Bitcoin has been around for more than ten years now. During this time, there was a lot of noise about how the future of this cryptocurrency was bleak. Governments and banks warned against the use of this “bubble that was going to burst” and advocated regular means of transaction processing.
Now, thanks to Bitcoin, online businesses are finally able to reach markets previously unattainable to them. While faster transactions, more security, and anonymity are all well and good, it is international payments without boundaries that will truly revolutionize the way online businesses operate.
Benefits of Cryptocurrencies
Each day, more and more online businesses join the ranks of those who’ve already accepted cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Microsoft, Expedia, Overstock, AT&T, and many others are already on board. Apple and Amazon are warming up to the idea, with the Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch now accepting Bitcoin as payment.
Industry giants are not the only ones with a vested interest in cryptocurrencies. Smaller online businesses accept digital money as well. So what are these benefits they’re after?
Merchant transaction fees can compound to a lot of money simply draining away. Paying 2%–3% in fees on top of each transaction is something we all had to live with.
However, cryptocurrencies don’t use banks as intermediaries. No banks — no need to verify each transaction and lose revenue that way. You pay no fees for using Bitcoin unless you want to expedite the already fast process.
Without a centralized body governing and checking all your transactions, the payment processing time is much shorter. Blockchain technology will take care of the checking process instead and complete the transaction almost instantly.
Even when there is an abnormal increase in traffic and higher demand, Bitcoin queues are no longer than six hours.
We often describe cryptocurrencies as being pseudonymous. What that means is they expose less private information than credit cards do. However, every transaction is recorded in the blockchain.
With Bitcoin, for example, a user’s Bitcoin address and the amount traded are visible on the public ledger. A proper analysis of the network could reveal the IP address associated with a cryptocurrency address. To sum up, digital currencies are more anonymous than credit card transactions, but still less so than cash.
Being based on blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and wallets storing them are secured tightly. Encryption relies on volunteers within the blockchain to do all the leg work. That’s a lot of computers working on keeping your transactions protected.
Moreover, said transactions are recorded and publicly available. While that may sound sketchy at first, all it means is that the transactions happening are transparent, reducing the number of scams and cheats.
Unlike banking systems, cryptocurrencies are available 24/7 every day of the year. You won’t ever have to suffer a delay in payment due to weekends, holidays, or late hours.
People with cryptocurrencies in their digital wallets can trade them at any time when they have internet access.
Last but not least, the rise of cryptocurrencies has opened up the online market like never before. Bitcoin crosses all borders and eliminates foreign transaction fees and currency exchange rates.
This fact alone has the potential to create a market, unlike any other that came before it. If you need a single reason to adopt cryptocurrencies, this would be it.
Industries Accepting Cryptocurrencies
As you would expect, not too many industries rushed to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. In the early days, the opinion that blockchain does nothing but provide anonymity to criminals was pervasive. Today, the situation is completely different thanks to a better understanding of what blockchain and cryptocurrencies in general are.
Some of the industries that have shown the greatest amount of progressiveness are:
- Travel industry
- Healthcare industry
- Online casinos
- Web hosting industry
Hotels and booking companies such as Cheapair.com have realized what Bitcoin can bring to their customers. Since they come from all over the world, given the nature of the industry, it’s natural to expect that they’ll want to make use of Bitcoin instead of worrying about local currency exchange rates all the time.
The healthcare industry was slow to acknowledge cryptocurrencies at first but came around in the last couple of years. That is especially true for South Korea and Poland, where you can cover your medical bills with Bitcoin.
Online casinos would hardly accept Bitcoin if it weren’t for the adaptiveness of the offshore hosting industry. Thanks to the quick response of offshore hosting providers such as AbeloHost, they began accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
That way, web hosting companies were able to provide their clients with an additional layer of security. Moreover, webmasters who decided to employ cryptocurrencies showed they cared about their clients’ anonymity.
While most cryptocurrencies are generally accepted by web hosting services, some prefer Bitcoin over all others. These are referred to as Bitcoin VPS providers and offer a wide range of VPS services. Bitcoin hosting reviews can help you narrow down a service that suits your needs.
Introducing Cryptocurrencies Into Your Business
There are some vital considerations to make before wholeheartedly accepting Bitcoin into your life and your business. Cryptocurrencies are still fairly young, and the digital infrastructure needed to make them readily available is not yet complete.
But we know enough at this point to be able to outline several advantages and disadvantages for you to make an informed choice.
- No fees. You will pay no fees (or minimal fees) on transactions using Bitcoin as opposed to credit cards.
- Instant payment. Cryptocurrency payments are almost instantaneous. You will have access to your funds much faster than you would otherwise.
- No disputes. Honest merchants suffer when customers dispute sales even months after the purchase. Bitcoin transactions are final, so you don’t have to worry about fraud!
- Innovation. You might be the first one to accept Bitcoin payments in your niche. That can grant you a significant edge over the competition.
- New customers. Finally, by accepting cryptocurrencies as payments, you will open up your business to the global market. Customers who would otherwise be unable to purchase from you due to financial restraints will be able to do so.
- Volatility. Cryptocurrencies have wild and unpredictable fluctuations. Consider what a drop in value would mean for your business and make a backup plan.
- Taxation. The IRS has made a statement saying that it’s mandatory to report Bitcoin transactions. Financial statements and taxes are more difficult to do because of the inherent volatility of Bitcoin, so you will need a bookkeeper.
- No regulation. While decentralization is a good thing, the majority of people out there still fear the lack of government interference.
While we could focus on the downsides of cryptocurrencies, the obvious takeaway is that they will largely benefit your business. Instant transactions at any time with no fees are enough to get anyone’s attention, let alone far better security and anonymity.
Bitcoin will help you reach a much broader audience than ever before and establish your business as a trusted and innovative brand.
Featured image by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash