Away from prying eyes, retailers gear up for Bitcoin Black Friday (updated)

24 Nov 2015

While everyone and their dog is gearing up for the imminent Black Friday deals, those who happen to have some bitcoin lying around might be able to score some deals on the side as part of Bitcoin Black Friday.

In its third year, Bitcoin Black Friday is a pretty self-explanatory concept, taking the somewhat unknown and curious world of bitcoin cryptocurrency and trying to make it mainstream.

Of course, this year marks a peculiar difference compared with the last three in that we are now beginning to see a change in attitude towards bitcoin both from a consumer point of view, as well as a governmental and corporate one.

The latter’s interest, in particular, has cropped up this month, with reporting that the European Union (EU) is looking to clamp down on its use, believing it is being used to fund terrorist operations, while corporate entities like Fidelity Charitable see it as a way of allowing people to donate large sums of money to worthy funds.

One of those who was integral in its foundation was Jon Holmquist, founder of, who started it back in 2012 when he managed to convince 50 retailers to offer deals on products if the purchaser used bitcoin.

An unknown quantity

“This was back when the Silk Road was still up and running, so one of the primary goals of the campaign was simply to tell people that you could buy perfectly legal things with bitcoin,” said Holmquist to “It wasn’t a dark, shadowy currency, but a tool that could be used for good.”

The following year, things really went up a notch for Holmquist and the bitcoin community with prices reaching $1,200 per bitcoin and a flourishing trade that saw 10 times as many retailers take part.

Things then slowed down in 2014 as, despite 600 retailers around the world taking part, the price of bitcoin last year bottomed out after the splurging of 2013, resulting in a low spend.

But this year’s different, apparently. “This year we focused on keeping the event more curated,” Holmquist said. “We actually cut down on the amount of merchants we reached out to and are projecting about 150 to 200 merchants are going to participate. We’re focused on getting stores not only that accept bitcoin, but also are active in the bitcoin community.”

Major retailers nowhere to be seen

So how does Bitcoin Black Friday compare with regular Black Friday? Well, for starters, the full list of stores participating won’t be released until the day itself (27 November) so people will need to be quick off the mark to make the most of the deals.

The only caveat to Bitcoin Black Friday is that while Black Friday is now very much an international event, the bitcoin event is still largely an American-centric event with few offers apparently being announced here.

A few online service providers have been announced so far at least, including the VPN service Private Internet Access and domain registrar Namecheap and Denarium, which makes physical bitcoins that contain a bitcoin wallet.

Otherwise, you have fashion, cosmetic products and even board game providers all taking part. Sure it might not be Apple or Amazon offering bitcoin deals, but it’s certainly something for bitcoin owners to keep an eye on this Friday.

Update 10:18 25/11/2015

There have been a few more stores confirming their participation in Bitcoin Black Friday.

According to CoinRebates a number of other major retailers are now signed up to the event including Walmart, Starbucks, GameStop offering deals that would suggest better savings than using standard currency.

Bitcoins image via Antana/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic