Cryptocurrency adoption is accelerating rapidly. There are now tens of thousands of merchants and businesses around the world that are accepting crypto payments, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Crypto and digital currency payments are beginning to represent an increasing market share, providing forward-leaning startups with a powerful new means of connecting with potential clients and customers.
Major international tech giants such as Microsoft and WordPress now accept cryptocurrency as a payment option, but the potential benefits of crypto payments aren’t restricted to major tech players only. Small retailers, e-commerce platforms, and SaaS enterprises are now integrating crypto payments through streamlined, purpose-built payment systems.
Regardless of the industry your startup operates in, choosing to accept cryptocurrency can provide your clients and customers with more choice and flexibility in remittance as well as open the doors to an entirely new market demographic of crypto users.
Getting started with crypto payments doesn’t have to be complicated. Startup crypto payment solutions can be as simple as a single QR-code address for payment but can scale all the way up to POS integration or dedicated merchant services. Before you give your clients the option to pay in crypto, however, there are a number of factors to consider.
Why should your startup accept crypto?
Startups that choose to accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum as a payment method are able to access a range of benefits.
Chargebacks or chargeback fraud is a significant threat to the cash flow of any small enterprise or startup, especially in the earliest days of operation. Chargeback statistics indicate that chargeback fraud is increasing at a rate of over 41 percent every two years, and results in the loss of over $25 billion in revenue every year. Cryptocurrency payments, however, can’t be reversed — once a cryptocurrency payment is made to your startup, it can’t be clawed back, ensuring that all remittances are final.
Crypto payment also reduces the cost of getting paid. Choosing to accept major credit and debit cards at your startup can speed up remittances, but comes with a cost. Accepting card payments can cost startups between 2 and 10 percent in processing fees. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, however, can be accepted with extremely small fees, freeing up capital that can be reinvested into a startup.
Credit and debit card payments often take several days to be released by payment processors before startups can access them. Cryptocurrency transactions are typically executed and finalized within an hour, depending on the crypto used to pay. Some are instantaneous.
Cryptocurrency is now used on a daily basis by millions of individuals around the world. Offering crypto payments at your business or startup opens the doors to these crypto users and holders.
Setting up your own wallet system
Cryptocurrency payments are extremely straightforward — in some cases, counterintuitively so. The process of making a cryptocurrency payment is simple: businesses need only give clients or customers a wallet address, which can then be used to accept payments. Wallet addresses are long strings of numbers and letters but are typically represented by a QR code.
Startups seeking a simple and effective method of accepting crypto as a payment method can provide customers or clients with a simple QR code that allows them to pay with a specific cryptocurrency. These QR codes can be provided via invoices, statements, or email. In order to accept crypto payments, however, you’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet.
A single wallet may be sufficient for startups that aren’t accepting a large number of payments (see CoinSchedule’s best wallet list). When multiple clients, accounts, or customers are making payments into a single wallet, however, accounting can become complicated. Platforms such a Bitpay or Coinbase Commerce provide businesses with powerful crypto payment acceptance options that integrate directly with existing point of sale or e-commerce platforms, streamlining the crypto payment acceptance process.
Exchanging crypto for fiat currency
Once your startup is accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method, it’s important to determine how your business will dispose of the cryptocurrency it gains. Some cryptocurrency payment methods integrate instant conversion features that allow businesses to accept crypto but get paid in fiat currency, while others, such as Coinbase, provide users with the ability to convert crypto to fiat via exchange functionality.
There are thousands of different cryptocurrency exchanges online today that facilitate the fast exchange of crypto for fiat currency. Most exchanges are centralized, while others — such as decentralized exchanges, or “DEXs”, allow crypto holders to exchange currency via decentralized “atomic swaps.”
Regardless of the method you choose to dispose of the cryptocurrency your business generates, it’s important to consider the tax implications of accepting crypto. You may choose to simply keep the crypto your startup generates, or use it to pay for business expenses, suppliers, or other costs. Ultimately, cryptocurrency provides your startup with another means of generating capital — and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.