Given I recently learned that CoinCard converts BitCoin into PayPal (not into gift cards like I initially thought), I really think BitCoin is ready for eCommerce providers to embrace. Below is a draft email I plan on sending to some of my usual eCommerce shops, can anyone give some feedback?
Thanks for filling my order so quickly, as always it's a pleasure purchasing from you. I thought I'd take the opportunity to let you know about this new technology called BitCoin that you might be interested in.
As you may know, recently VISA, MasterCard and PayPal began refusing to process donations to WikiLeaks effectively blocking anyones ability to donate, even though WikiLeaks had broken no law. Regardless of your moral position on WikiLeaks, the ease with which these large companies can at whim control who I can send money to is a little scary. On top of that, I understand that credit card merchants have a policy of reversing transactions first and asking questions later, leaving shop owners such as yourself holding the bag in the event that a fraudulent credit card is used, and PayPal (which offers not so much as a phone number) has taken to freezing accounts with too many chargebacks. In response to these concerns, a distributed, worldwide, internet-based cash-like currency is gaining traction called BitCoin. Other than the ideological benefits, BitCoin transactions are non-reversable (so you'll never get a credit card chargeback) and the transaction fees are in the order of 1 cent, which makes it very attractive to shop owners.
Perhaps more importantly, accepting BitCoin will get your site listed on the "list of sites that accept BitCoin (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Trade
)", which helps to increase your Google ranking (since the more sites linking to yours the better) and will hopefully get you some additional business from the growing number of users that have BitCoins to spend.
There is an excellent video on the front page of http://www.weusecoins.com/
if you'd like more information on how BitCoin works.
For simplicity, BitCoin can be added to your site in the same way that you currently handle bank deposits: the client claims that they've paid you by placing an order and you simly periodically check your BitCoin account to confirm and mark any BitCoin transaction as paid. If your really wanted to automate the process, there is a guide available for your web developer here https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/PHP_developer_intro
, but that might be a bit of overkill to start with.
Once you've accepted BitCoins for products or services, you can convert them into your usual currency using an exchange (matches buyers and sellers of BitCoins, much like a normal currency exchange), or perhaps more conveniently for shop owners using a site such as CoinCard (http://coincard.ndrix.com
) which will instantly convert BitCoins into a deposit at your PayPal account (1% fee + $1 paid to CoinCard and PayPal charges you no fees for PayPal->PayPal). You can then deposit your PayPal balance directly into your bank account at no fee. I know it's a little ironic to use PayPal to sell BitCoins when BitCoin is specifically designed to avoid centralised services such as PayPal, but as the currency grows in popularity you will see direct BitCoin->Bank Deposit services in major countries to start popping up so PayPal is really just a stop gap while BitCoin use grows.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me as I have a pretty good technical understanding of how it all works.