Whenever I talk to people that want to know more about Bitcoin, I get questions like, “What can you do with bitcoin? Can you buy stuff with bitcoin? Are there safe ways to buy items? Which services do you recommend?”
The internet, and to some extent the digital currency world, is the Wild West for the most part, with very few safeguards to protect people who are not extremely careful. What can the general public do to protect themselves against fraud, scammers, and the more unsavoury characters on the internet? Everyone should use escrow for their transactions — this goes for buyers and sellers. Escrow is one of the safest ways to protect you from getting burned.
How does escrow work? Let’s say that Micha buys a gold coin from seller James. The seller, or the auction house, provides an escrow address where the Micha can send her Bitcoins to. Escrow will hold the fund for a certain amount of time until the gold coin arrives at Micha’s location. Now, if Micha does not receive the gold coin, she can ask for a refund from the escrow service, where she explains her dispute. Micha can provide information, shipping manifest, tracking number, or even a video to show that the seller did not send her the coin. This evidence will be objectively investigated by the escrow service, which will issue a fair and honest verdict.
The same principle applies with bitcoin escrow services. A buyer puts their bitcoin payment into an escrow wallet, controlled by the independent third-party, and waits until the product is received before releasing the bitcoin to the seller. If a dispute arises, the third-party will open an investigation, and will release the funds to whoever wins the dispute.
My Experiences and Purchases with Bitcoin Shopping Services
Going back to those questions I most frequently receive, what do I buy with Bitcoin? I do most of my purchases on Amazon websites, usually on the UK, Spain, Germany, and American sites. Of course, Amazon does not directly accept bitcoin, so it may seem hard to find a workaround. However, it is actually quite easy. All4bitcoin is a service that you can use for your Amazon purchases; the services uses Bitpay to handle all your bitcoin transactions.
The first time I tested all4bitcoin, I bought a Chromebook from the American Amazon site. the Chromebook was shipped by Amazon, so the VAT was already included. It was nearly a year ago when I purchased the 32 gig version of the acer’s chromebook and I’m happy to say that is extremely nice and light when travelling.
In October my desktop died on me all of a sudden. So I used my amassed small Bitcoin hoard to purchase pc components from the German amazon website. The order was processed and shipped extremely fast. As such I received my goods in a whopping 3 days’ time.
On the last day of 2014, some of my household items decided to stop working. The vacuum cleaner, my bureau chair, and some LED lights decided to go on strike indefinitely. To top it all off, one of my light fixtures came crashing down from the ceiling. Thus, I also ordered the replacements using the all4bitcoin service.
I bought collectible comics, limited edition statues, and special and rare euro coin sets from the Amazon stores, thanks to all4bitocin. If you want to see a quick return on your investment, collectibles and euro/dollar limited sets are the way to go. Of course you need to wait a couple of months but the rewards can be quite huge. For example: I bought a limited statue of R2 and princess Leia for only 45euro with expedited shipping from Germany. Today it is prices over 650 euro’s plus shipping fee. If I would sell that at that price I would make 605 euro profit.
Now I know that I’m tooting the horn about all4bitcoin, but it really is a great service. I’ve been using it for nearly a year now and I haven’t had any problems so far. I used their services extensively, as you can see in this article.
In these times of scams and hacking left, right and centre, we need people to test the services offered by businesses. Investigative journalists, like myself and my Bitcoinist colleagues, are the best to rate the services that are being provided by companies.
On a closing note, I would recommend all4bitcoin to anyone who wants to purchase items on Amazon with bitcoin. It is quick, easy and very safe to do your online shopping. The only “negative” point is that there is a small fee per transaction. However, I would rather pay a small fee and be safe than lose my bitcoin to scammers.
Have you used all4bitcoin? If so, how was your experience? Do you use escrow when buying and selling with bitcoin?
The opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoinist.net. We do not endorse all4bitcoin, and we are not responsible for any problems that all4bitcoin users may experience.