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Author Topic: How do I persuade local businesses to start accepting bitcoin ?  (Read 1254 times)
ragmondo
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January 12, 2013, 10:17:17 AM
 #1

Do I approach some smaller independent shops and offer to underwrite / guarantee the currency - ie obviously there isn't going to be much trade for a fair while but if there existed a "float" that could be used to indemnify any trader who - for some reason - found they couldn't cash in their coins - do you think that would be sufficient to tip some over the edge ?

Also - could we crowdsource this float and make it available to a number of businesses? We wouldn't actually need to touch it in any circumstances unless of course there was a massive FX deflation.

In return, we could offer publicity, perhaps even a guarantee of trade (for the more popular of areas) ie central cities ?

Any views?

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bitman74
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January 14, 2013, 10:20:55 AM
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i think for bricks and mortor business it will be tougher to incorporate and pursude them, even for online business it can be tough to start accepting bitcoins as although the payment services are improving, still none are on par with other large, legacy, card payment providers....hence, the tech is still to be made...for example what EPOS system will a shop install to accept bitcoins Huh??

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January 14, 2013, 10:24:40 AM
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Brick and Mortar businesses are a lot more expensive to run, it sounds a bit evil but you'd be better off waiting until there's a significant rise in inflation/taxes ( and there will be ) and offer them an alternative, because they'll be so sick of dealing with the conventional currencies that they won't see any point in dealing with governments any longer, some people just have a much longer foresight than others so unless they've been studying history properly I wouldn't bother trying to convince them.
albus
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January 14, 2013, 12:39:51 PM
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it sounds like what the guys from bitpay.com are managing to do quite well, no ?
ragmondo
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January 14, 2013, 12:45:16 PM
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They are more online - this would be for the high street shop.

I put together a campaign to raise a fund for exactly this. I have no idea if it will fly or not but I thought "what the hell why not".

Please read more here : http://www.indiegogo.com/bitcoin-indemnity-fund
ragmondo
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January 14, 2013, 12:49:13 PM
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i think for bricks and mortor business it will be tougher to incorporate and pursude them, even for online business it can be tough to start accepting bitcoins as although the payment services are improving, still none are on par with other large, legacy, card payment providers....hence, the tech is still to be made...for example what EPOS system will a shop install to accept bitcoins Huh??




I am thinking that they don't need an alternate EPOS system - their current one will have various options on payment including cash,cheque, credit etc. To confirm receipt, they just need a fairly cheap smartphone which may even be a loan device for a trial period. At the end of the day, before they cash up, then "we" could offer to exchange their current balance of BTC into their chosen fiat currency (at a pre-agreed rate).

The fund would indemnify them against dramatic FX swings and also any dual-spend issues that may have arisen - until they are coded out of probability.
albus
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January 14, 2013, 12:52:27 PM
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Interesting initiative, buy to me it should more be some kind of private insurance business than a public fund. Why don't you start a "brick and mortar" equivalent to bitpay ?
ragmondo
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January 14, 2013, 01:09:03 PM
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Interesting initiative, buy to me it should more be some kind of private insurance business than a public fund. Why don't you start a "brick and mortar" equivalent to bitpay ?

The idea is that in essence it is insurance... but from the merchant's point of view it's a stretch to accept a different unknown currency in the frist place - then the idea of "oh and by the way you'll need to buy insurance" might just be the straw.

The exchange is : We provide additional footfall and marketing for your business in exchange for acceptance of currency, which we will make risk-free during this trial.
ildubbioso
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January 14, 2013, 01:21:04 PM
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People change slowly, and Bitcoin is a very innovative thing. Remember that when you tell somebody about Bitcoin for the first time they understand "ç#§coin", so I think that a good start is simply asking shops if they accept Bitcoins, and so you can start a conversation and they will probably remember the word. I suggest you to do that where the shop owners seems open minded.
ragmondo
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January 14, 2013, 01:29:12 PM
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People change slowly, and Bitcoin is a very innovative thing. Remember that when you tell somebody about Bitcoin for the first time they understand "ç#§coin", so I think that a good start is simply asking shops if they accept Bitcoins, and so you can start a conversation and they will probably remember the word. I suggest you to do that where the shop owners seems open minded.

The idea currently is to focus on the businesses that are near to any bitcoin or tech conferences to emphasise that there will be x 100 delegates (many from abroad) all trying to spend this currency, so it's almost guaranteed extra sales. Also, you'll know how much additional sales you've made as it will be completely obvious by the currency each customer uses !!

I would hope to enlist a number of local sales people to do the pitch - just because it's an easier sale if you are from the same area etc etc. Please take a look at the indiegogo link (above) and let me know what you think - good or bad !
albus
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January 14, 2013, 01:34:27 PM
 #11

Well I hope your project will see through. I am not sure as a very basic user if I would give money for a merchant to be indemnified for his exposure to forex, but definitely from a big bitcoin stakeholder perspective that makes sense.
ragmondo
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January 14, 2013, 01:58:39 PM
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Well I hope your project will see through. I am not sure as a very basic user if I would give money for a merchant to be indemnified for his exposure to forex, but definitely from a big bitcoin stakeholder perspective that makes sense.

That's fair enough - the point is not to offer free insurance (we will need to take a small percentage from the merchant just to cover the marketing material provided). The fund (if bitcoin "works") should never have to be used - but it's there as a safety net for the more risk-averse merchant. Thanks for the feedback.
bitman74
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January 14, 2013, 04:57:01 PM
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albus....bitpay...no, not really....as a online merchant myself with around 15 years experience in ecommerce, current bitcoin paypment options are a long way off being anywhere current services...

love or hate the likes of paypal, as yet, no bit coin payment providers has even managed to match the simple paypal buy now button Huh?......

its a shame, as im surprised for such a tech savvie industry, the BTC players are slow to catch up, they need to seriously wake up and start offering usable payment solutions.
McGoering
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January 14, 2013, 05:12:06 PM
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You have to make it worth their wild. You have to show them how they will benefit. More people need to use bitcoins.
Darktongue
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January 14, 2013, 06:37:43 PM
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 Well, the simple awnser is you need more offline buyers useing coin. I'd start by finding local Linux clubs or.meetup groups and approach them to do a presentation on Cryptocoin.

Talk the tech, talk the value and also talk the paranoid facts of it. Most if not all the groups in ky area let me speak. Furthermore they had me come back and speak again. After three or four.meetings the group as a whole started useing coin. the club itself had a wallet annnnd the coffee shop they meet at started accepting Bit/litecoins for purchases 

The shop was hooked after an exchange.was shown to the owner. According to him he's actually made money from the 20 or so people who use it. He says It's a matter of keeping up with the.market itself(Duh?). As long as he pulls out the cost and pumps that back into his biz he can play with the extra coin and see results.

Now the kicker is he has time for this. not every owner/manager has time nor are some established brick and mortars going to pay the extra hours for a manager to hustle the exchanges.

Now I've thought bots.. bots could do this. but then It's a matter of ethics. Are all bots going to cashout in an economicly ethical manner or will some hustle as they seem to do now?

Anyway yeah.... LOL

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January 14, 2013, 06:47:52 PM
 #16

I have convinced a local business with the following idea:

Put a few items for sale at a special price. This allows a business to try it out while mitigating the risk of suddenly turning all their stock into bitcoins. They can control how much of their business will be bitcoin based. If it works out then they can increase the number of items for sale. I would show them how to convert to $ and where to spend BTC. I would additionally  encourage them to keep some coins and watch them grow in value. 
Also, remind them that price is still a factor. Few are going to pay a premium for the right to use bitcoin. It's just money, supply and demand still applies. 

The gospel according to Satoshi - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

Free bitcoin in ICELAND - https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1610684
Darktongue
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January 14, 2013, 06:52:13 PM
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I have convinced a local business with the following idea:

Put a few items for sale at a special price. This allows a business to try it out while mitigating the risk of suddenly turning all their stock into bitcoins. They can control how much of their business will be bitcoin based. If it works out then they can increase the number of items for sale. I would show them how to convert to $ and where to spend BTC. I would additionally  encourage them to keep some coins and watch them grow in value. 
Also, remind them that price is still a factor. Few are going to pay a premium for the right to use bitcoin. It's just money, supply and demand still applies. 


Exactly what was done at the coffee shop. any items or purchase over a certain subtotal one could pay in coin. Thus allowing the owner to convert and withdraw if he so wanted.
ragmondo
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January 14, 2013, 10:34:59 PM
 #18

I have convinced a local business with the following idea:

Put a few items for sale at a special price. This allows a business to try it out while mitigating the risk of suddenly turning all their stock into bitcoins. They can control how much of their business will be bitcoin based. If it works out then they can increase the number of items for sale. I would show them how to convert to $ and where to spend BTC. I would additionally  encourage them to keep some coins and watch them grow in value. 
Also, remind them that price is still a factor. Few are going to pay a premium for the right to use bitcoin. It's just money, supply and demand still applies. 

Great idea thanks.
21after2
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January 14, 2013, 11:18:20 PM
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The problem with brick and mortar stores for small business owners is that they're gonna want money, not Bitcoin. And it'll be a hell of an uphill battle to convince them that Bitcoin is money. Many small business owners simply won't be in a financial position to take on what they perceive as a risk with their livelihood. You'll have to convince them on a personal level that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency and explain it to them in a very clear and concise manner.

In the end, even if they agree that Bitcoin is great, it may not be worth it for them to adopt it as a form of payment. The Bitcoin user base was estimated to be around 60,000 in September of 2011. If that's at least double in the little over a year since that estimate was made, that means there are around 120,000 Bitcoin users (could easily be more or less). Using the US as an example since that's where I live, there are about 311,000,000 citizens in the country: a brick and mortar shop may not find it worth the trouble to accept Bitcoin with such low odds that they'll have customers who demand it as a payment.

It's not that adopting Bitcoin would be hard, but that the owners may not see the merit in learning about it for such a small revenue change. As has been said already, online merchants make much better targets for Bitcoin right now. If the online market grows, and if a few big name retailers begin to accept it, crossing over into the "real world" (so to speak) will be much easier.

None of this is meant to discourage you, of course. I just want to give you an idea of what you'll be up against: be prepared and all that. Know your challenge and rise above it Wink
ragmondo
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January 14, 2013, 11:29:47 PM
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The problem with brick and mortar stores for small business owners is that they're gonna want money, not Bitcoin. And it'll be a hell of an uphill battle to convince them that Bitcoin is money. Many small business owners simply won't be in a financial position to take on what they perceive as a risk with their livelihood. You'll have to convince them on a personal level that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency and explain it to them in a very clear and concise manner.

In the end, even if they agree that Bitcoin is great, it may not be worth it for them to adopt it as a form of payment. The Bitcoin user base was estimated to be around 60,000 in September of 2011. If that's at least double in the little over a year since that estimate was made, that means there are around 120,000 Bitcoin users (could easily be more or less). Using the US as an example since that's where I live, there are about 311,000,000 citizens in the country: a brick and mortar shop may not find it worth the trouble to accept Bitcoin with such low odds that they'll have customers who demand it as a payment.

It's not that adopting Bitcoin would be hard, but that the owners may not see the merit in learning about it for such a small revenue change. As has been said already, online merchants make much better targets for Bitcoin right now. If the online market grows, and if a few big name retailers begin to accept it, crossing over into the "real world" (so to speak) will be much easier.

None of this is meant to discourage you, of course. I just want to give you an idea of what you'll be up against: be prepared and all that. Know your challenge and rise above it Wink

Of course they will want money - risk free money. My "dream" is that a local bitcoin user can help introduce them to the bitcoin world and be their first point of call, and help them cash in their btc into fiat at the end of the trading day (which is what I suspect they will all want to do -book balancing, no fx risk and all that). I'm not thinking that the craft shop in the sleepy village will have much use for bitcoin, but the cafes and restaurants in the cosmopolitan city centres - especially ones which invite visitors from countries that have a different currency. After a trial (and the example I am trying to build around is a bitcoin or tech conference), then obviously the merchant is free to carry on as they wish - keeping or returning any marketing materials. Do I expect them to place a full page ad "bitcoin now accepted?" absolutely not. Will they help add liquidity and awareness ? Hell yes. Wouldn't it make a great journalistic piece for bitcoin 2013 if we could persuade 20+ local businesses around the conference centre to accept bitcoin ? This could be the watershed moment.
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