Bitcoin has continued to explode in value, briefly reaching a high of over $17,000 a coin before settling back down to under $16,000 just weeks after it passed into the five-figure range. But the surge is being driven by speculation, not the ease of actually using bitcoins for transactions, as shown earlier this week by digital distribution service Steam’s decision to stop accepting the cryptocurrency due to wild price swings and painfully long transfer times.
Well, at least you can still let semi-anonymous strangers slip you some of that sweet, sweet crypto on Craigslist. As the Verge reported this weekend, the classifieds site now includes an option to let potential buyers know that users accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. It’s a beautiful merger of two of the internet’s sketchiest creations.
Blockexplorer News calls it a “much more distributed and peer-to-peer development in mainstream Bitcoin adoption,” though Craigslist actually seems pretty late to the party. Enterprising street dealers have been arranging drug deal-style meetups to trade cryptocurrencies in person for years.
Unlike with other retailers, there’s not a lot of overhead here for Craigslist—as a classifieds site, it never sees a cut of any of the transactions it enables at all. That’s considerably less risky than, say, the approach from Wall Street, which has clearly been salivating over the explosion in cryptocurrency prices. Several firms are now considering whether to get into the Bitcoin futures game, despite the possibility of an imminent market crash.
One issue here, though, is that while people are pretty desperate to get their hands on some crypto, those who already have some tend to hoard it. So you can tell Craigslist you’ll happily take some bitcoins or ether for your old couch, but whether or not someone will actually take you up on it is another story.