Rather than wait for Amazon and other online stores to start accepting Bitcoin, you can shop with Bitcoin by using an intermediary service to purchase items on your behalf. Some of you may prefer to use the gift card route through Gyft, but there are two more options that promise a steeper discount than the 3% that Gyft is offering: Purse.io and All4BTC.
Purse.io – Purchase on Amazon using BTC
Amazon doesn’t currently accept BTC (Bitcoin) for payment which has allowed a purchasing service to step in to offer BTC Amazon purchases: Purse.io. Purse.io matches people with BTC who want to buy items on Amazon with people willing to use credit cards or Amazon gift cards to purchase the desired items on their behalf. The market mechanism of Purse.io is therefore a crowdsourcing site, where random people step up to meet the purchasing needs of those who want to spend Bitcoin. There are some drawbacks immediately evident
Legal risk: If you purchase an item through Purse.io and the buyer used a stolen credit card, you could get a visit from law enforcement even though you haven’t done anything wrong. Purse.io says that it is very rare and that they will cover up to $10,000 in legal fees should problems arise.
Fees Purse.io has a logarithmic fee structure that creeps up from 1% at lower discounts to 15% for higher discounts. Once you the prospective Amazon item purchaser are matched up with a funder at an agreed upon discount, the fee structure is as follows:
You can also use the service on the suppliers side – instead of buying Amazon items with Bitcoins at a discount, you could use your Amazon gift cards / credit cards to use Purse.io as an exchange to get Bitcoins, making it a useful alternative to Coinbase or LocalBitcoins. Of course those with an Amazon sellers account can sell the gift cards for Bitcoin directly buy putting up a Coinbase check out button on their own site. (And as a side note, if you want to exchange your Bitcoin for Amazon giftcards, stick with the physical cards because they, as opposed to Amazon gift codes, are very hard for the seller to charge back.)
Verdict: Those fees above should also be going towards verifying that the Amazon providers are legitimate. The $10K legal fee guarantee is no assurance – the only proper assurance is for Purse.io to do all they can to make sure that doesn’t happen in the first place.
All4BTC allows you to purchase products not only from Amazon but across a wide range of e-tailers including eBay, Apple and AliExpress. The difference between All4BTC and Purse.io is that All4BTC is doing all of the purchasing on your behalf using their corporate account. This has the benefit of executing your order directly without having to wait for another individual to matchup to your order which is how Purse.io operates. This also alleviates the risk of dealing with a user who carded their way towards whatever Amazon gift card they’re using to fulfill your order.
You simply enter the URL for the item you are purchasing and pay with Bitcoin. The only discount offered is if you choose to enter in your affiliate URL for the item you are purchasing (which is easy to setup for Amazon even if you’ve never done affiliate marketing before). The bad news is that in addition to no discount being offered, there is also a fee: 2.38 % to all EUR and a 5.0 % fee to all USD orders (there company is based in Berlin).
Verdict: All4BTC, by doing all the purchasing, avoids the small risk of using an illegitimately obtained Amazon gift card. But since there’s no auction mechanism matching buyers and sellers, there’s also no discount for purchases unless you use an affiliate link. Worth it if you can find a retailer that All4BTC supports that also has a generous affiliate program you can use to generate your links (Amazon’s affiliate program only pays approximately 5-7%).