Should you accept Bitcoin?
bitcoin
Bitcoin is all the rage. Even now, months after the explosion in its value, people are talking about it. We published our own overview of Bitcoin and the rise of crypto currency (it’s hard to take Dogecoin seriously but it exists so it gets a special place in our hearts) in April. By now most people understand what Bitcoin (and, by extension, a crypto currency) is. The important questions isn’t “what is it?” The important question—the one we’re going to talk about in this post—is whether or not you should accept it. Let’s take a look at both sides of this particular coin.

Oh come on, the pun was right there!

Yes! You Should Accept Bitcoin!

Bitcoin, regardless of your personal feelings about it, is becoming more and more accepted every day and not just by the nerds. Even regular online shopping portals have started accepting the currency. You don’t want to be one of the few sellers out there who won’t accept the currency, do you?

In an article for Wired, Patrick Byrne—the CEO of Overstock.com—defends his choice to allow people to use Bitcoin to pay for their Overstock.com purchases and making Overstock the first online sales portal to adopt the currency: “I didn’t want to see someone beat us,” he says.  Apparently he followed up Overstock’s adoption of Bitcoin with his own—converting a bunch of his personal funds to Bitcoins the day after Overstock’s Bitcoin payment system went live.

Keeping up with the “big kids” isn’t the only reason to take Bitcoins. Cooperatize.com recently started accepting Bitcoin payments too and it lists the ability to accept micropayments at lower fees as one of the primary reasons that they adopted the system. Web based payments aren’t anything new, a spokesman for the company says in Forbes, but the fees for Bitcoin micropayments are variable, making them cheaper in the long run than limiting customers to PayPal or Square (whose fees are significantly higher, relatively speaking).

It is also worth noting that, in some circles, the use of Bitcoins is incredibly popular. In a recent article for the New York Times, Dish Network cited the ability to better reach those markets as one of its primary decision to start allowing customers to pay their bills with Bitcoins (which makes them the largest business to take the currency).

No! Don’t Do It! Bitcoin is a Fad!

The newness of Bitcoin is one reason that many companies are still hesitant to accept the currency. It is popular in some circles, yes, but the vast majority of the population is still in the dark about crypto currency. This means that you could spend thousands of dollars setting up a payment system that very few of your buyers are actually going to want to use. Depending on what you’re selling and your average sales, you might not bring in enough sales to cover that expense, let alone make it worth your while.

The biggest reason, though, that people use for not accepting Bitcoins is that it is a currency that isn’t backed by anything. Most currencies are backed by some form of commodity. Those that aren’t hold their value because there is a finite amount of that currency. Bitcoins, on the other hand, are unlimited in their supply and have no solid backing which means that their value isn’t guaranteed. A single Bitcoin might be worth a couple hundred dollars today but there is absolutely nothing to keep it from being worth a nickel tomorrow. This means that, if you aren’t able to convert Bitcoins to dollars fast enough, you could lose more money than you make on your sales.

Whether or not you accept Bitcoin is entirely your decision. Just make sure that you have all of the facts and that you weigh all of your options before you make your final decisions.