It’s still quite hard to buy physical goods using bitcoins or ethers. Coinbase plans to (partially) solve that issue with a new partnership with WeGift. Coinbase customers in Europe and Australia can now convert their tokens on their Coinbase account into digital gift cards for popular stores.
For instance, you’ll be able to buy gift cards for Uber, Tesco, Google Play, Marks and Spencer and more. The feature is now live in the U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands and Australia.
While WeGift promises gift cards for dozens of merchants, most of them are restricted to customers based in the U.K. If you live in another country, you’ll only get a handful of options. For instance, in France you can only buy gift cards for Décathlon, Bloom & Wild, Global Hotel Card and Ticketmaster. Coinbase says that it will adding be more retailers in the coming months.
In some cases, WeGift offers you the fiat equivalent of your cryptocurrencies as well as a tiny bonus. For instance, you get £102 in Uber gift cards if you spend the equivalent of £100 in bitcoins.
In the U.S., Coinbase also partnered with Shift for a traditional Visa card. But many European cryptocurrency companies who provided Visa cards had to go back to the drawing board because Visa stopped working Wave Crest Holding — Wave Crest Holding was the card issuer for all European cryptocurrency cards.
Gift cards aren’t as convenient as receiving money on your bank account or a debit card. But they’re a great way to avoid telling your bank that you made money by speculating on cryptocurrencies. Many banks directly report data on their users to local tax authorities. But don’t forget that Coinbase can track all your withdrawal events and notify tax authorities too.
Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.