Why Accept Bitcoin or Lightning as Payment?

If you are a merchant retailer new to the concept of accepting Bitcoin, either on-chain or off-chain (I’ll briefly cover these shortly), I wanted to post a brief overview that covers the why of acceptance.

Bitcoin is a electronic payment method that was introduced in 2009 and has grown organically over time. From a proof of concept worth fractions of a penny to a method of payment and store of value worth many thousands of dollars in 13 years is astounding. Without going into Bitcoin’s reason for being and its use as hard money (these concepts and more are covered by many specialized economic theory books), let’s just talk the basics of business interaction with customers.

Business owners go head over heels to attract customers to their business in a myriad of ways. Advertising. Sales. Specialized products. Product availability. Coupons. And even payment methods… Cash, Credit Cards, PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Check, Gift Cards/Certificates, Barter, etc…

Business owners invest in ways that make people want to shop with your business and having an easy to use method of payment is a very strong consideration. People love to use their credit cards because cards can typically provide free miles for travel, delayed payment with instant gratification, easing of cash flow, and the credit they provide. A lot of people aren’t aware that a lot of these benefits provided by the credit cards are passed to the merchant who then must decide to absorb these costs or add them to the cost of doing business to turn a profit. You, as a merchant, are paying for the gold card perks of Visa, MasterCard and American Express and you are doing it for an average of 3% per transaction. For every $100 received in as revenue from a credit card, you are spending $3 (minimum) for this privilege and convenience. This ends up taking away 6% in margin away from your net profit. That adds up to a lot of money that #Bitcoiin via lightning payments mitigates almost completely. Imagine a 6 million dollar a year in sales business transitioning to #Bitcoin lightning payments and saving $150,000 a year in credit card fees. That is the vision.

This incentivizes your customers to spend #bitcoin via lightning because your savings will be passed down to the customers via lower prices thru market forces. You are no longer absorbing a full 3% in fees. You’ll want to adjust your prices to reward/incentivize those who spend their #bitcoin with you.

Some facts about #bitcoin lightning:

  • Due to the adoption of #Bitcoin via Lightning by the $CashApp (primarily in the US) and Chivo in El Salvador, the Lightning network has grown 400% year over year.
  • #Bitcoin Lightning facilitates INSTANT PAYMENTS (just as quick or faster than credit cards) between your customers and your point of sale terminal.
  • #Bitcoin Lightning facilitates INSTANT SETTLEMENT of funds – no waiting 24-48 hours for your funds to sweep to your bank account like standard credit card payments.

BTCRetailX integrates Bitcoin Lightning payments in its point of sale but the BTCRetailX team can also integrate Bitcoin Lightning payments into most existing legacy financial transaction systems including accounting, hotel ecommerce and legacy point of sale. Just ask.

Post Bitcoin2022 Conference Energy Boost

What an amazing time to be in this industry. Point of Sale has been the MOST BORING industry for decades. And I should know, I’ve been a part of it for 14 years selling point of sale systems from Intuit and Microsoft. I have been looking to replace my legacy products for years. They are bloated, they expire often and have huge subscription fees, and the publishers generally don’t listen to their customers because they are beholden to their stockholders and the bottom line. Nor do they specifically care about privacy or self-sovereignty and self-custody. I wanted something better.

Bitcoin2022 in Miami is electric

Last year, I attended Bitcoin2021 in Miami and left with a goal to get a viable point of sale up and running (because El Salvador and ya know, @nayibbukele and @jackmallers) to enable bitcoin and Lightning Network payments integrated alongside traditional payment methods (ie credit cards). Along with my knowledge of the point of sale product and industry, I am also a privacy, and bitcoin, advocate and bought a @start9labs Embassy personal server. The @start9labs Embassy provides a privacy-centric and security-based platform with a marketplace of apps that fits this ethos. I decided to build (wrap) an app specifically for this platform. A platform that hosts a Bitcoin Core node, Lightning Network Daemon (LND), and various tools and utilities to facilitate payments and privacy. My thinking is that small business owners will want the option of self-custody of their hardware and bitcoin for privacy and lower capital costs.

Start9 crew at Bitcoin2022 with BTCRetailX, a user contribution to the platform

I then spent the last ten months getting a team together to enable bitcoin/lightning and credit cards into a functional and quick retail point of sale system specifically to release at the Bitcoin2022 conference. After some speed bumps and hiccups along the way, we got it done. The proof of concept hardware/software bundle that is #BTCRetailX 0.1 was received with amazing reviews by everyone that took a look while at the conference. The fascinating part of this is that after 14 years of attending stuffy, corporate conferences, the BTC2022 conference in Miami (@thebitcoinconf) was the best one I’ve ever been to in terms of engagement, energy, referrals, partnerships and customers for any previous point of sale product I’ve ever presented, full stop, period.

I’ve met store owners in Mexico, hotel owners from Europe (which we have a solutions too), numerous cannabis dispensary owners, mom and pop shop owners, sales teams wanting to resell the product, distributors wanting to provide their services in Latin America, and Europe, ATM companies (several) wanting to integrate the payments functions, as well as people wanting to license and white-label the product for their own reseller needs.

Not doxing anybody but this guy is super base. Fun time in Miami.

The energy I took away from Miami is what is supposed to happen at a conference and this energy has been missing for a few years. While I would like to say it was my product that was the rails to provide the energy, it was the buzz of #bitcoin that electrified the audience.

While I appreciate all the @jackmallers is doing from his platform to get the corporate world to embrace #bitcoin and the NCR news is goodnews overall for the industry, I, along with countless others are also growing this industry organically and with passion. We all have a vision for better money and it is available now.

BTCRetailX and hardware bundle

#btcretailx is available in two flavors:

  • as an on-site bundled system for those that want a self-custody, self-sovereign point of sale system with one up-front price
  • as a hosted solution for those that want more oversight in system management and support of their system via a subscription and product lease.

As a wrap to an amazing week of networking, I want to remind everyone that bitcoin is for everyone. It’s for our kids, it’s for the poor, it’s for the wealthy, it’s for everyone, and it’s for this amazing guy, Jimmy Void, of the Bronx Bitcoin Bulls, and his @maxkeiser signed #bitcoin tat. I stood in line Saturday morning with Jimmy and his crew talking bitcoin monetary theory, and it was dope.

For more information on BTCRetailX (click this link), or reach out to us via our contact form.

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