If you like this project, please consider supporting it and I’ll turn it into a beautiful PDF and Amazon book.
This is a short and basic guide I’ve written up on why and how to accept Bitcoin Cash payments for your eCommerce store. The document will be edited and revised, and I hope to turn it into a beautiful PDF and Amazon book sometime soon.
Consider it a rough draft with all the content you need to start accepting Bitcoin Cash payments for your online store today.
[Updated May 6, 2018]
Who Am I and Why this Guide?
I’m not a tech ninja or cryptocurrency guru, but I’ve been involved with Bitcoin in some capacity since late 2012. I’ve also been helping ecommerce businesses grow theirs customer bases and develop their technology stacks for the last four years or so.
I’ve noticed that there are thousands of businesses out there that could benefit from accepting Bitcoin Cash as a payment option for their online store but they don’t do it because they’re skeptical of the technology or they don’t know how to get started.
Having worked with dozens of businesses to help them get started, I wanted a place to put the basic lessons down so that regular business owners could use it as a starting point to accept Bitcoin Cash.
That’s where this short guide comes in. If you’re a business owner or a store manager who has even the slightest interest in cryptocurrency, this is for you.
I want to give you a brief understanding of why you should integrate Bitcoin Cash payments for your business and some of the easiest ways to do it. I’ll also give you some tips about how to market your company to the Bitcoin Cash community so that you can start seeing the money come in.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to start accepting payments this week and participating in what many like to call the bCommerce revolution. If you’re not technical, don’t worry because there’s no coding involved at all. It’s easy and risk free. And best of all, it can be profitable. One store, Undertech Undercover, did over $1000 in orders during its first few weeks, and that’s just the beginning.
I hope you enjoy this guide. If you have any questions, please Tweet me @derekmagill.
If you like this project, please consider supporting it. If I raise enough money (approx. $1000-$2000), I will hire a team to create a beautiful PDF and physical book version of this that can be distributed to businesses around the world.
A quick note on terms
I use the terms Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Core, BCH and BTC in this guide. For our purposes, we’re talking primarily about Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash, which is commonly abbreviated as BCH. BTC, or Bitcoin Core, is an obsolesced version of Bitcoin that is no longer useful for commerce.
Let’s get started!
Why should I accept Bitcoin Cash?
Why should you accept Bitcoin Cash at your online store? I could say that it’s because Bitcoin Cash helps the poor. I could say it’s because it will make the world more free. I could go on about the importance of sound money that is out of the grips of government bureaucrats. I could say you’ll be doing everyone a social service or that Bitcoin Cash is the future. It is probably all true.
But I don’t think any of that should factor into your business decisions. The simple fact is that accepting Bitcoin Cash will help you grow your business by providing a better payment option to customers and helping you reach a bigger audience.
It has a number of benefits that make it better than cash or credit cards that include a) BCH is chargeback-proof; b) there are zero to low transaction fees associated with Bitcoin Cash; and c) accepting BCH makes business more attractive to certain types of customers among others.
No chargebacks or fraud
Unlike credit card transactions, Bitcoin Cash transactions cannot be reversed. Once funds are sent the payments are final unless the merchant consents to a refund. As someone who has worked with 25 million dollar + revenue ecommerce companies, I know how much money and time is wasted on fraudulent credit card charges every year. Companies I worked with often experience this scenario:
The merchant sells a $100 item through a credit card transaction. They ship the product out and the tracking code says it arrived. Months later they hear from the credit card company that the customer never received the product or that the charge was the result of fraud. Now the merchant has to refund the charges and cover the cost of the item and shipping costs.
At scale this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars per year. Bitcoin Cash eliminates this so that you can focus on making sales and growing your company.
Almost 0% transaction fees
Since Bitcoin Cash is decentralized and the network operates without middlemen, fees are almost non-existent. At the time of this writing, the median transaction fee is 0.0061 USD. What would you do with an extra 3%?
I’ve shown dozens of business owners transactions on Bitcoin Cash and low fees are always one of the top selling points. I was recently at a bar in Tokyo and when we showed the owner how to accept Bitcoin Cash he immediately set it up and started accepting it on the spot. This has been my experience with most businessmen I meet.
One business owner who runs a 25 million dollar + company estimated the value he might save on fees and chargebacks if he were able to exclusively accept Bitcoin Cash in the millions of dollars per year.
Even better, Bitcoin Cash will enable you to accept micropayments on your site. If you want to sell a digital product for a few cents, for example, you can do it! I regularly transact online with Bitcoin Cash for about 1/3 of 1 cent through BlockPress, a Bitcoin Cash based social network similar to Twitter.
Better user experience
Anyone who has experienced the process of checking out with Bitcoin Cash knows how easy it can be. Unlike traditional purchasing, there’s no need to find your credit card and enter all that information correctly. Just enter your name, shipping info and pay! One or two less steps at checkout means less abandoned carts and more revenue. More importantly, it provides your customers with a safer experience on site since they don’t need to worry about credit card theft.
Holding fiat money typically means you’re losing between 1% and 3% a year due to inflation. Bitcoin Cash has been on an appreciation trend since its launch. In the past few weeks along at the time of this writing it is up in value over 100%. I’ve personally seen companies accept a Bitcoin Cash payment and see it appreciate by 10% or more before they convert it to fiat. That’s extra money in your pockets if you hold your Bitcoin Cash.
More Customers and International Reach
Accepting Bitcoin Cash enables merchants to widen their customer base. A growing number of consumers are starting to use BCH to purchase goods and services. Accepting the digital currency could be just the thing to set you apart and get them to choose you.
Not only that, but BCH can be used by anyone in the world who has a cell phone. That means if they don’t have access to credit cards or banks, or they don’t have a good computer internet connection, these customers can still order from you.
Why should I not accept Bitcoin Cash?
We’ve talked about the good reasons to accept Bitcoin Cash, but what are some of the commonly discussed problems with it?
Bitcoin Cash is market driven and since it is new, its value can swing a good deal. This is great when the price is going up, but it can be challenging if the price goes too low. You might accept it one day and lose 10% on it the next.
One of the solutions we’ll discuss in the guide, BitPay, allows you to convert your Bitcoin Cash payments into US dollars at the spot value of the sale so that you’re protected from the volatility. You get the benefits of accepting Bitcoin Cash without the downside.
While nobody but you knows your business and your risk tolerance, my general belief is that businesses that accept Bitcoin Cash should hold at least some of their earnings in Bitcoin Cash. The price is going up on the whole and it could be a wonderful long term investment in your business.
There are a loud but dwindling number of people in the cryptocurrency ecosystem who have made it their mission to loudly signal against Bitcoin Cash. It is not uncommon for businesses to receive angry online messages from these people and it can be scary as a new business if you aren’t expecting it.
Rest assured, these trolls go away quickly and the noise they make has no real power to disrupt your business.
Isn’t cryptocurrency used for drugs?
While it’s true there are illicit markets that accept Bitcoin Cash and other cryptocurrencies, that is also true with any modern currency today. The fact is that Bitcoin Cash is used daily on Shopify stores around the world, at places like Newegg, to donate to non-profits like The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mises Institute, The Internet Archive, as well as helping people get basic necessities in countries experiencing monetary collapse like Venezuela.
Here’s a quote from a Twitter user in the Phillipines about how he’s using Bitcoin Cash:
“I love it because it’s actually being used to good effect as a currency, especially in the Philippines to donate food and supplies which is near and dear to my heart and family. These coins are only as good as what we do with them.” – @SOTMead
Here’s a business owner:
“Both of my companies will be accepting BCH as a form of payment. One is starting immediately…” – @danwag06
Just like we don’t blame the US dollar when a criminal uses it, we shouldn’t blame Bitcoin Cash or any other cryptocurrency. And given all the benefits of Bitcoin Cash, its potential for good (and for growing your business) far outweighs the cons of a few bad actors.
Why BCH instead of BTC?
Without going too deep into the history of Bitcoin Cash, it’s important to understand that on August 1st, 2017, Bitcoin effectively split into two separate versions if Bitcoin. BTC, or Bitcoin Core, and BCH, or Bitcoin Cash. The split happened after years and years of debates over how to scale Bitcoin properly. One side believed Bitcoin should be more like a banking settlement layer or digital gold with high fees and slow transaction times. The other side believed Bitcoin should be decentralized digital cash that was fast and easy to use for all daily commerce.
BTC became increasingly slow and unreliable while BCH maintained its low fees and fast times making it effective for bCommerce. While businesses like Steam Gaming have dropped Bitcoin, tens of thousands of new companies have started to accept Bitcoin Cash. If your goal is paying customers, use Bitcoin Cash.
You can see a (12/15/2017) comparison of average Bitcoin Cash miner fees vs. average Bitcoin Core miner fees below.
While Bitcoin Core fees have dropped significantly since then because less users are transacting with it, it is still too high to be reliable in commerce and fees can spike periodically, further harming your ability to accept Bitcoin Core payments.
Here’s a blog post put out by Steam in December about why they decided to stop accepting BTC as a payment option:
As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin.
In the past few months we’ve seen an increase in the volatility in the value of Bitcoin and a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network. For example, transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin). Unfortunately, Valve has no control over the amount of the fee. These fees result in unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin. The high transaction fees cause even greater problems when the value of Bitcoin itself drops dramatically.
Historically, the value of Bitcoin has been volatile, but the degree of volatility has become extreme in the last few months, losing as much as 25% in value over a period of days. This creates a problem for customers trying to purchase games with Bitcoin. When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network. The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different.
The normal resolution for this is to either refund the original payment to the user, or ask the user to transfer additional funds to cover the remaining balance. In both these cases, the user is hit with the Bitcoin network transaction fee again. This year, we’ve seen increasing number of customers get into this state. With the transaction fee being so high right now, it is not feasible to refund or ask the customer to transfer the missing balance (which itself runs the risk of underpayment again, depending on how much the value of Bitcoin changes while the Bitcoin network processes the additional transfer).
At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option. We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date.
We will continue working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are impacted by existing underpayments or transaction fees.
— The Steam Team
Unfortunately it appears that the BTC developers and community have no real intention of fixing this any time soon. Bitcoin Cash exists in part for that reason and it’s why you should accept Bitcoin Cash as your primary cryptocurrency payment method. If you’d like to accept BTC, you can do that as well but be prepared for less reliability and higher fees associated with payments, assuming you get any customers at all.
As a related point, the Bitcoin Cash community is dedicated to using their Bitcoin Cash to spread adoption. They spend their Bitcoin Cash regularly and will be excited to use it at your store in a way no other cryptocurrency community is.
Here are some quotes from them on the subject of BTC and BCH:
Bitcoin’s payment system functionality was deprecated in 2014 and removed completely on November 8, 2017. Any businesses that need payment system functionality should upgrade to Bitcoin Cash immediately. – @ryanxcharles
Bitcoin Core’s transaction fees have made purchasing at our ATMs economically unfeasibly again. We will be resuming sales when/if the meme pool backlog is cleared. Bitcoin Cash purchases are unaffected and working smoothly. Dash also available. – @confuciusatl
BCH is designed to be useable by as many people as possible, regardless of how much money they earn, what country they live in, or how accessible the internet is for them. – @hardforkoftruth
You’ve got a built in customer base with Bitcoin Cash.
Still interested in accepting Bitcoin Cash payments? Great! The first step is for you to briefly acquaint yourself with how Bitcoin Cash transactions work. This is not, strictly speaking, a mandatory step, but I highly recommend it.
Download a wallet from Bitcoin.comto your iPhone or Android and get some free Bitcoin Cash at free.bitcoin.com. All the instructionsare provided on the site and you can experience in seconds your very first Bitcoin Cash transaction. Back up your wallet following the instructions inside the application and review the security and storage recommendations provided at Bitcoin.com.
Once you’re comfortable, you’re ready to start accepting payments on your site.
If you already have an existing eCommerce site, you can quickly get started with Bitcoin Cash by integrating your store with a Bitcoin Cash payment processor. Many ecommerce platforms (Shopify, for example) already have existing integrations, which makes setting up Bitcoin Cash payments pain free for people with even the most basic technical knowledge.
I personally recommend BitPay or Coinbase Commerce, but Rocketr, Coinpayments, and Coinify can work well too. Here’s a video on setting up BitPay. It was made originally for Bitcoin Core but it will work perfectly well for Bitcoin Cash.
BitPay is one of the easiest solutions to integrate with your store and it will allow you to support both Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Core payments. You can choose to get payouts in cash to protect yourself from volatility or (coming soon!) you can set a percentage of profit you would like to receive in Bitcoin Cash. For example, you might say you want an 80/20 split.
If you’d like to receive Bitcoin Cash directly, Coinbase Commerce is the option I’ve used most.
Most of the stores I have worked with choose to get paid 100% in Bitcoin Cash with Coinbase Commerce (they will likely switch to BitPay soon), but that is entirely up to you and your business needs and I find BitPay easier to work with.
Because each payment processor has separate instructions, you’ll want to read those on their respective websites. Instructions are quite short and normally don’t take more than 10 minutes to implement.
Sample Checkout Process
Let’s look at Coinbase Commerce to give you an idea of how checkout works:
It’s that simple. No credit card info required. A customer can copy the address or open the QR code and scan it directly on their phone to pay.
Once you’ve got payments on your site, there are a number of steps I recommend going through to make sure the global Bitcoin Cash community knows that they can purchase from you. Doing this has allowed stores I’ve worked with to get orders the first day:
1/ Create a policies and frequently asked questions page for customers who are interested in using Bitcoin Cash on your store or for people who might be interested in learning more. You might also include a link to Bitcoin.com so customers can download their own wallets and get their free Bitcoin Cash as well.
2/ Create a Bitcoin Cash “grand opening” discount code for customers and email it it out to your list. I used BITCOINCASH for Undertech Undercover, but you can get more creative if you like.
3/ Write a short blog post announcement or make a video. Here’s one short example from Undertech Undercover:
“Undertech Now Supports Bitcoin Cash Checkouts!
We’re excited to announce that by popular request to accept Bitcoin Cash as a payment option, we have integrated Coinbase Commerce as a checkout option on UndertechUndercover.com.
Customers can now go through the standard checkout process and will have the option to select Bitcoin Cash. We believe that Bitcoin Cash is the future of money and are excited to be one of it’s earliest adopters in the concealed carry space.”
Here’s one more from WinADay:
“WinADay Introduces Bitcoin Cash for Faster, Cheaper Deposits and Withdrawals
Bitcoin Cash is now an option for deposits and withdrawals at WinADay Casino. The unique casino, one of the first to accept Bitcoins and Litecoin cryptocurrencies, is offering a generous “crypto only” match bonus along with its St Patrick’s Day casino bonuses.
“Bitcoin Cash is quicker than Bitcoins and the fees are lower, so it’s one of the best ways for us to get winnings to players,” said WinADay’s manager, Michael Hilary.
Bitcoins and Bitcoin Cash both hold value and are safe and convenient for online payments, at the moment however Bitcoin Cash is faster and cheaper to use. Bitcoin Cash is technically different. It can process many more transactions per day than Bitcoin which speeds up processing times and reduces fees. WinADay provides information on the three cryptocurrencies on its website: Bitcoins | Bitcoin Cash | Litecoin.
For nearly ten years, WinADay Casino has offered unique slots, video poker, Keno and Roulette games to players all over the world. It’s known for its friendly customer service staff and has an active Facebook page.”http://www.igamingbusiness.com/press/winaday-introduces-bitcoin-cash-faster-cheaper-deposits-and-withdrawals
It doesn’t need to be much longer than that, though some screenshots walking people through the checkout process and a brief FAQ could be a nice addition.
5/ Share the post in Reddit at r/BitcoinCash and r/BTC. This is a great way to get traffic to your announcement and exposure to your products. My personal site often gets hundreds of visits a day from it when I publish articles.
6/ Get in touch with Bitcoin News at Bitcoin.com or CoinGeek. Both of them often do news stories on businesses that decide to adopt Bitcoin Cash. When our company, Praxis, launched Bitcoin Cash payments they reached out for an interview that drove a ton of traffic to our site and gave us a nice digital asset to pass around.
7/ Submit your business to be listed on the Accept Bitcoin Cash Initiative site. This is a neat aggregator of merchants.
8/ Republish your initial post with a description and photos of your product on Yours.org, a content creation platform that is used heavily by Bitcoin Cash users.
10/ Download a “Bitcoin Cash Accepted Here” logo to embed somewhere on your site
Now that you’ve completed all the basic steps, you’ll want to make sure you stay active in the community, regularly reminding people that you accept Bitcoin Cash as a payment option. You might also consider deepening your knowledge of the history and technology behind Bitcoin Cash at derekmagill.com/bitcoin where you’ll find everything you need.
If you like this project, please consider supporting it. If I raise enough money ($1000-$2000), I will hire a team to create a beautiful PDF and physical book version of this that can be distributed to businesses around the world.