Are you accepting bitcoin yet? We are! At what point will you take bitcoin seriously? At some point, perhaps within a few months, you could be losing business if your business does not take bitcoin, depending on the nature of your business, your competition, and many factors, of course.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a “crytocurrency” (produced, authenticated and exchanged using powerful encryption to prevent fraud and counterfeiting), a class of digital currency. Bitcoins essentially exist as “private key” computer files and the system is ran decentralized, by participating computers (called “bitcoin miners”), around the world. Transactions are logged in a public database, duplicated among these computers (kind of like domain name look-up data is duplicated among DNS servers around the world).
Benefits of Bitcoin to businesses
- Another form of payment to accept, now that bitcoin is being used more.
- Accepting credit cards, PayPal, and now bitcoin, helps to give your business an up-to-date high-tech image.
- No built-in charge-back process, giving the business more control over the purchasing/refunding process.
- Some degree of anonymity for transactions (more so than credit cards, for example).
Benefits of Bitcoin to consumers
- Consumers can “be their own bank”, storing, receiving and sending money on their own.
- Convenience – consumers can send money from their computer or mobile device, even if they don’t have a credit card or bank account.
- International payments may be easier and cheaper, as Bitcoin infrastructure develops.
- Some degree of anonymity, for purchases of an embarrassing or private nature.
Bitcoin boom of last two years
Some bold and curious early adopters have even retired on bitcoin they bought when it was still the in the domain of nerdy libertarians. In November of 2011, when I was first intrigued enough to copy down a web article URL about bitcoin, a bitcoin was only around $3. 1000 bitcoins, for $3000, bought then would be worth about a million US dollars today. I would not expect the same dramatic increase over the next two years, but I would be surprised if bitcoin didn’t rise in value significantly further by then.
As you might guess from the above, bitcoin is too volatile as a means to store wealth, for most people’s tastes, but speculators, and those with alot of faith and/or advanced knowledge of Bitcoin hold plenty. It is possible that the Bitcoin system could be hacked, sending the USD price of bitcoin plummeting, but it’s not likely, and the fact that it hasn’t been hacked and destroyed already says something about the protocol’s strength.
How do I start accepting Bitcoin?
It’s terribly easy to start accepting bitcoin in a basic way. Just set up a bitcoin wallet (we recommend an online wallet at Coinbase) and provide the customer/payer your bitcoin address (will have a format like “16LybCEsEa964VV4vtdZB4QKE1zZRjafVx”). They can now send you bitcoin over the internet from their own wallet. Services like BitPay allow you to accept bitcoin, but then BitPay pays you in US dollars. Contact us today, to see how we can help you catch the bitcoin train!