15 Feb How to Accept Cryptocurrencies on your Website using Coinbase Commerce
Over the past few years, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and others have grown beyond their devoted cult following to become a mainstream craze. Stories of overnight millionaires and Lambos abound.
While many are quick to dismiss cryptocurrencies as a passing fad, others believe we’re at the threshold of global mass adoption. While we’re enthusiastic about the many breakthroughs we’re seeing as a result of blockchain technology, we’ll refrain from speculating on where things go from here. Instead, the purpose of this post is to educate you on why you should begin accepting crypto as a form of payment, and precisely how to go about doing so. Trust us, it sounds a lot more intimidating than it actually is.
History tells us that turning a blind eye to technological developments such as these may very well prove to be detrimental to your business. How many businesses have we seen fail over the past 10-20 years because they resisted setting up a basic website? They didn’t understand the technology, and refused to adapt and grow beyond the yellow pages. Don’t be like them. Stay innovative and on the cutting edge, or risk becoming irrelevant and alienating a customer base you didn’t even know existed.
Attracting New Customers by Accepting Cryptocurrencies
According to Statista, 25% of Americans believe digital currencies are the future of shopping online. In the last year alone, we’ve seen eCommerce giants such as overstock.com and expedia.com begin accepting bitcoin for payment. Even airports are allowing visitors to pay for parking with Bitcoin and 50 other popular cryptocurrencies.
Millennials are an obvious group who have become first adopters in this space, although we’re beginning to see a much wider adoption rate among the wider population. According to some, businesses who are looking to attract new, loyal customers will find a competitive advantage by embracing these new forms of payment before their competitors do.
How to Accept Cryptocurrencies on your eCommerce Website
Okay, okay, I get it. Providing the ability for users to pay for products and services with digital currencies is important, but it sounds pretty complicated. The good news is that it’s really quite simple, and can be done in just a few minutes thanks to the new Coinbase Commerce application that was released in February 2018.
For those not familiar, Coinbase is one of the leading gateways for converting Fiat currencies, such as the US Dollar, and British Pound, to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Now, with the introduction of Coinbase Commerce, merchants can set up an account, add a button to their website (similar to a PayPal button) and begin accepting any of these digital currencies within minutes.
How to Setup Coinbase Commerce and Accept Cryptocurrencies on your Website
Visit commerce.coinbase.com and enter the email and password you wish to associate with your account.
After entering your email and password, an email will be sent to verify your email address. Once received, click on the link to be directed back to your Coinbase Commerce account.
After successfully logging in, follow the prompts to set up your account.
Prior to adding any products, you’ll be asked to set up a 2-factor authentication. This is very important, since anyone attempting to access your account will not only need your username & password, they’ll also need your mobile device in-hand. Taking the time to set this up will ensure your account is hack-resistant.
Once you’ve installed Google Authenticator on your device, you’ll sync the authenticator with your Coinbase Commerce account by scanning the QR code. From there, you’ll see a 6-digit code appear, which will change every 30 seconds. In order to continue, you’ll need to type this code exactly as it appears within the app. If you get it wrong, or it expires, you’ll have to wait for it to refresh, and try again.
Next you’ll be assigned a Backup Recovery Phrase. It’s important that you write this down on a piece of paper, and store it somewhere safe – like a safe deposit box. We don’t recommend storing this on a computer, as anything connected to the internet is susceptible to malware & hacking. Should this recovery phrase find its way into the wrong hands, that individual would have complete access to your account.
After you’ve backed up your recovery phrase, you’ll be asked to enter it on the next screen. You won’t be able to copy & paste in this box, so be sure you type it in exactly as it was given.
After verifying your Recovery Phrase, your account registration is complete!
After completing your account registration, you’ll need to begin adding products. To do this, click on the “Accept Payments” button in the bottom right. You’ll then be taken to a screen where you’ll add your product information. After populating the necessary fields, you’ll then indicate what information you want gathered from the customer. We recommend asking for both their full name & email address so you can cross-reference this with shipping information gathered elsewhere.
Adding the Coinbase Commerce Button to your Website
If you’re using Shopify, they have already added a solution that seamlessly integrates Coinbase Commerce as a payment option to their checkout process. However, other platforms, such as WordPress and Magento are sure to follow suit in the coming weeks/months.
Whatever platform you’re using, adding a button is easy to do. If you don’t know how to create your own stylized button, you can copy the embed snippet from the Coinbase application, and paste that directly into your product description.
Coinbase and others are doing everything they can to take digital currencies mainstream. However, it’s still early. While early adopters will certainly have a head start in carving out a loyal segment of the buying public, more fully integrated solutions are sure to emerge in the not so distant future. Until those options are made available, however, we highly recommend offering these additional payment options.
Not Without Risks
Although cryptocurrencies are a hot topic, and merchants who offer these payment solutions will certainly set themselves apart as early adopters who run their business on the cutting-edge of technology, accepting digital currencies is not without risks. One of the major downsides to the current cryptocurrency ecosystem is the inherent volatility. Today alone, the price of Bitcoin has fluctuated by nearly $750. That’s great news if the price goes up by the time you close out an order. However, the market often moves in the other direction. In December 2017, Bitcoin hit an all-time high of around $20,000 only to experience a deep market correction down to a low of less than $6,000 in early February 2018. While plenty of speculators anticipate the price of bitcoin to go up significantly by the end of 2018, businesses can be put in a dicy situation if they’re required to settle accounts with suppliers during a market correction. Ensuring you have liquid assets available to cover any short-term setbacks is highly recommended as a hedge against this risk.