If you run a business online and still rely on traditional payment methods, you are trading at a disadvantage. Card payments may be based on the transfer of digital information, but they were not invented with the internet in mind. Accordingly, they are cumbersome, slow and leave both the buyer and the seller open to fraud or the theft of sensitive information. Commonly-used online payment methods like PayPal are not so much the solution to this problem as a way to exploit it, with big profits going to the provider.
Cryptocurrencies are the only payment method created by and for internet natives. They represent a digital currency for a digital era and, of course, the most well-established cryptocurrency of all is bitcoin. Although it has many rivals, bitcoin is presently the most secure and widely accepted cryptocurrency on the planet. It is also the one that has gained the most in value since it was introduced in 2009.
One of the biggest advantages of using bitcoin for online businesses is that it allows you to send and receive payments instantly. This is because bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency that is traded over a peer-to-peer network, with no third parties taking their time processing the payment. With conventional payments sometimes taking up to several days to go through, especially in the case of international arrangements, this is a huge advantage.
As well as speeding up your business dealings, accepting bitcoin also allows you to meet the needs of your customers more quickly. In the modern age, where everyone expects immediate service, this gives you a distinct advantage over your competitors. Telling someone they have to wait while their payment is processed is tantamount to saying they might as well shop elsewhere.
Lower transaction fees
Compared to banks and other payment providers (hello again, PayPal!) the fees incurred in using bitcoin are minimal and, in many cases, non-existent. Again, this is an advantage of cutting out the middle man. Although the unregulated nature of bitcoin could be a cause for concern, using blockchain actually makes it self-regulating. The result is a safe and reliable form of currency without the need for costly checks, delays and processes.
A global currency
The speed of use and low fees with bitcoin are particularly noticeable when it comes to international transactions. As a truly global currency, not tied to any one national economy, bitcoin makes trading worldwide a breeze. There’s no need to worry about exchange rates, bank fees or taxes on overseas payments. As online bitcoin users, we are all citizens of the world and can deal with each other on that basis.
Hedge against business losses
Besides using bitcoin as a payment method, you can also invest in the currency as a way to cover your business against unexpected losses. Buying crypto currencies gives you an asset that is far less affected by economic downturns than cash, stocks or bonds. If you think that you’re too busy running a business to build up an investment portfolio, then automated trading allows you to sit back and let the algorithms do the work.
Secure against fraud
Because bitcoin uses an open ledger system (blockchain), it has built-in protection against fraud and chargebacks. Every transaction is permanently recorded in numerous locations and so can’t be altered or falsified after the event. This is publicly visible: the transparency of bitcoin is one of its greatest strengths. At the same time, because bitcoin transactions don’t require you to provide sensitive financial or personal information, such as your bank details, you are not giving away anything that could be stolen or misused.
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are the financial future, and every online business wants to be seen as both reliable and innovative. Accepting bitcoin enables you to widen your payment options which, in turn, means that customers are more likely to buy from you.
Remember, there are a lot of people out there with large quantities of bitcoin, looking for something to spend it on. As the number of businesses accepting cryptocurrencies is still relatively low, announcing that you are happy to deal in bitcoin will help you to stand out from the crowd.
If you are still worried about bitcoin’s reputation for volatility, you can use a third party to process payments at a fixed exchange rate so that you are still paid in the currency of your choice. This will most likely incur a fee, but it allows you to test the water before fully embracing bitcoin. Some experts predict that in a few years cryptocurrencies may replace other forms of payment and exchange altogether. If that is the case, it will benefit your business to utilise them now.