Digital currencies have come a long way in the last decade. From an unknown, highly-suspicious monetary scheme, Bitcoin became the world’s largest cryptocurrency, used in every part of the world, and a leader of the digital finance industry.
Interested in trading cryptocurrency?
- Lowest fees of all major exchanges, especially if you use Binance’s BNB coin to pay for fees, you get 50% discount
- Fast execution
- Most trusted exchange in the world, it’s the most active cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume
- Anonymous withdrawal up to 2 BTC within 24hours without KYC detail verification
While the crypto trend is still far away from entering the mainstream, the situation is getting better and more favorable for cryptos with each passing day. In time, thousands of new cryptocurrencies emerged, and thousands more have been announced. Even large companies such as Facebook are joining the trend by launching their own coins.
Others may not be launching tokens, but are certainly finding ways to participate, whether by launching wallets, providing some sort of crypto-related services, or simply accepting crypto payments. In fact, crypto use cases are on a sharp rise, and there are already many merchants within the online world that are accepting digital currencies.
Even in the offline world, we see more and more use of cryptocurrencies for everyday payments. These are mostly coming through crypto integration with major credit card makers, but the fact is that cryptocurrency is inching towards acceptance all the time.
Today, however, we are not interested in that. Today, our goal is to see different methods of accepting crypto in your online store. There are several of them, and none overly complicated.
So, you want to start accepting Bitcoin in your online store
Opting to start accepting Bitcoin in an online store is an excellent decision. The crypto market is getting stronger and more widely accepted around the world. That means that you can have buyers from anywhere on the planet, and still have your transaction done within only a few minutes.
With cryptocurrency spreading, more and more people will start using Bitcoin, thus your customer base will continue to grow. Not only that, but you yourself can contribute to the growing crypto ecosystem. Further, you can also be among the pioneers in the industry, and become known as one of the first to open your store’s doors to the emerging digital assets.
Whether you are only planning to start your store, or you already have one, and you wish to expand your possibilities — choosing to accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment is definitely the right choice.
When it comes to methods of integrating Bitcoin payments, there are several of them, as mentioned. We will go through some of them now, and hopefully, you will find the most beneficial of them that will apply to your situation.
1. Start accepting Bitcoin on Shopify with Coinbase Commerce
Shopify is well-known and, in most cases, a preferred method of integrating online payments within online shops. The service is fast, easy to use and integrate, and very popular.
About a year and a half ago, however, the leading US cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, made a huge announcement that it will launch an integration between Shopify, and its, then new, service called Coinbase Commerce.
This was a great deal for merchants and crypto enthusiasts alike, as there are countless Shopify merchants around the world, and all of them suddenly got the ability to start accepting crypto. If you are a Shopify user yourself — or you plan to become one — this applies to you, as well.
Coinbase already supports several cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is, of course, the first among them. But, you can also include Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC) among the offered coins. This will certainly expand yours and your customers’ possibilities, especially since Shopify has the biggest app store within the e-commerce space. Many started using the new feature immediately, with quite decent fees.
As for enabling Coinbase Commerce on Shopify — the process is very quick and easy, and you can complete it within minutes. Of course, there are a few steps to follow first.
You must start by applying for a Coinbase account at the Coinbase Commerce site. After your account is authorized, you will start receiving regular payouts from the exchange. After that is done, you should go to your Shopify admin, proceed to Settings, and then go to Payment Providers.
There, you will see the Alternative Payments section, where you should click on the Select Additional Payment Method. Simply choose Coinbase Commerce, enter your Coinbase Commerce email and API Key, hit Save, and you are done.
All that remains for you to do now is to wait for your customers to start using crypto payments. You should do well to announce the move and help spread the word, although the crypto community is incredibly supportive of anyone who chooses to start working with digital coins, so the news should spread rather quickly. Soon enough, your shop’s name will be in news and articles, which will attract even more clients and customers, whether they are crypto-supporters or otherwise. This is the best method of adding Bitcoin to your business, which is why it sits on the first spot.
2. Set up a ‘Pay with Bitcoin’ button
Another option that you have is to set up a special ‘Pay with Bitcoin’ button on your website and allow your customers to pay in crypto immediately. The process is very simple here, as well, and you can employ one of many different services that will help you set everything up.
You can work with services like BitPay, CoinGate, or even Coinbase itself. All that needs doing is adding a few lines of HTML code, which will appear on your web page in the form of a button, and that will be it. It is a very straightforward and simple option, and once again — advertising that you are accepting Bitcoin will be the main thing to do. Adding such payment methods is very simple, and you can have it done in no time.
3. Set up your own wallet
Next, you can start accepting Bitcoin payments and receive the coins directly into your wallet. You can use a third-party wallet, or one of the dozens of well-known crypto exchanges, whatever you prefer.
In essence, the wallet is nothing more but a string of letters and numbers, and most Bitcoin exchanges are using them to address their customers’ needs. They offer wallets as a service on their platforms, or even as a completely separate platform. These are known as hot wallets or web wallets. They are not a 100% secure way of storing cryptocurrencies, but you can always obtain a hardware wallet as well, and transfer your coins to a gadget-like device which you can carry with you.
All you need to do is register with one of the online wallets, and use the public key as a wallet address to which your customers would send funds. Alternatively, you can even make the process simpler for them by creating a QR code that they can scan and sign with their own private key, and have the payment performed automatically.
Keep in mind that you will be in charge of your wallet’s security, which is why you must never let anyone else know what your own private key is. The public key should be shared — the private key is for your eyes only. Who holds the private key, holds the funds.
4. Use crypto payment apps or plugins
In recent years, as the crypto trend started to explode, developers quickly realized its potential in the e-commerce industry. This is why they started creating special apps and plugins that can make accepting BTC a simple and easy process.
In truth, these apps are not much different than wallets themselves. Customers can use them to directly send Bitcoin payments to you via a third-party platform. All that you must do is pick the app, download it, install it, and connect it to your own wallet.
Then, you can type in the amount required to purchase a specific item in fiat currencies, such as the USD, EUR, GBP, and alike. The app will create a QR code, just like the one we talked about earlier, and your customers can scan it.
This is a very modern and popular way of making payments, as pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days. With most of the funds being stored either in crypto or in traditional bank accounts, people are accustomed to quick online payments, so there will not be a lot of problems. You can choose any of the vast numbers of such apps, including the already mentioned BitPay, CoinGate, CoinFly, or some other app that might seem interesting to you.
Another of the solutions that you might want to consider are invoices, although they can be a bit difficult to handle when it comes to volatile assets such as Bitcoin.
Simply put, you can request a certain amount in fiat currency, although many recommend adding a suggested amount in Bitcoin. If not that, at least provide your customers with instructions on how to calculate how much they are supposed to pay. This may save you some time and repeating the same questions and answers, although it is still not the best method due to constant price fluctuations.
This issue may lead to losses, whether on your part, or your customers’. Bitcoin’s price can go up or down by hundreds or even thousands of dollars at any time, so setting up a specific price in BTC is not going to reflect the item’s worth realistically for long.
As usual, invoices need to include a public address of your wallet, so that the customer will know where to send the payment to. Once again, you can simply create a QR code, and that will be it.
Pros and cons of accepting Bitcoin in your online store
In the end, the most important part is that you can start accepting Bitcoin, and potentially other digital currencies if you so desire. But, as always, things are not exactly black and white, and there are positives and negatives of choosing to integrate Bitcoin payments into your online store.
Probably the biggest benefit of opening up to cryptos is that you will make your business immune to fraud. All Bitcoin payments are final, and they cannot be reversed. Even the double-spending issue — the situation where the same money is used to pay for several goods — is resolved by Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work. Even so, just to be sure, you should always allow for a few more blocks to be resolved before you can consider the payment final. With each block requiring around 10 minutes to be processed, waiting half an hour to a full hour is the best way to avoid being tricked.
This is a great benefit of cryptocurrencies and an issue that was often seen when it comes to credit card payments. Cards can be declined after a while, and the payments could be canceled. If that happens, you are left out of your merchandise, out of money, and with a ton of work before the situation can be fixed.
Next, you won’t have to worry about additional transaction fees with Bitcoin. If you use cards, you must keep those fees in mind. Otherwise, you may end up suffering losses. Crypto payments are very transparent, and you will always know how big the fees are, and you can even decide whether or not you want to pay them. Paying them would let you get to your coins faster, but if you choose not to pay — you get to keep more money, and the transaction will be performed anyway, eventually.
Then, there is the biggest reason why you might want to start accepting BTC, although granted — this could be a double-edged sword. Of course, we are talking about Bitcoin’s volatility. We have mentioned this several times already, but only because it is an important thing to keep in mind — Bitcoin’s price is not fixed. It moves up or down, depending on dozens or more factors.
Any event might force it to go either way, depending on the community’s sentiment and predictions. Consider this — six months ago, Bitcoin’s price was only around $3,500. These days, it sits above $10,500 per coin. If you were to get a single BTC in January, you would now have three times as much in USD. But, as mentioned, this can also go the other way, and you can have BTC at a high price, only to see it crash down.
Owning cryptocurrencies does take a bit of patience, a good strategy, a bit of luck, and constant vigil. If you believe that they will be the money of the future in a few years, that would certainly help, as HODLing (keeping your coins no matter what) is considered to be the best investment strategy.
Another thing that might be considered a disadvantage is crypto taxation, which can be pretty inconsistent and difficult to deal with in some parts of the world. The lack of proper crypto regulations in the US makes it more complicated than it needs to be, and the fact that each regulator sees cryptocurrencies as a different type of asset does not help.
Still, there are tools and calculators that can help you simplify the process, so you should definitely look into them. Just keep track of all of your transactions, trades, and alike, and you should not have problems when the time to pay your taxes comes.
Above, we have seen several methods that you can use to add Bitcoin payments to your online store. You are free to choose any one of them you like, although we would wager that the first one is the most beneficial one. It is certainly the easiest, particularly if you are already a Shopify user. If not, it is not a problem as you can still become one quite easily.
Different merchants use different methods, depending on their knowledge, experience, and personal preference. Accepting Bitcoin can definitely be a great thing, as you receive greater security, payment immutability, immunity to fraud, and alike. Beneficial price shifts can also help you earn quite a bit more within days, or even hours if the prices start moving in a proper direction.
But, you will also have to keep track of the markets’ behavior in order to avoid being caught off-guard. Using Bitcoin is certainly an interesting thing to do these days, and it will keep you on your toes. But, it definitely has its benefits, so if you are not intimidated by the cons — the pros are more than worth it.