While cryptocurrency isn’t as commonplace as emerging payment methods like mobile wallets and other digital payment forms, its use has become more widespread in recent years – and small business owners are taking note.
Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency working its way into the mainstream. If you own a restaurant, you might think about accepting Bitcoin as a payment form to attract more customers to your restaurant and increase your restaurant’s profits. However, you may also be wary of Bitcoin’s price volatility and how it integrates with restaurant accounting systems.
We’ll explore Bitcoin and how it works and examine the benefits and challenges of accepting Bitcoin as a restaurant payment option.
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Bitcoin was created in 2009, making it the first modern cryptocurrency. It is an all-digital currency that relies on peer-to-peer blockchain technology for tracking and trading. No centralized system, bank or government backs Bitcoin.
Although Bitcoin was primarily designed as a payment form, most people currently use Bitcoin and its cryptocurrency cousins for investment purposes. Still, Bitcoin is by far the most common cryptocurrency businesses accept as payment.
In 2021, Pew Research found that 16% of Americans (and 31% of Americans between 18 and 29) have invested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and over 15,000 companies around the world accept Bitcoin, according to Zippia.
To accept Bitcoin in your restaurant, you’ll need to sign up for a Bitcoin merchant wallet account via an online platform like Confirmo, BitPay, or CoinGate. Many of these crypto wallets integrate with the best POS systems, as well as shopping cart and commerce platforms. Some of the best credit card processors accept cryptocurrency payments, making it easier for merchants to support Bitcoin payments.
A typical restaurant payment transaction with Bitcoin would go something like this:
Depending on your restaurant’s POS software or accounting software, you may be able to convert the Bitcoin payment into U.S. dollars for easy accounting and tax keeping.
When a business accepts credit cards, transaction approval or denial is immediate. With Bitcoin, it can take up to an hour. Most Bitcoin merchants wait for the sixth blockchain confirmation before deeming a transaction successful.
There are several compelling reasons why your restaurant should accept cryptocurrency, but you’ll need to seriously weigh the downsides before making a decision.
Here are some upsides of accepting Bitcoin in your restaurant:
Here are the downsides of accepting Bitcoin in your restaurant:
If you decide to accept Bitcoin, share the news via social media posts and signage in your restaurant. Consider promoting your restaurant by registering with websites like Coinmap.org and SpendBitcoins to draw in crypto users.
Whether or not you accept Bitcoin depends on your business goals, tech savviness, customer base and desire to explore new tech trends. Bitcoin has come a long way since its introduction. Plenty of companies and enthusiasts have made it easier to include the cryptocurrency in everyday transactions.
Weigh Bitcoin’s conveniences and risks before deciding to accept the cryptocurrency as a payment form for your restaurant.
Andreas Rivera contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.