Disclaimer: this post has been updated to reflect the June 2020 closure of the Purse app.
Amazon dominates the world of e-commerce. Once nothing more than an online bookstore, Amazon has grown into a titan of technology and a retail giant, able to compete with the largest brick-and-mortar superstores. It is hard to overstate its influence on the online world.
The digital age has given life to more than only online shopping. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and others have emerged as legitimate alternatives to traditional cash, just as Amazon provides an alternative to conventional retail.
It seems natural that the two should go hand in hand. With the convenience of Amazon and the advantages of crypto, why shouldn’t you use them together?
Why Pay With Crypto?
There are more than 5,000 different cryptocurrencies you can choose from with varying attributes, but they all work according to the same basic system. No matter what specific cryptocurrency you use, it runs on a technology called blockchain — a digital ledger that is completely decentralized and unalterable.
Given its novelty and uniqueness, paying with crypto can seem like an intimidating or even suspicious prospect. But crypto’s decentralization means that crypto transactions don’t rely on third parties to verify or process a payment. Without a go-between, there are no extra handling fees like there usually are with banks. The lack of an intermediary also means that the payments take effect instantly instead of waiting on a bank for processing.
What Does Amazon Accept?
Although many online retailers accept crypto payments, the largest one does not. At least, not yet.
It shouldn’t surprise you that Amazon does not officially accept crypto right now. The company has many standards and requirements for selling and buying products on its website, so it makes sense that it has been slow to accept a decentralized technology. But there may be a few signs that they will accept cryptocurrency in the future.
In 2018, Amazon purchased three crypto-related domain names, and they already offer a couple of blockchain-based services. They also created a currency called Amazon Coin in 2013. But unlike other cryptocurrencies, Amazon Coin does not run on a blockchain, and it never took off.
Even though Amazon does not accept crypto as a form of payment, you can still use it to buy things from them. Several third-party services allow you to spend crypto on the e-commerce giant.
How to Spend Crypto on Amazon
Many of these extensions and sites for using crypto on Amazon work similarly, usually exchanging coins or tokens for Amazon gift cards. Most of them also center around Bitcoin, arguably the most popular cryptocurrency.
Determining the best of these services depends on what appeals most to you. Below, you will find a list of the most noteworthy ones with explanations of how to use them. Even though you may not see your country on the list of accepted regional Amazon sites for these services, as long as the Amazon seller for the item you want ships to your country, you could still use the service.
|Service||How it works||Accepted cryptos||Amazon regions|
|Spectrocoin||Use crypto to purchase Amazon gift card||Bitcoin only||Germany, Italy, Spain, France|
|Bitrefill||Use crypto to purchase Amazon gift cards, as well as gift cards for hundreds other sites||Bitcoin, ether, Litecoin, Dogecoin, DASH||India, Canada, Japan, Australia, United Arab Emirates|
|Purse||Search for your Amazon item on the site, use the Purse widget directly on the Amazon item page, or import your public Amazon wishlist to Purse to use crypto as payment||Bitcoin only||United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan|
SpectroCoin offers several cryptocurrency services, including the option to exchange crypto for Amazon gift cards valid in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. By opening a SpectroCoin account, you can use their services as a wallet for bitcoin or other cryptos. On their website, you can fill up your wallet and then select “Top-Up and Vouchers” under the “Withdraw” menu.
The site will then give you a menu to select your country and order a gift card. When you complete the purchase, you’ll instantly receive a voucher code to spend on Amazon.
Like Gyft, Bitrefill lets you buy various gift cards with bitcoin, ether, Litecoin, Dogecoin and DASH. On Bitrefill’s site, you can select the Amazon voucher you want for either India, Canada, Japan, Australia or the United Arab Emirates, and then choose your desired crypto for payment. The site will then give you a QR code to access through your crypto wallet.
Once your payment is confirmed, you can use your gift card immediately on Amazon.
On Purse, you can exchange bitcoin for Amazon items on Amazon US, UK, Canada and Japan. On the mainpage, just type in any item you are interested in on Amazon in the search bar, and then add it to your cart.
You can also download the Purse Chrome browser extension, connect it to your Purse account, and then visit Amazon, where you will be shown the price you could save on an item if you pay in bitcoin under the item’s price— you can then click on the Purse widget right on Amazon and directly add the item to your Purse cart.
Alternatively, you can add your item to a new public Amazon wishlist. After you make this wishlist and add your desired item, copy the wishlist link under “Send list to others” and paste it into the search bar on Purse’s “Import Wish List” page.
The site also features a slider you can use to search for discounts of a desired amount — the higher the discount, the longer the potential delivery time.
Purse works when “Earners” exchange their own Amazon gift cards for your cryptocurrency, hence the price raise if you want your item faster.
(Side note, as of publication time, one Purse user had hundreds of open Amazon orders in America for a variety of Lego play sets awaiting fulfillment by “Earners.” When Purse customer support was asked if this was a glitch or if someone really loved both Legos and using Bitcoin that much, they confirmed that a real user did have that many open orders for Legos. Go figure.)
Services You Thought You Could Use to Spend Crypto on Amazon…But You Actually Can’t
In the past, crypto payment processor Moon allowed you to spend your crypto right on Amazon using a similar widget to Purse’s. However, Moon has temporarily disabled their Amazon transactions during their integration with new partners for “Moon v2,” according to their customer support team.
Gyft, which is still an active site that allows you to buy gift cards for hundreds of sites with crypto as a payment option, does not currently have Amazon gift cards available. Although the site was previously one of the ways to pay with crypto on the retail giant, Amazon allegedly stopped accepting Gyft gift cards in 2017.
Crypto exchange platform Paybis also wants you to think that you can use your crypto to buy items on Amazon, but it’s not exactly the case.
Although there is a now-deleted Paybis blog post entitled, “Purchase Amazon.com eGift Card on Paybis.com” from 2017, the current Paybis how-to on crypto-to-Amazon purchases involves you first transferring your funds to your credit or debit card, and then buying an Amazon gift card…which begs the question, isn’t this just you spending fiat directly on Amazon with no crypto in sight?
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