Small Business Technology: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Bitcoins

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Small business owners may or may not be aware of the phenomenon of cryptocurrency, which in plain English is the use of digital currency that is unregulated and exists purely in a digital form, usually encrypted in some manner to protect against hacking and other forms of fraud.  Bitcoin is the first, and most prominent of these currencies, and has received much media attention as it’s prices have fluctuated wildly, with peak values of the cyber money reaching an impressive $1,200 a piece.

The increasing prominence of Bitcoin enters the small business picture as some bold small business owners have begun to accept the cryptocurrency as payment. As reported in the Oneida Daily Dispatch, multiple NY businesses are making sales with the digital dollars, with one business reporting that a full 8% of its sales were made in Bitcoins. The payments are made using an app, and customers can buy more bitcoins through ATM like kiosks, which appear in some business locations. Aside from being another way to get paid for their services, small business owners also look to this alternative to currency as a way to gain exposure as a novelty, bringing in customers who may not even have Bitcoins who are simply interested in the historically important and news making currency.

Small business owners should be warned of the risks involved in Bitcoin trading. While many business owners involved in the trading of Bitcoins view them as a potential investment and new way to make money, their unregulated status and digital form makes them vulnerable to significant drops in value and fraud. Many states have warned their small business owners of the dangers of Bitcoin and point to the closure of digital trading posts and massive thefts of currency by hackers. The currency in it’s current form is akin to a new frontier that remains to be explored, and as such, the laws surrounding it are not strongly defined or actually non-existent. If your business can’t afford the potential for loss of the revenues created by the digital money, then it is probably wise to abstain from using it in your business. While in this young of a stage, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Bitcoins and the small business owners who are investing in them, but no matter the outcome, the idea of digital money is unlikely to disappear.

Photo Credit to BTC Keychain on Flickr

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