How to Accept Bitcoin for your Business

If you have a business either online or in person, you will most likely want to accept as many payment methods as possible. After all, if you have a customer standing there willing to buy from you, but you don’t accept their payment method they’re going to go elsewhere. But many retailers, either because of a lack of knowledge or a fear of transaction safety opt out of allowing Bitcoin payments. We’re here to explain to you the pros and cons of using Bitcoin for your business, and giving you an idea on how to get started.

 

Why Bitcoin?

 

Paying by Bitcoin is instant and has almost no transaction fee thanks to the lack of banking or financial institution monitoring the transaction. With lower transaction fees for your business, you can pass those savings on to the customer (or make a little more profit). Your customers also benefit from payments being VAT exempt, meaning that it is generally cheaper for businesses and their customers to use Bitcoin. You can also accept international payments easily, allowing you to open up your pool of potential customers.

 

The Downside

 

Bitcoin is what is classed as an unstable currency, meaning its value is subject to fluctuations and can be somewhat unpredictable. This has made some large retailers cautious of accepting payments via Bitcoin. It’s worth pointing out that currently, the Bitcoin value is at one of the highest exchange rates it has ever experienced, bolstered partly by people in China investing in the currency to protect against the faltering yuan. It is worth doing extensive research before opting for any payment method.

 

So How Can I Set Up Bitcoin Payments?

 

If you haven’t already, you need to get yourself a Bitcoin wallet such as BTC.com or coinjar.co.uk. These are where you store your Bitcoins online. Once your wallet is setup, you can receive Bitcoins to your account by asking customers to transfer coins to you using your key code. This method works best in person and doesn’t require any additional software to operate. For online payments, you can also use a plugin that accepts payments.

 

What Options Are Available?

 

There are some eCommerce sites that you can list on such as Etsy and Shopify that have their own services available to accept Bitcoin. However, if you’re going it on your own, you’ll need to make sure that you choose an option that is compatible with your website. Some sites offer precoded plugins that are suitable for integrating with Woocommerce, ZenCart, and Magento, such as https://www.gocoin.com/ and https://bitpay.com/, which also has the bonus of being mobile friendly. These options, and the many others that are available online aim to take the pain out of accepting Bitcoin payments, and offer some security when it comes to holding your Bitcoins.

 

Which Businesses Let You Pay With Bitcoin

Bitcoin continues to rise in popularity online with customers able to purchase all manner of goods and services with the crypto-currency. If you’ve thought of using Bitcoin as a currency before, but are not sure where you can spend them then allow us to help you out. Here’s our list to get you started…

Bigfish Games

If you’re into your video games, Bigfish games allow you to purchase their online games using Bitcoin from wherever you are in the world. Whether you are interested in three-of-a-kind games, or you’d rather search for hidden objects they’re bound to have a game for you. They even have mobile specific games for those of you who prefer to play on the go.

RE/MAX London

RE/MAX is a UK based estate agent who offers both rentals and properties to purchase worldwide. They’re a franchise of the RE/MAX real estate company that was formed in the US in 1973 in Denver, Colorado and began accepting Bitcoin payments in 2015. The company is huge, having over 6,800 offices worldwide. Whether you’re looking to uproot to Armenia, or are planning on staying in jolly old Blighty, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Satoshi Dice

Bitcoin casinos are incredibly popular worldwide, with users of the currency enjoying the anonymity that Bitcoin transactions provide, alongside the virtually non-existent transaction fees. One of the first to get in on the act was Satoshi Dice, a Japanese based dice and slot casino that offers just two games – but boy, are they popular! The games on the site are provably fair (you can actually check the results of the games to make sure you’re not being swindled) and you can even bet on the house if you like.

WordPress

If you’re looking to set up a website or blog, a good place to start is WordPress. As well as allowing you to purchase their services using Bitcoin, there are also lots of plugins available on the site that allow you to access Bitcoin if you use WordPress to set up an eCommerce site.  

Overstock.com

Overstock.com is a huge business offering homewares, fashion and other goods to people all over the world. There aren’t many places where you can buy industrial steel stools for your kitchen in the same place that you can get yourself a fancy watch, but Overstock.com is one of them. They’re also a reputable company, formed over 20 years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah, offering fuss-free returns wherever you are in the world.

Why Bitcoin is Becoming a Popular Currency Option

It would be fair to say that Bitcoin is the most popular online currency in the world, but what exactly caused its success? Well, firstly the currency is cheap to use. In everyday transactions online, most currency is subject to the charges of a bank or other financial institution to process it. But Bitcoin relies on peer-to-peer transfer, cutting out these institutions and making the whole process cheaper. In the UK and the rest of Europe, Bitcoin is exempt from VAT, making it an increasingly popular option.

 

Some users are also pleased with the anonymity that using Bitcoin provides you. When you purchase Bitcoins, you need to store them in a money wallet which requires little more than your email address to set up. Transferring money to one another is then done by providing a key code that the other party receives. There are no names, addresses or emails involved, making Bitcoin the cryptocurrency of choice amongst certain clientele. Many are taking advantage of the anonymity to access Bitcoin casinos from countries that are banned from using them, such as the US.

 

Bitcoin is also becoming more popular with retailers, often from the tech world such as Microsoft, allowing users to purchase items from their websites using Bitcoin. The number of retailers is increasing on a global scale daily, with many small businesses as well as larger companies jumping in on the idea. From a business standpoint, this is all about providing what the customer wants, and extra payment methods are going to increase the number of people through the door. It makes sense then that retailers are taking the chance on the crypto-currency.

 

The currency has also seen a surge of users in China, with around 80% of the world’s Bitcoin transactions being made in the country. In 2016 the amount of people using Bitcoin rose considerably thanks to the weak performance of the yuan against the US Dollar. Many were prompted to invest in the Bitcoin in light of the yuans poor prices to shelter from the instabilities of the yuan. Other people are simply choosing to invest in Bitcoin for the long term future. There are over 16 million Bitcoin in circulation today, with the maximum number of Bitcoin being released capped at just 25 million. Because of the limited number of Bitcoin available, some investors have decided to purchase Bitcoin now in the hope that the value will go up when the currency becomes rarer to find. This phenomenon is seen in the physical currency world all the time but is somewhat surprising given that Bitcoin is nothing more than a line of code.

 

A Brief History of Bitcoin and Its Rising Popularity

Bitcoin has been revolutionary in the world of fiat money, attracting a wealth of people who prefer its peer to peer nature over relying on a financial institution or bank to organise their transactions. This, of course, has the benefit of no transaction fees making it cheaper to send money to anyone all over the world.

The currency itself was two years in its creation and was thought to be the notion of Satoshi Nakamoto, an assumed alias of a man – or men – who resided in Japan (also probably untrue). Nakamoto filed a white paper in 2008 detailing plans for the currency, and in 2009 it first came into public use. This is following a patent application made in 2008 by Charles Bry, Neal Kin and Vladimir Oksman for an encryption patent. Many assumed that these men were, in fact, Nakamoto. All three denied this.

In 2010 the currency was then advertised on the news website Slashdot, which increased its popularity ten-fold. Those using the currency had an exchange rate or around 1.309 Bitcoins to a US dollar when it was first introduced, but a bubble in the currency value was just around the corner, with one Bitcoin costing $31 in 2011. Slashdot users were not concerned with the value of the Bitcoin, though. The website focuses on social news stories for those who are interested in building software and tech devices. Members of Slashdot were no doubt more inspired by Bitcoin’s open source mining and mobile friendly transactions.

Another group of people also took an interest in the currency thanks to its ability to send anonymous transactions – criminals. Amongst the dark web, Silk Road crops up, which was a Bitcoin only marketplace described as the eBay for drugs. It linked some of the biggest dealers worldwide with their customers in a secretive way. You can send Bitcoins to each other without ever having to disclose even your email address.

The currency continued to rise in success, with one Bitcoin costing around $893 dollars (about £723) today. There are now over 16 million Bitcoins in circulation online, and major retailers like Microsoft allow site patrons to pay for their goods with Bitcoin. Many online casinos also now accept Bitcoin too. The number of Bitcoins available is said to be capped at 25 million, so once these have all been circulated it is thought that the value of the existing Bitcoins will increase, leading investors to take a chance on the crypto-currency. However, the future of Bitcoins as a currency is looking less certain, with Bitcoin wallet sites (places you can store your Bitcoin) saying they are no longer interested in being Bitcoin wallets. This is a crucial moment in time for the currency and only time will tell if it will succeed in its goal to become a mainstream currency, or if it will remain on the sidelines looking on.

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