There are still many sections of society where Bitcoin is just a buzzword encountered in the news. Despite the fact it’s a relatively young currency, the last 12 months have seen Bitcoin start to gain even more widespread acceptance and traction. Bitcoin has many advantages and businesses are starting to make the most of the benefits of accepting a cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment.
People in general, let alone businesses, can be a little wary of new technology until it has proven its worth. Bitcoin’s continued growth and broadening acceptance are creating a situation where businesses can’t afford to ignore it, as it will only be a matter of time before one of their competitors is accepting Bitcoin.
Business is cheaper with Bitcoin
Any company that accepts online card or PayPal payments has to pay transaction fees for the pleasure of selling goods. They can also be made to wait for the funds to reach their bank account. Bitcoin eliminates both of these problems by cutting out the middleman. Because it’s a peer-to-peer system, there are no middlemen to charge you fees, and the payments are instant and irreversible.
When the savings can be anywhere in the region of 2% to 6%, it’s easy to see why businesses would want to encourage their customers to use a payment method with a 0% transaction fee. Many businesses have been running promotions and special offers for people who pay using Bitcoin, from added benefits when purchasing goods through a .com, to added bonuses when depositing money at a Bitcoin-exclusive casino such as Vegas Casino. Online casinos often wait days, sometimes weeks, before they receive the money you’re depositing from a card company, despite having to give you access to your funds straight away. This can be bad news for a business’s cash flow and is now eliminated by the use of Bitcoin.
‘Fees Key’ – GotCredit via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
The Bitcoin community is growing
Bitcoin is still used by a very small percentage of the population, but it’s a group of people who have wealth tied up in Bitcoin, and many are ready to spend. Although many businesses are getting onboard the Bitcoin express, there are still a relatively small number of places for people to spend using Bitcoin. This means getting in early can open up a whole new customer base for you.
The Bitcoin community is enthusiastic about their preferred cryptocurrency and will go out of their way to help make it a success. This creates a desire to show solidarity to businesses accepting Bitcoin by supporting the business with their custom.
Some cities and regions even have local Bitcoin meet-up groups who get together to due to their common support of the cryptocurrency.
Are you a lion or a sheep?
If Bitcoin continues on its current trajectory, even when all the ups and downs are factored in, it won’t be long before it is a completely normal and mainstream currency. Jumping into the market 12 months after your main competitors have already started accepting Bitcoin isn’t going to generate much love from the community. Accepting Bitcoin can be very easy, carries little to no risk, and has many potential benefits.
The only question is, are you a leader or a follower? Do you want to send the message to your customers that you’re at the cutting edge and trying to provide them with more options, or are you happy to wait and instead send the message that says of ‘Of course we accept Bitcoin, everybody does. That’s presuming they even notice you’ve started accepting it, as any potential novelty factor will have worn off, used up by competitors who were the first in your market or area.
The commercial risks are non-existent
There are two camps on Bitcoin: those that use it, and those that don’t care. By starting to accept Bitcoin, you open up a new demographic for your business, but it’s highly unlikely to create a negative response from the other group. Bitcoin users still represent a relatively small percentage of the purchasing public, so it’s unlikely to suddenly boost your sales by a huge amount. Although, the number of users and investors is growing constantly, so expect to see a larger uptake over a longer timeframe.
You don’t need to understand cryptocurrency to start accepting Bitcoin
Many people still don’t fully comprehend what a cryptocurrency is, or how they work. Don’t let a lack of knowledge scare you away. There are many online resources you can use to educate yourself about Bitcoin, or you can simply just start accepting it and enjoy the learning curve as you go.
There are websites dedicated to Bitcoin that can help get your business set up to accept payments and will virtually hold your hand through the entire process.
While the benefits of peer-to-peer transactions that are more secure is obvious, blockchain technology can potentially impact any online activity that involves data being shared by two or more people. This could apply to contracts, communications, or any project that involves data sharing. Instead of being stored in a single place and accessed from external sources through a user login, blockchain encrypts the data in a way that’s virtually impossible to decipher without the appropriate digital signature or key.
A combination of successes
For most products or services to succeed they need more than a single factor driving their adoption. The wide range of benefits is Bitcoin’s main strength. For businesses it:
- Reduces their costs
- Provides a quicker transaction that’s non-reversible
- Provides access to the Bitcoin community
Bitcoin also provides many benefits for individual users. For the average shopper it:
- Is more secure
- Is easy to use
- Can provide additional benefits as companies encourage its use
In fact, the only people it might not be so beneficial for are the credit card companies. We can’t see traditional currencies becoming any less popular anytime soon, so we’re sure they’ll be fine.
With so many benefits spread amongst both businesses and users, its widespread adoption is only a matter of time.