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Author Topic: Interesting conversation with a retailer who formerly accepted Bitcoin  (Read 18833 times)
TheBitcoinChemist
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July 27, 2012, 06:51:13 PM
 #21

I am looking at it logically, and last year the potential gain did not out weight the risk. I saw within a few months bit coin go from $2 to $8 to $16 to $60 (!) and then back down to $8. I had people who wanted to buy tea when it was at $60, if I had done that then I would have lost a significant amount. I also did not want to keep flip flopping and accept them, then not accept them, then accept them again, so I decided to stop all together.

Maybe the system has calmed down now... I have not looked at it in about a year. So you can say... "well just sell all your bit coins for $60 when you take them for $60"... but I have other aspects of this business to run as well. I cant be monitoring bitcoin all day!

I'm sorry, Sir; but you are remembering this all wrong.  Bitcoin's all time high was just under $32.  You seem to have doubled that number, which is a sign of an emotional response, not a rational thinking process.
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However, technology has moved on... I did not know about bit-pay, so maybe its time to take another look at it.

Thank you everyone for your input and thoughts on this.

Yes, things have moved significantly on that front in the past year.  I'm pretty sure that there are other options than just Bitpay as well.  Such as plugins for online retailer sites that handle the exchanges automaticly via their own API's.  Doesn't Bitinstant also do instant exchanges for merchant accounts as well?
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CoinCidental
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July 27, 2012, 07:16:32 PM
 #22

Not really an argument in this discussion but just as a FYI: The highest price for Bitcoin has been $32, and that's where the bubble burst

yes ,it was never at $60 but even so ,if he sold a crate  of tea when the bitcoin was $32 and it  subsequently crashed to $2 he would be in the red because the tea suppliers and the landlord  and the staff and the utility companys wont care about a BTC crash and all expect their dough on time  in FIAT regardless

its understandable why he has to drop the bitcoin at that time ,now we have the newer infrasture that negates that risk ,all we need is more open minded merchants like him to at least  give it a fair chance

i would love to fill up my car or  motorbike with petrol  on a btc charge card but it would need to be quick ,i couldnt stay in the gas station waiting  for 6 confirmations to be added to a block before they let me drive away   Cheesy

in thailand  ,you can already buy mobile phone/ internet   credit with BTC but only on  a certain  website and its  slower than using cash in a 7/11 or a card at an atm

as it gets more user streamlined and user friendly  for daily purchases  , the skys the limit for BTC

(fingers crossed)




tgmarks
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July 27, 2012, 07:18:35 PM
 #23

I think its going to be hard its going to be hard to control the volatility much until the economy grow, which, is accomplished by merchants battling that volatility for a while.  When the market is this small and can be so easily influenced by the actions of a few large players, there is always going to exist this uncertainty.  The real answer is to grow bitcoins popularity.  Greater distribution will bring greater stability.

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July 27, 2012, 07:23:23 PM
 #24

I'm sorry, Sir; but you are remembering this all wrong.  Bitcoin's all time high was just under $32.  You seem to have doubled that number, which is a sign of an emotional response, not a rational thinking process.

Look down at the numpad on your keyboard.  See how close the "3" is to the "6"?  ZOMG!!! it's right next to it!  I think you should consider the possibility that Mr. Edwards simply fat fingered the number in his haste to reply (which he did during his business hours BTW).

But since the 30 vs 60 error has absolutely no effect on the validity of his volatility argument, feel free to point to any spelling/gramatical/punctuation errors in the rest of his post as evidence that he doesn't think rationally.   Roll Eyes
CoinCidental
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July 27, 2012, 07:37:50 PM
 #25

I think its going to be hard its going to be hard to control the volatility much until the economy grow, which, is accomplished by merchants battling that volatility for a while.  When the market is this small and can be so easily influenced by the actions of a few large players, there is always going to exist this uncertainty.  The real answer is to grow bitcoins popularity.  Greater distribution will bring greater stability.

but merchants are not yet  geared up to accept them

and i think bitcoin fans  hoarding coins in the hope that
 a few years down the line  they might be worth 50-100 -$500 per piece  is not helping the situation
of getting them spent

around europe in many cities people dont know ,i tried to tell a european  admin girl  in work about the system  and first thing she said "but nobody will trust it "  

obviously its a sub 100 million $ market already and its just warming up so "some people Do trust it "   but getting outsiders  to recognise the benefits  and pick it up and run with it will something i will be giving a lot of thought towards  to  help get it out there

on the plus side , a few friends  i have introduced to it have taken to it well and we use btc to trade between  each other ,and also for private loans , wagers and bets on sports etc   Smiley


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July 27, 2012, 07:58:46 PM
 #26

There will be 21 million ever and he doesn't want any, better that other people have them then, nice of him to get out of the way.

This is a terrible way to think about it. If you do not address the issues merchants are seeing then it will be very hard for Bitcoin to have the wider adoption many hope for. Exchange risk *is* a real concern and you should not shrug it off. Instead we should think about how we can work with merchants and help them understand and manage this risk or even turn it into a non risk.

If you want Bitcoins to matter beyond a tiny sphere, then you have to be ready to solve the problems others are having and not just think about yourself.

This is exactly why I started this thread. I really want Bitcoin to succeed for many reasons. But, I think NMTEACO's concerns are completely valid and the wider Bitcoin community should have a common, well informed, rebuttal for these types of concerns. I'm not a merchant and don't understand merchant issues or concerns, but I do know that things have to be relatively easy before people will adopt new technology for wider use.
DeathAndTaxes
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July 27, 2012, 08:26:43 PM
 #27

The rebutal was stupid (and self defeating, FreeMoney the coins are only worth something if people want them) but THERE IS an easy solution.

bit-pay.  Very easy.  A merchant can signup in about a day, have no currency risk, integrate with online shopping carts, even accept coins from a mobile phone.  If a merchant can figure out a merchant account (CC) they can figure out bit-pay.

Even without bitpay the currency risk is being massively exaggerated.  How hard is it to send all your purchase coins to an exchange and hit the sell button a couple times a day?  Honestly if a merchant gets only a few bitcoin orders this might be easier/cheaper than bitpay.  Send coins to exchange and hit sell.  The intra-hour volatility isn't that high and volatility goes both ways.    The idea a merchant would sell tea @ $32 USD:BTC and not be able to figure out how to hit the sell button on an exchange for 4 months while price fell to $2 USD:BTC is kinda silly.  Like I said if 1% of a merchants sales are Bitcoin and on average they are exposed to 3% intra-hour volatility we are talking about a rounding error in the cashflow of even the smallest business.

Solutions:
small-business with little bitcoin casfhlow --> manually sell coins or use bit-pay
small-business with significant bitcoin cashflow --> use bitpay or develop in-house hedging
enterprise operation with little bitcoin cashflow --> use bitpay or develop in-house hedging
enterprise operation with significant bitcoin cashflow --> develop in-house hedging

The merchant was uninformed, the OP didn't have the information to inform him but now he does.  Short sightedness on the part of  some bitcoin users doesn't change the fact that trivially easy solutions exist.  There is no unresolved problem, simply uninformed merchants.
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July 27, 2012, 09:02:44 PM
 #28

...
Even without bitpay the currency risk is being massively exaggerated.  How hard is it to send all your purchase coins to an exchange and hit the sell button a couple times a day?  Honestly if a merchant gets only a few bitcoin orders this might be easier/cheaper than bitpay.  Send coins to exchange and hit sell.  
...

Merchant doesn't even have to hit sell all the time.

For instance, on Mtgox you can setup a sell order say for million bitcoins at 1 cent or any other below average market price even with empty account and just send bitcoins to the exchange, which will be sold automatically to  highest bidding orders once they reach exchange (~1 hour)
juggernaut76
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July 27, 2012, 09:22:04 PM
 #29

There is no unresolved problem, simply uninformed merchants.

Of course, but what can be done to change this? Perhaps, I'm unintentionally exaggerating the difficulty, but not everyone "just gets it". Some people need to have their hand held throughout the process (not that nmteaco does, but some do) and/or are not "brave" enough to venture into something so new on their own, but really want to be involved. What can the community do to make this process, from beginning-to-end, easier for the least technical among us? If we want this Bitcoin project to move beyond a project and into wide-spread acceptance then something must be done to make it stupid-simple.

Maybe it can never be stupid-simple, I don't know.

Am I expecting too much, too soon?
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July 27, 2012, 09:27:26 PM
 #30

There is no unresolved problem, simply uninformed merchants.

Of course, but what can be done to change this? Perhaps, I'm unintentionally exaggerating the difficulty, but not everyone "just gets it". Some people need to have their hand held throughout the process (not that nmteaco does, but some do) and/or are not "brave" enough to venture into something so new on their own, but really want to be involved. What can the community do to make this process, from beginning-to-end, easier for the least technical among us? If we want this Bitcoin project to move beyond a project and into wide-spread acceptance then something must be done to make it stupid-simple.

Maybe it can never be stupid-simple, I don't know.

Am I expecting too much, too soon?
Simply explain that just like credit cards, payment processors can take away all the hassle and make it easy to accept payments for a far lower fee then credit cards themselves. They don't even have to know the technical background, nor do they need to worry about volatility.
Bit-pay has already been mentioned, there are others as well such as Paymium/Paysius.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
CecilNiosaki
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July 27, 2012, 09:36:44 PM
 #31

There is no unresolved problem, simply uninformed merchants.

Of course, but what can be done to change this? Perhaps, I'm unintentionally exaggerating the difficulty, but not everyone "just gets it". Some people need to have their hand held throughout the process (not that nmteaco does, but some do) and/or are not "brave" enough to venture into something so new on their own, but really want to be involved. What can the community do to make this process, from beginning-to-end, easier for the least technical among us? If we want this Bitcoin project to move beyond a project and into wide-spread acceptance then something must be done to make it stupid-simple.

Maybe it can never be stupid-simple, I don't know.

Am I expecting too much, too soon?

I would imagine that setting up a website or creating a well-done flier, and then distributing it throughout the community so that they have it to give to merchants would work wonders for informing people.
SMTB1963
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July 28, 2012, 03:49:40 AM
 #32

bit-pay.  Very easy.  A merchant can signup in about a day, have no currency risk, integrate with online shopping carts, even accept coins from a mobile phone.  If a merchant can figure out a merchant account (CC) they can figure out bit-pay.

Yup.  In fact, bit-pay is easier to figure out than a merchant account from a "fee clarity" perspective.

The idea a merchant would sell tea @ $32 USD:BTC and not be able to figure out how to hit the sell button on an exchange for 4 months while price fell to $2 USD:BTC is kinda silly.

It's pretty clear (to me) that the above doesn't apply to NM Tea Co.  Mr. Edwards had a MtGox account.  Mr. Edwards had a Mybitcoin account.  Mr. Edwards engaged the community for advice on how to integrate bitcoin payments into his business model.  More importantly, Mr. Edwards accepted BTC in trade for his goods for a period of time.  Unless Mr. Edwards is lying, it appears to me that he had a working knowledge of the mechanics of bitcoin...certainly enough to make a rational decision on the merits of continuing to accept BTC (in the absence of bit-pay).  Insinuating that Mr. Edwards didn't know how to hit his Gox sell button is completely disingenuous, IMO.

The merchant was uninformed, the OP didn't have the information to inform him but now he does.  Short sightedness on the part of  some bitcoin users doesn't change the fact that trivially easy solutions exist.  There is no unresolved problem, simply uninformed merchants.

The first thing that came to mind after reading the above was Jimmy Fallon's old bit on SNL: "Nick Burns - your company's computer guy"



D&T (and with all due respect cuz I'm a fan of yours): if bitcoin is truly a superior electronic payment system, and if mitigating the risks of accepting bitcoin are so trivial for merchants, why don't we see better adoption?  Bitcoin and bit-pay have been around for some time now, and we ain't in the days of the Pony Express info-mation-wise.  If the BTC "low fee/low risk" value proposition for merchants hasn't caught on like wildfire by now...why?  How long will the "merchants just don't know enough about bitcoin" argument last?

Edwards/NM Tea Co. is exactly the type of merchant that bitcoin should welcome/cultivate with open arms.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I see an entrepreneur who put some precious time and money into an attempt at making BTC work.  Dude's running both a brick & mortar and a web facing operation (and more?), and he had the foresight to recognize that bitcoin might be good for business.  Dismissing his problems out of hand is, well...
DeathAndTaxes
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July 28, 2012, 04:26:23 AM
 #33

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Dismissing his problems out of hand is, well...
I never dismissed the problem.  I said THAT A SOLUTION EXISTS.  The word solution by definition indicates a problem did (as in past tense) exist.  However there are multiple solutions to the problem.  If the merchant doesn't know, understand, or trust the solution(s) then the fix it to inform/educate/advocate.  Pretending there is no solution exists simply because the merchant isn't informed is well stupid and not very productive.

After two clarifications if you still can't understand that well I just have to assume you don't want to understand that.  I won't be responding further not because you disagree but simply because it likely is pointless.

Quote
otherwise I fear BTC will continue to go nowhere fast.
I think this may be coloring your view.  If you feel BTC has gone nowhere fast you should uninstall it and not look back (maybe save some coins in a paper wallet so you won't be kicking yourself in 2030).  The adoption timeframe for mainstream users is measured in years (if not decades).  Bitcoin isn't just PayPal 2.0 it is radically different.  Not just on the technological level but at the cultural and societal level too.  It puts responsibility back on the user, it has an independent currency, it has no central planner.  Those are hard concepts to grasp, trust, and understand.    Much like the internet took a couple decades to become "mainstream ready" Bitcoin will take a long time too.  I am happy with Bitcoin growth rate (in users, transaction volume, services, and maturity of codebase).  If you really feel that BTC is "going nowhere fast" then honestly there is no realistic future scenario that isn't going to disappoint you.
nmteaco
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July 28, 2012, 08:28:32 PM
 #34

Solutions:
small-business with little bitcoin casfhlow --> manually sell coins or use bit-pay
small-business with significant bitcoin cashflow --> use bitpay or develop in-house hedging
enterprise operation with little bitcoin cashflow --> use bitpay or develop in-house hedging
enterprise operation with significant bitcoin cashflow --> develop in-house hedging

The merchant was uninformed...  Short sightedness on the part of  some bitcoin users doesn't change the fact that trivially easy solutions exist.  There is no unresolved problem, simply uninformed merchants.

The unresolved problem in my mind, as a merchant... is "why"? The only reasons why MY small business (You seem to be lumping all small business in the same category. But retail is different then restaurants, which is different the a hair salon, which is different then an electrician, which is different from a computer consultant... graphic designer... the list goes on.) would want to accept bit coins is as a marketing ploy.

I see no technical reason why bit-coin is a better solution to accepting money then my merchant services (I have three for different forms of payment, quickbooks merchant service for instore and paypal and authorize.net for online). in 6 years of business I have only had one charge back, so that is not an issue (for my business). There is even some technical reasons why its worse of a solution. Like hacking (though I dont know if thats still a problem). One might argue that the credit card fees are a reason to accept bit coin. But since the number of people who want to use bitcoin is low compared to all of our customers, saving money on the small number of bitcoin transactions is not enough to sway me to accept bit coins for lower fees.

So... it comes down to this (for me); Is doing all this extra work bringing in a completely separate form of currency worth the added number of customers who would not have otherwise shopped with us... and the answer is "I dont know yet"... Obviously I see value in the project, or I would not be on the forms debating it.

BY THE WAY... I have not seen anyone mention the extra accounting work associated with it... When we did accept them, I had to set up quickbooks to work with two separate currencies. (I think I set up bit coin as a Zimbabwean dollar) So when a bitcoin sale came in I would have to accept the payment as a "check" in our system. Then deposit that check as Zimbabwean dollars into the bitcoin account. Then when I cashed out, I would have to treat it like a currency exchange to record a profit or loss from the rates going up or down as a transfered the money from the bitcoin account into our checking account.

feel free to point to any spelling/gramatical/punctuation errors in the rest of his post as evidence that he doesn't think rationally.   Roll Eyes

Thats hilarious, and im sure there are MANY!

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July 28, 2012, 11:57:21 PM
 #35

Pretending there is no solution exists simply because the merchant isn't informed is well stupid and not very productive.

After two clarifications if you still can't understand that well I just have to assume you don't want to understand that.  I won't be responding further not because you disagree but simply because it likely is pointless.

mmm...I don't recall claiming/pretending there is no solution.  In fact, I mentioned bit-pay as a solution in my first post in this thread.  Responding further would indeed be pointless, because we appear to be in agreement on that matter.  My question to you was regarding the apparent lack of broader merchant adoption, given the solutions that currently exist - which you did see fit to address:

The adoption timeframe for mainstream users is measured in years (if not decades).  Bitcoin isn't just PayPal 2.0 it is radically different.  Not just on the technological level but at the cultural and societal level too.  It puts responsibility back on the user, it has an independent currency, it has no central planner.  Those are hard concepts to grasp, trust, and understand.    Much like the internet took a couple decades to become "mainstream ready" Bitcoin will take a long time too.  I am happy with Bitcoin growth rate (in users, transaction volume, services, and maturity of codebase).  If you really feel that BTC is "going nowhere fast" then honestly there is no realistic future scenario that isn't going to disappoint you.

Decades?  That is disappointing.  I guess I simply don't understand why a cultural/societal shift is a necessary prerequisite for merchant adoption of BTC.

(I think I set up bit coin as a Zimbabwean dollar)

Currency humor!  (I lol'd)

Speaking of accounting, do you employ an outside accountant for tax preparation?  If so, what was his/her take on that "Magic Computer Money"?
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July 29, 2012, 01:28:16 AM
 #36

One word, Bit-Pay. Or is that two words?

https://bit-pay.com/

We use a shopping cart software called 3dcart, which I do not see as supported. If someone is willing to write this plugin, i would be happy to implement it. It looks like right now everything would have to be done by hand. I dont see that it would be worth it (at this point) to pay a developer to build the plugin for 3dcart.


Speaking of accounting, do you employ an outside accountant for tax preparation?  If so, what was his/her take on that "Magic Computer Money"?

I do have an accountant (but not a book keeper, I do that myself). As far as I could tell, having magic computer money is just fine... because I did not treat it like magic computer money. I treated it like a foreign currency.

Lets say I sold $20 of tea for 10 bitcoins. I would ring up the sales in dollars, and accept a check for that amount (in dollars) in our POS. So now I have a $20 check sitting in Quickbooks waiting to be deposited. I would then "deposit" that check into the Zimbabwean Dollar account at an exchange rate of .5. So I would end up having 10 Zimbabwean dollars in an account. I know it sounds like a joke, but quickbooks only allows you to use known currencies. So I had to pick one, and i figured I would never need to legitimately use the Zimbabean doller. Only I knew that these were really bitcoins (as there is no way to create a "new" currency in quickbooks).

So after a while of this, lets say that I had 300 bitcoins in the account, and I was ready to cash out. I would then transfer the money from the "bitcoin" account to my USD checking account using the exchange rate that I sold them for. Leaving dollars in my checking account, and a zero balance in my "bitcoin" account.

The most I ever did was about a $1000 and it was all in the middle of the year. I am not sure what would have happend, or how I would have accounted for it from year to year if I carried a bitcoin balance. I also dont know what would have happend if I made lets say a $15,000 dollar profit from the currency gaining value. I assume its just considered like selling any other commodity at a profit, but im not sure if there are special taxes* for making money on money. It never came up in my case.

*We are an s-corp which does not pay taxes on profits, as all profits are distributed to share holders at the end of each year, and are taxed at that 15% rate that Romney has made so popular. So i dont think that in our case there are any tax implications for making money off of the sale of bitcoins.
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July 29, 2012, 01:45:02 AM
 #37

One word, Bit-Pay. Or is that two words?

https://bit-pay.com/

I just took a look at their rates... it would be 2.69% to cash out. This is not horrible, but its not great either.

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July 29, 2012, 01:53:52 AM
 #38

One word, Bit-Pay. Or is that two words?

https://bit-pay.com/

I just took a look at their rates... it would be 2.69% to cash out. This is not horrible, but its not great either.


Bingo!
Well, they take the volatility risk and the accounting nightmare(?) from your shoulders, so that's got to be worth something. Right?

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July 29, 2012, 02:01:37 AM
 #39

Bingo!
Well, they take the volatility risk and the accounting nightmare(?) from your shoulders, so that's got to be worth something. Right?

Yes, though of course bitcoin created those problems in the first place. So its basically making it equal to a credit card, both in terms of price and convenience. Which then of course begs the question I brought up in my early post "why bother at all?". How many new customers would want my product enough to buy it with bitcoins, but not want it enough to buy it with dollars? (especially because there is no market pressure, you cant buy tea elsewhere with bit-coins *that I know about*)

If all else is equal, im geeky enough to want to implement it just for fun and to promote a cool idea... but the larger question here is "why are more merchants not adopting this"... I think its pretty clear.
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July 29, 2012, 02:03:39 AM
 #40

Bingo!
Well, they take the volatility risk and the accounting nightmare(?) from your shoulders, so that's got to be worth something. Right?

Yes, though of course bitcoin created those problems in the first place. So its basically making it equal to a credit card, both in terms of price and convenience. Which then of course begs the question I brought up in my early post "why bother at all?". How many new customers would want my product enough to buy it with bitcoins, but not want it enough to buy it with dollars? (especially because there is no market pressure, you cant buy tea elsewhere with bit-coins *that I know about*)

If all else is equal, im geeky enough to want to implement it just for fun and to promote a cool idea... but the larger question here is "why are more merchants not adopting this"... I think its pretty clear.

You forgot the most important detail of them all, one I left out on purpose: no chargebacks!
That little detail makes it so much different from Credit Cards/Paypal, and on the long run it will save you money for sure, thus increasing your profit margin.

Ofcourse I have no idea if you have problems and lost profit because of chargebacks.

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