Bitcoin and e-commerce - does virtual currency have a chance in e-commerce?

Service Business

Today (12/23/13), according to Coinbase.com, one Bitcoin costs around $ 600. This is nearly $ 500 less than at its November 29 peak. Still, those who invested in virtual currency a few months ago could earn a lot. Why such a jump at the end of November? The answer is simple - Black Friday. Dozens of stores organized a sale campaign during which you could pay with Bitcoins. So it seems that the virtual currency in e-commerce is slowly becoming an alternative to electronic transfers with real money.

Bitcoin - virtual gold?

Bitcoin is basically like gold. Hardly anyone can afford to independently mine (Bitcoin mining) virtual currency, as it requires the involvement of powerful computers and huge power consumption. But everyone can rotate it. To collect Bitcoins, you need to create a virtual wallet - through a virtual currency exchange program or service. You can pay with Bitcoins in various ways. The most basic of these is a direct transfer of funds to the other person's virtual wallet. However, this technique is not suitable for e-commerce because the transaction is anonymous and it is not possible to include the data necessary for the shipment of the goods. Fortunately, special libraries have already appeared that allow the implementation of BitCoin payments on e-store websites. An example of such a solution is Bitcoin (JSON RPC), which uses QR codes.

Virtual currency micropayments

The market abhors a vacuum - online entrepreneurs are helped by micropayments adapted to virtual money. The principle of their operation does not differ from solutions in classic systems such as PayPal. One of the most popular Bitcoin payment services is BitPay. He charges a 1% commission for each transaction, as long as the subscription does not pay off (rates ranging from $ 30 to $ 3,000). Another service is BTC Merch, charging 0.5% or 0.0015 Bitcoin on each transaction. Its disadvantage is that it does not allow you to transfer funds directly to your bank account. However, it offers a wide range of modules that are very useful when implementing payments on a website - including Woo Commerce, Wordpress E-commerce and Magento. BIPS is distinguished by the lack of commission, while offering a decent spectrum of possibilities. However, currency conversion operations can cost money. All of the above-mentioned services allow you to convert into PLN and have ready-made plugins that can be easily implemented on the e-shop website.

Bitcoin and taxes

Bitcoin is a problem for governments because there is no central bank behind it and therefore its rate is highly speculative. Not so long ago, two weeks ago, we saw a huge drop in the value of one Bitcoin - the rate then flew from 990 to 552 dollars in one day, and after a few days it jumped sharply again. Another problem is the lack of appropriate regulations on the payment of tax. In Poland, it is assumed that the income obtained from Bitcoin per zloty is to be taxed. So it seems that when selling online, you need to attach a receipt or invoice with the purchase value expressed in PLN.

Investing in Bitcoin - profitable business?

Vibrating Bitcoin price does not make you optimistic. The instability is not conducive to online trading - customers will come when the currency gets cheaper, and they will drift away - when the rate starts to climb sharply. It is not a classic money, the value of which (apart from some gigantic crises) changes only slightly every day. So you have to be skeptical about Bitcoin - the virtual currency seems to be a seasonal phenomenon, a speculative bubble that will allow for quick earnings for the clever, and will leave the less prudent with nothing. In the e-commerce industry, implementing a Bitcoin payment module is a good idea, but for a while. It is worth taking advantage of the new customer preferences, but you have to withdraw at the right time so as not to stay on the ice with a digital wallet full of worthless bits. And many events can lead to this - for example, the bursting of a speculative bubble, a hacking campaign or supranational legal regulations that will ban Bitcoin payments.