The business world is constantly changing and you need to keep pace with the latest developments if you want to stay in the game. Naturally, staying on top of every tech innovation and new way of operating isn’t easy, but if there’s one new idea you should consider in 2017, it’s bitcoin.
Dealing in traditional currencies might not be old hat just yet, but all the current signs currently suggest bitcoin will become a force in the business world over the next few years. Of course, before you start setting fire to £20 notes, you need to know what bitcoin actually is. In simple terms, bitcoin is a cryptocurrency (virtual currency) that’s created through a process known as mining.
Because mining is essentially a network of computers solving complex equations that help produce and process bitcoin transactions, no one is in charge. Unlike traditional currencies that are minted and controlled by a government, bitcoin is a self-regulating system that isn’t tied down by borders. In fact, it’s this second point that makes it an attractive business option.
Come One, Come All
Like many things on the internet, bitcoin is borderless. The upshot of this is that you can offer a product or service from anywhere to anyone around the world and not worry about things such as currency conversion fees or costs. This is something Dell took advantage of back in 2015.
Despite a dip in the value of bitcoin, Dell joined fellow computer company Microsoft by offering a bitcoin payment option. The benefit of this for international customers (as noted by Coin Desk in 2015) was that Dell offered a 10% discount on purchases. Because it was essentially lifting the geographic restrictions on payments, it was able to pass the savings on to customers.
Another benefit of bitcoin is that it’s virtually anonymous. What this means in practice, is that users don’t have to input any personal or financial information when they make a purchase. When someone pays using a debit card, a merchant will require their name, card number and, in some instances, address. Anytime you have to put this sort of information online, it’s at risk of being stolen by cybercriminals.
In contrast, when you make a bitcoin purchase, you don’t need to include any of this information. A case in point is SportsBet.io. In the online betting industry, customers value their anonymity simply because they often have fair amount of money in their online accounts (known as their bankroll). Because of this, they don’t want criminals to have a lock on their activities.
Consequently, SportsBet.io allows them make a deposit in bitcoin. Not only that, but when they click here, they’ll be able to place bets on everything from football and basketball to player props (i.e. bets against other members). Finally, when customers are finished, they can withdraw their bitcoin and store it in their online wallets anonymously.
Keep Your Customers Safe
Having this ability to offer anonymous transactions has allowed online betting sites to thrive in recent years, but it’s also something you can use to help your business grow. In 2015, the BBC reported that online banking fraud was up by 48% between 2013 and 2014. Citing data from Financial Fraud Action, the report suggested that cybercriminals are now targeting financial institutions and payment processors.
This fact alone should be enough to make you consider bitcoin as the next move for your business. However, if that’s not enough, then the fact you can offer a universal payment option without currency conversion fees and charges should tip the balance. Although bitcoin isn’t a fully mainstream payment option just yet, the tide is changing and if you don’t want your business to sink, you should learn to swim with it now.