Even since its birth, Bitcoin has been at the forefront of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption. Cryptocurrencies are getting so much attention that even governments, large financial institutions, and various immense enterprises.
We are currently seeing more and more businesses starting to accept Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. From the owner of a small to medium business point of view, there are multiple reasons why you would want to adopt Bitcoin payments.
The most obvious advantage is the fact that you’re providing your customers with a brand new way of pay, and even add an extra layer of protection for their personal information. In short, by accepting Bitcoin as payment, you are attracting a new demographic and social category of customers.
Another noteworthy advantage of accepting Bitcoin as payment is related to Bitcoin’s use of blockchain and lack of any central authority. This not only translates into reduced fees, but it means that your business does no longer have to ensure a minimum card purchase limit, nor does it have to charge between two and five percent per transaction. Above all else, accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for your business is a statement; a statement that your business is a very technologically-inclined and customer-oriented establishment.
Methods of accepting Bitcoin in your store
The methods of accepting Bitcoin in your store differ according to the type of business you are running.
For example, if you’re running an online business, the easiest way of accepting payments is straight to your wallet. For this, you will have to provide your customers with either a QR-code or with the public key (address) of your wallet.
– Pay with Bitcoin button
Nowadays, the norm is to have a sort of “Pay with Bitcoin” button on your website. The button should be as visible as possible. To get things done without hustle, you can check out the following services: BitcoinPay, Coinbase, BitPay, Stripe, and CoinGate. Most of these services have button generators. All you need to do is fill in a form, and you’ll be provided with a few lines of HTML code which needs to be added to your website. The process should be straightforward as most of them also offer detailed instructions towards this end.
– Receiving invoices
Another method of accepting Bitcoin in your store is by accepting payments via invoices. The invoice must include a wallet address for the payer to send the funds to. The easiest practice is to add a QR-code since the public key is a long string of randomly generated characters. One extra recommendation would be to add clear instructions on how to calculate the required amount in fiat currency (due to Bitcoin’s fluctuations).
– Create an attractive sign
If you don’t have an online business and you’re running a store or any similar business (like a restaurant, coffee shop, etc.), then you should consider starting with a sign. It can be a simple “We Accept Bitcoin,” “Bitcoin Accepted Here!,” or even as a form of a catchy joke. A sign’s main purpose is to increase awareness.
– Set up a Bitcoin wallet
The easiest way to accept Bitcoin as payment for your business services is to set up a Bitcoin wallet where you can receive the funds directly. There are numerous Bitcoin exchanges that offer wallets or wallet services (Eidoo, StrongCoin, Blockchain.com, and BTC.com), but the safest method is to go for an independent wallet platform for the app, one that will allow you to fully control your private keys.
Just like mentioned before, it’s recommended that you present your wallet to your clients in the form of an easy-to-scan QR-code. Furthermore, a short guide informing clients on how to actually transfer Bitcoins to your wallet will most definitely prove its worth with time.
– Get a “screen app”
An easy way to provide your customers with the possibility of paying with Bitcoin is to get a smartphone or tablet app. There are numerous services that offer this type of payment. Some very good examples are CoinFly, CoinGate, BitPay, and Blockchain Merchant and Coinbox (available only for Android).
– Opt for a Bitcoin PoS
Another good way to ensure Bitcoin payments for your services is to opt for a Bitcoin-specific payment terminal. There are currently numerous Bitcoin point-of-sale terminals on the market and various Bitcoin-oriented services/APIs that can be integrated with some of the existing PoS terminals.
BitPay is one of the best choices since it provides you with an API that can be integrated into almost every basic point-of-sale system. Revel is another company/service that provides a wide range of PoS solutions for various types of business, with Bitcoin payment included. Coinkite is yet another solution worthy of your attention as their terminals can scan Bitcoin-based debit cards, and even generate and print-out QR-codes for customers.
– Consider using accepting gift cards
Probably one of the easiest ways to accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for your business is to accept gift cards which can be sold on designated Bitcoin-accepting platforms. The list of services that can help you with this matter includes eGifter, Gyft, GiftOff, and Paxful.
Additional things to keep in mind
In most countries, Bitcoins, ICOs, and basically all things cryptocurrency are still in a legal grey area. Therefore, it’s important to thoroughly research to determine if Bitcoin payments fit within the existing framework of your country. Existing regulations are sparse in most countries and, what’s worse, is the fact that they differ wildly from country to country.
As expected, it’s also possible that you will be required to pay some taxes if you accept Bitcoin as an official payment method in your business. Same as before, research is everything. If you feel that you’re not up for it, you could employ the services of a financial/tax specialist to help you. Hiring a crypto-savvy accountant may also be a very good idea.
Finally, it’s important to consider probably the biggest drawback of accepting Bitcoin as a payment method: Bitcoin’s price (same as most cryptocurrencies) is highly volatile. This means that you should adjust the prices as often as possible, if not on an hourly basis, then at least daily.