What Are the Business Benefits of Cryptocurrency?

In Merchants

In a recent article, Coin Pursuit explored the strictly financial benefits of accepting digital currency as a mode of payment. While those are convincing arguments, there's a lot more to it than that. We'd like to take some time and look at the more socially-relevant, people aspects of using alternative currencies with your business.

Mutual Exposure. When you sign on as a vendor with a particular type of cryptocurrency, both parties benefit from the arrangement. Issuers of the currency are eager and proud to publicly list the businesses that accept their product as a financial tool. Likewise, when you advertise in-store or on your company's web page that you accept a certain digital currency, it offers them more exposure. It's a win-win scenario for everyone involved, and can help boost the public status, reputation and legitimacy of both the digital currency and the vendor.

International Use. Using credit cards or bank accounts for international transactions can be problematic; since they're linked to the legal tender of a specific government, exchange rates, interest rates, and country-to-country transaction fees can bog down the process—and make it a lot more expensive, too. Cryptocurrencies aren't bound to the rules or status of any one government's currency, so international transactions tend to go a lot more quickly and smoothly when they're used. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted US Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman on the subject: “The Department of Justice recognizes that many virtual currency systems offer legitimate financial services and have the potential to promote more efficient global commerce.”

Less “Showrooming.” As Techopedia puts it, showrooming occurs “when a shopper visits a store to check out a product but then purchases the product online from home.” Consumers get the best of both worlds; there's the in-store ability to physically check out the product, and the online advantage of buying it for less. There's nothing more frustrating to a business owner than to have a customer browse for an hour or so, and then make their purchase on their smartphone from a competitor—often while they're still in the store! With the use of QR code scanning, and special discounts for customers who use digital currency—merchants can use these tools as a way of cutting down on showrooming. The consumer gets a good deal, and the purchase stays in the store. Again, win-win.

Customer Anonymity. Your credit, debit and ATM cards are all linked to your name, home address, and other unique personal information. As more media attention is being paid to the many ways personal info is being used without our knowledge or permission, consumers are starting to get annoyed by just how much is known about them by complete strangers. Merchants can track your purchases and know exactly what you eat, what movies you watch, what you wear, and so forth. For those who are saying, “Enough!”, digital currency offers an alternative. All cryptocurrency transactions are secure, but they don't carry any personal information at all. This is a big selling point to folks who value their privacy.

No Surprise Fees or Waiting Periods. Banks, credit card companies, and online payment services can delay certain transactions or apply surcharges and fees—often without their customers knowing, unless they squint to read the fine print. This often winds up being bothersome and costly to both consumers and businesses. Cryptocurrencies carry smaller—and more transparent—transaction fees, and purchases and transfers can be approved in minutes.

Improving Reputation. Digital currencies had a rocky road to travel in the beginning, as drug dealers and money launderers took advantage of the inherent anonymity to make illegal transactions. The fact is, any financial tool can be abused, and cryptocurrencies are now gaining better reputations and a sense of legitimacy with both consumers and vendors.Bloomberg Magazine quotes Jerry Brito, senior research fellow at George Mason University, on this topic: “...like any new technology there are going to be some challenges. But they (US Congress) see there is a balance to be struck here and they are generally positive on the technology.”

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