jackpocket app lets you purchase tickets via phone with bitcoin.