Why you should Start Using & Accepting Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is currently being exchanged online for the past several years. While Bitcoin certainly isn't new, it has really started gaining popularity over the past few years and has started to show some mainstream traction. Bitcoin is now an accepted payment type for several large online retailers such as Overstock.com and TigerDirect.com as well as a handful of brick and mortar establishments. The main reason behind using Bitcoin to pay for purchases and such is that it is a significantly cheaper way to do business. You basically get more for your money.
For example, wiring money to family members out of the country used to require you to pay hefty bank wire fees or use Western Union, which also comes with a fee, a highly unfavorable exchange rate, and a processing time of 3-5 days. Bitcoin, on the other hand, charges are significantly less expensive and transaction times are cut down to a mere 10 minutes.
Small Ticket Purchases: Businesses today know that they have to accept credit cards at the point of sale in order to be competitive. However, these transactions can be costly for the merchant, especially when you are buying small ticket items such as a cup of coffee. In order to cover the costs, merchants have to hike up their prices or require their customers to pay cash, neither of which are great options for either side.
By accepting Bitcoin at the point of sale, merchants get the benefits of lower transaction processing fees, increasing profits. Consumers get the bonus of having payments processed quickly and not having to pay ATM fees to get cash for locations that no longer accept debit or credit cards.
Splitting the check. Splitting the check at a restaurant, especially if there are more than two people paying can be a real pain when it comes to processing multiple cards or even sorting out cash. Bitcoin allows one person to pay and the others to reimburse them for their portion of the transaction from their smart phones instantly.
And the Bitcoin system is significantly safer than using traditional forms of payment, including cash. A system of recordkeeping known as mining constantly verifies the Bitcoin blocks for consistency and accuracy. This cryptographic system prevents the unauthorized use of Bitcoins and prevents them from being used more than once, reducing the chances that merchants will lose money on fraudulent transactions.
How can I get started with Bitcoin ?
There are a number of ways you can purchase Bitcoins. You can start by visiting Bitcoin.org and reading through the Getting Started Guide. The best way to purchase Bitcoins is to use Coinbase.com. Here, you can link your bank account, purchase Bitcoins and then store them for future use in a virtual wallet.
At the end of the day, Bitcoin is still in its infancy. However, the number of merchants starting to accept them both online and at the point of sale is increasing every day. Bitcoin offers a faster, cheaper way to pay for the things you want.