How to Safely Buy Products Online with Cryptocurrency
Today, there are many payment options available to consumers, including checks, bank drafts, and credit cards. These old payment methods are tried and true. However, many have found cryptocurrency payments are among the safest. Especially since the name itself refers to the advanced coding used to encrypt and verify transactions. This technology creates an immutable blockchain, ensuring secure payments when combined with a registered third party.
That said, like any online payment method, there are still safer methods to ensure the security of the transaction, including the use of reputable websites or engaging with a cryptocurrency escrow service for direct peer-to-peer transactions.
Only Transact with Reputable Websites
Like any other online platform, it is important first to do your due diligence to ensure the platform you are purchasing from can be trusted. This might mean only engaging in transactions with a known website that has positive third-party reviews. Among the most well-known sites that accept cryptocurrency are Shopify, Etsy, Overstock.com, Newegg, and Microsoft, all of which have had a long reputation in quality customer service even before accepting crypto.
One method to research this is on social media. Social media platforms contain active cryptocurrency groups. Therefore, if a scandal has ever occurred, popular opinions and customer experiences will be easy to find. Alternatively, platforms like Trustpilot and Reddit may also contain valuable insights into the mind of the consumer.
If the website is lesser-known, a couple of safe website tips that are standard for any online purchase can be used. These include:
- Locating the company contact information (including a phone number and an address)
- If “https” is located in front of the website URL
- A lock icon in the URL bar
While a website may contain some or all of these security protocols, it also may be reputable without having any of them. In this case, consumers can instead take the opposite route and look for any major red flags on the site. Some of the most common are:
- Suspicious pop-ups
- Warnings from your computer
- Advertisements with spelling errors
By avoiding websites that don’t abide by these guidelines, consumers can confidently buy products online with their cryptocurrency.
How to Use an Escrow Service
Unfortunately, consumers may not always have the luxury of purchasing from a reputable site. Rather than avoid the transaction altogether, options also exist for direct peer-to-peer transactions that are facilitated by an escrow service. Escrow services refer to a trusted third party that helps to facilitate an exchange of funds between a buyer and a seller.
Today, users can choose from a variety of online escrow services. Users will be required to first sign up for the platform using their name, email, and a strong password. Some platforms will require user verification, although this isn’t standard across all platforms. After registering, users can start a transaction. To do so, they must select both the type of transaction, the currency that will be used, and the second party’s email address or contact information.
Both parties then must decide to engage in a transaction and agree on a set of terms. Then, a smart contract will execute the terms of the agreement on their behalf. Following this, the escrow service verifies the terms of the agreement have been met. Once this step is completed, a message is sent to release the funds in the account. Any funds previously held in escrow are forwarded directly to the seller’s wallet.
Leverage Safe Storage Methods
A large part of secure purchases is safe cryptocurrency storage. At any time, someone may lose their cryptocurrency tokens as the result of theft, computer failure, or the loss of private access keys, compromising the transaction. For parties that are purchasing or selling a good, cryptocurrency cold storage should be used. This is because online hackers cannot hack into what is not there. These wallets store the user’s address and private key on software that allows the user to view their portfolio without putting their private key at risk.
Users must continue to follow all best practices when engaging in the transaction and storing their cryptocurrency to ensure funds are not lost due to fraudulent practices.
Featured image: TechRadar