Many small businesses have begun research into how accepting bitcoin as a means of payment. Slowly but surely, businesses are waking up to the amount of money they are losing due to paying very high percent rates plus commission to entities such as Clover and Stripe.
They are looking for ways of keeping as close to 100% of their sale as possible. It is cliche, but bitcoin does in fact, fix this. This article will talk about the ways a small business can accept bitcoin. Starting with the simplest way to the most advanced, we will discuss the pros and cons so that you can make the right decision.
The easiest way to accept bitcoin as a small business is to set up a bitcoin wallet. A hardware wallet is arguably the most secure way. I personally recommend Blockstream Jade or ColdCard, due to their bitcoin-only focus.
After you set up a hardware wallet, use it to generate a bitcoin address. Convert this bitcoin address to a QR code and then print it on a sheet of paper. Hang this paper on the side of your sales counter and you are good to go. Easy right? Yes, but there are very many problems with this method.
- Unless you replace the piece of paper with the QR code after every transaction, anyone who scans the QR code can have access to the historical payment data to that address through a bitcoin block explorer.
- The item paid for is not accounted for automatically.
- Basic bitcoin transactions can take some time to confirm depending on how much fee the payer sets.
There are many other issues, but these are a few. So, what’s the next step?
The better way is to use software to generate these invoices. You can have a tablet screen available, for this option or use your phone. There are paid-for bitcoin payment services such as OpenNode that make it very easy to accept bitcoin lightning network payments as a business. There are some issues with OpenNode though.
- You have to give OpenNode all identifiable information about yourself and your business.
- OpenNode still takes a percent of every transaction. This is exactly what we were trying to get away from to begin with.
What if we could have the power of OpenNode with a full accounting setup and not have to pay any fees per sale? This is the most advanced to set up but it’s being made easier. The Bitcoin community will 90% of the time say that BTCPayServer is the best way to accept Bitcoin payments. There are several reasons for this.
- Open Source
- Robust Accounting and Integration features
Okay, so how do you set up BTCPayServer? You can install it manually on a local computer or on a VPS. You can also pay a service to host it for you, so you do not have to worry about updates, uptime, and get full customer support when there are issues. This is where Voltage shines.
You can try your own BTCPayServer for free for 7 days with Voltage and have full control over how you accept payments at your business without having to pay any fee per transaction. Try it out here. You will have access to unlimited transactions and unlimited stores (if you have multiple stores, a webshop, etc.) all for the same price after your 7-day trial, and then $6.99.mo (and you can pay in bitcoin). No fees on top of the flat cost. If you have been looking into bitcoin for your shop, it has never been a better time to try.
Great question. Give them the option. Since running a bitcoin point of sale is effectively free outside of a wifi enabled tablet device, having the option is the first step. The second step is to give discounts. Since you no longer have to pay stripe 3%+ $0.50 for a transaction, offer a customer who pays in bitcoin 2% off their order. They will then ask you how to get bitcoin.
At this point, the easiest way is to direct them to the Strike app. Strike is an amazing app that is very similar to cashapp or venmo, but it allows the user to pay bitcoin invoices in dollars. It’s an amazing technology, and that would be a great way to jumpstart accepting bitcoin at your counter. If you wanted to go further, you can have information booklets, etc. The more people that pay in bitcoin, the more you save.
At Voltage we love to help small businesses get set up as quickly and painlessly as possible with our BTCPayServer hosting as well as our Lightning Node hosting. For those that do not know, the Lightning Network allows instantly settled bitcoin payments without having to wait for confirmations or fee spikes in the Bitcoin mempool.
However, you do not need to use Lightning to use BTCPayServer. After you are comfortable with your BTCPayServer, have your accounting where you like, and want to take the next step, contact us to help you set up a Lightning Node on the Voltage platform so you can accept bitcoin Lightning-Quick.