Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have no doubt felt the buzz surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrency. The rise of digital wallets is making way for more convenient and instant payment systems, and as a result, disrupting the way we conduct business. Given cryptocurrency is automatically converted into local currency for merchants when using a payment processor, accepting this form of payment can be pretty seamless for retailers. Despite this, most are yet to get on board.
If you’re an eCommerce retailer selling online, adopting cryptocurrency as a payment method can enhance your customers’ journey and expand your consumer base by offering more choices at the checkout. To get started, here’s are a few reasons to implement this service into your eCommerce business.
What is Cryptocurrency?
To start, it might help to define cryptocurrency. Plain and simple, cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is not controlled by any bank or government but rather uses encryption techniques to regulate its use and generate its release.
Every transaction that occurs is verified by users on a network, and generally those transactions become public record to prevent the coin being spent multiple times by the same user. The key to using cryptocurrency is understanding that each coin is unique and some coins offer more protection and privacy than others.
How to use Cryptocurrency in eCommerce
eCommerce and cryptocurrency complement each other quite nicely since they share the same home, and both appeal to the digitally-savvy user. As an eCommerce retailer you should view cryptocurrency the same way you view your business. It’s an additional option for those looking for a fast and more convenient way to pay for goods and services. This shows the high demand for digitally-based payments among an online consumer base.
With cryptocurrency there is no need to go to a bank, withdraw money or even enter a credit card number before submitting a payment at checkout. The same demand that has propelled the online retail world is driving digital payments and, if done so the right way, this could serve as a great compliment to your existing services.
Benefits of Cryptocurrency in eCommerce
Let's take a look at some of the specific benefits of accepting cryptocurrency in your eCommerce store:
Accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method will give you access to a whole new market of tech-savvy consumers who have created a community within the cryptocurrency market. Given the option to pay through a digital wallet or a credit card platform allows you to dip into broader markets and appeal to consumers all around the world.
Unlike credit card systems that take a few days to batch out and process, cryptocurrency is processed immediately, giving you much quicker access to funds. Fast transactions can help streamline your business's cash flow.
Another benefit of offering cryptocurrency as a payment method are the low fees associated with each transaction. The fees can vary depending on whether you accept cryptocurrency to your personal wallet or through a third-party provider like Coinbase, but you will likely still find them significantly less than the fees of services like PayPal or credit card providers.
After a customer completes a transaction with cryptocurrency it becomes difficult to reverse, unless you have the consent of the merchant. This offers retailers more security when it comes to eCommerce fraud, since there is no middle force, such as a bank, that is able to withdraw the funds from your account without your consent.
How to Accept Payments in Cryptocurrency
There are two ways to accept cryptocurrency in your eCommerce store: through your personal wallet or through a third-party payment processor. We'll go over both methods.
If you’re going to accept cryptocurrency through your personal wallet, you’ll need to step up a virtual wallet. Most wallets can be quickly downloaded to your phone or computer, or you can get a hardware wallet. A hardware wallet is a physical safe that stores the cryptocurrency in the device on a special hard drive. It’s really the only secure hardware device that lets you store a user’s private key.
Otherwise you can use a third-party payment processor, such as Coinbase or BitPay, and they will handle the entire payment process, just as credit card payment processors do. One benefit of using a third-party payment processor instead of a personal wallet is that they can instantly convert the cryptocurrency into fiat, saving you from any price volatility. Price volatility refers to the changes in value that cryptocurrency is subject to, which can sometimes be quick and extreme. Being protected from this means that you'll get paid the amount you charge, even if the value of the coin changes mid-transaction.
Choosing a wallet and provider can be a tricky process. Remember that not all wallets and exchanges are reliable since anyone can start their own cryptocurrency trading exchange platform. If you're interested in doing this, you can look into hiring a blockchain developer.
However, if you want to start accepting cryptocurrency right away, with minimal hassle, there's a much faster solution.
The Fastest Way to Accept Cryptocurrency on Your Online Store
Rather than spending time searching for the best wallet, or trying to develop something yourself, you can use an eCommerce integration to start accepting cryptocurrency on your online store right away.
Shift4 Payments is a leading payment processor that lets you accept credit cards and several alternate payment methods, and also powers the eCommerce software Shift4Shop. If you use Shift4 Payments, you can access Shift4Shop's unlimited End-to-End eCommerce plan for free. It includes all the features from Shift4Shop's paid plans, plus several bonuses. This plan is fully paid for by the Shift4 Payments credit card processing fees you would normally be paying for every sale anyway, so it's a solid deal.
But the most interesting thing about Shift4 Payments and Shift4Shop for a business that wants to accept cryptocurrency is Shift4's cooperation with BitPay. Online store owners who use Shift4Shop and Shift4 Payments can access a very quick BitPay integration for their eCommerce store.
We briefly mentioned BitPay earlier, but let's go into a little more detail about it:
What is BitPay?
BitPay is a cryptocurrency payment processor. It does offer solutions for using cryptocurrency as an individual, but what interests us now is its feature set for businesses.
With BitPay, you can offer customers a smooth checkout experience accepting several types of cryptocurrency including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and more. You can also accept cryptocurrency payments in person, if your business makes any sales face to face.
BitPay charges a flat 1% fee for transactions, and includes the crucial price volatility protection we discussed earlier. Payouts occur on a daily basis, and you can choose to have your funds sent to a cryptocurrency wallet or exchanged for fiat currency and deposited right into your bank account.
Not only is BitPay a fantastic cryptocurrency processor for eCommerce — since it's teamed up with Shift4 Payments, it's also part of a complete solution for selling online for free. You can build your online store with Shift4Shop, set up Shift4 Payments to accept credit cards and unlock the free, unlimited Shift4Shop plan, and then add BitPay to your site within minutes. So, you'll be able to accept both regular and cryptocurrency payments, on a fully modern and feature-rich online store, without any monthly fees.
There's simply no more convenient or cost-effective way to get a package like this for your business.
Top Cryptocurrencies to be Aware of
Digital currencies are an ever-changing realm, with new currencies being launched weekly and current currencies constantly losing and gaining value. According to the latest crypto economy news, the below coins are the top currencies based off of market capitalization:
Bitcoin is the coin that started it all. Before coming to life its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, drafted up the idea in a paper entitled “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” in 2008. Nakamoto hoped to create a system that would decentralize the financial sector and give power back to people through a digital transaction system.
Ethereum was a coin created based off of the invention of bitcoin. Its creator, Vitalik Buterin, wanted to develop a platform that would transform the internet entirely. He imagined Ethereum to be a platform that would be used for more than the financial transactions than Bitcoin allows. The Ethereum platform is now a place for developers to create decentralized applications such as contracts or codes without using third-party platforms.
While it began as a joke by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, Dogecoin has become a valid currency in its own right. Based on the Doge meme, Dogecoin evolved from a satirical comment on cryptocurrency into a legitimate investment opportunity that has become more popular than its creators expected. Some still look askance at it, but support from the likes of Elon Musk has forced Dogecoin to be taken seriously.
XRP, also known as Ripple, is an independent digital asset that is housed in the decentralized cryptographic XRP Ledger, which is run by a network of peer-to-peer servers. XRP was designed for users to send money digitally and not be subjected to the high transaction costs and conversion times that bitcoin has. XRP can be publicly bought and sold, and is a coin that allows people to send money quickly all over the world, in a secure way. Often times XRP is confused with its creator, Ripple Labs, but it should be known that the currency is completely independent.
While Bitcoin Cash is very similar to Bitcoin, there’s notable differences that set them apart. Bitcoin Cash allows for more transactions to be processed by increasing the size of the blocks. By increasing the number of transactions Bitcoin Cash hopes to be able to compete with the industry giants like Visa and PayPal.
If you want to keep your business on the cutting edge, it's definitely worth it to accept cryptocurrency in your online store. Especially since crypto processors like BitPay can protect your business from price fluctuations, so your business won't risk losing money due to changes in coin value. You can appeal to crypto-enthusiast customers, and boost your brand visibility, with minimal risk.
With Shift4Shop and Shift4 Payments, you can add BitPay to your online store to accept cryptocurrency right away, while also benefiting from an industry-leading eCommerce platform and credit card/alternate payment provider. Since it's free, this is an even more appealing setup for businesses with a tight budget — but Shift4Shop scales to any business size including Enterprise, so it's a great choice for large businesses, too.
If you'd like to learn more about accepting payments in your website, you can download our free ebook on Digital Wallets and Alternative Payments below.