One question everyone asks after they’ve bought bitcoins is where can I spend them? That’s something which Lewis Jackson, 24, from Newcastle upon Tyne wanted to address.
With a background in software development for websites and web applications Lewis built Where to Spend Bitcoins UK from the ground up, creating a vital resource of around 300 UK retailers who currently accept payment as bitcoin.
The site launched in late 2013 in response to what was a lack of any UK-centric resource. Whilst other similar sites existed, their content was either incorrect, out of date or purely targeting US customers.
Where to Spend Bitcoins makes it easy to find not only online retailers who accept bitcoin but also physical brick and mortar retailers by showing their location on a map of the British Isles. You can also search the directory by business category, region or city.
It’s quite surprising the diversity of bitcoin retailers which now exist within the UK, everything from Window Cleaners to Web Designers. A recent big name to accept bitcoin on the high street is the technology exchange and retailer CeX which has rolled out bitcoin payments to over 30 stores after running a bitcoin only payments trial in their Glasgow store earlier this year.
Anyone can submit a retailer in the UK who accepts bitcoin, and data is also periodically pulled from OpenStreetMap using a bespoke system developed by Lewis. All submissions are verified and approved before being made publicly available.
In the future the site hopes to offer a system to push retailer information back into OpenStreetMap as well as a way for users to flag if any information is incorrect, i.e. they no longer accept bitcoin, so that the directory always contains accurate, up-to-date information.
As well as the directory of retailers the site also provides a useful resource for bitcoin newbies regarding how to buy bitcoins in the UK. This content is held on GitHub making it easy for anyone to contribute.
Not only is Lewis the sole maintainer and software developer of Where to Spend Bitcoins, he’s also in the process of setting up an informal bitcoin meetup group for bitcoiners based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He wants to bring together like-minded individuals to help further the adoption of bitcoin in the local area. If anyone’s interested in getting involved you can find more information about the meetup on Facebook or Twitter.