Monday, August 26, 2013

Monetize your content with bitcoin micropayments


We live in a time where news has never been more accessible. Mobile technology has taken over. The most prominent news publications, from the Post to the Times, have built websites but they haven't quite mastered the digital age.


Should they charge for their content? At what price point? They're in this awkward monetization stage, using paywalls that alienate customers who would rather read through Twitter feeds than pay a $10 monthly subscriptions.

Traditional payment methods have high interchange fees that make micropayments impractical.  Customers would gladly pay 10 cents or 20 cents to view a specific piece of content, but merchants must pay 30 cents to a payment processor to collect 10 cents.  And if you want to collect 10 cents from a customer in another country? Forget it.

Bitcoin, as a peer-to-peer electronic cash, can easily handle micropayments over the Internet. In addition, it can handle international payments in a frictionless manner.  So how can a publisher easily accept bitcoin payments inline with their content delivery?

BitMonet was started in 2013 by Ankur Nandwani and Valerie Chao to give publishers a simple monetization tool for digital content.  BitMonet is free and easy to install, and allows publishers to sell individual content a-la-carte, or through time-metered access.

Even at a price point of 1¢ per piece of content,  publishers will receive $10 per 1000 views, a much greater return than traditional advertising. Additionally, the consumer will gain an improved reading experience, that allows them to focus on the content rather than advertising.

Publishers with a BitPay merchant account can install the BitMonet script on their website and start collecting payments.  Through BitPay, merchants can always choose to either keep the incoming bitcoins, or receive a daily settlement into their bank account.

Try a live demo of BitMonet.  



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Eliminate Bitcoin Volatility Risk with BitPay

One of the important features of BitPay's bitcoin payment processing platform is BitPay's ability to guarantee the exchange rate to our merchants on every order processed.  Meaning, if a merchant asks BitPay to collect $150, as long as the buyer sends the payment within the time window, BitPay guarantees the merchant will receive exactly $150 minus our fee.

This feature has been a benchmark in BitPay's platform since its inception and launch in July 2011, but on days where the bitcoin price is more volatile, this feature is extremely important.  For some merchants operating on thin margins, it may be the most important feature when evaluating payment processors.

AmagiMetals.com website
Amagi Metals is a precious metals dealer in New York which began accepting bitcoin payments in 2012.  Amagi initially started with a different bitcoin payment processor that offered lower fees, but quickly switched to BitPay because the first processor could not work as expected.

"The customer support at BitPay was extremely prompt and professional, and the product just works amazingly well." says Stephen Macaskill of Amagi.  "We operate on a low-margin business, selling high-dollar items.  We cannot afford any volatility risk in our payment processing, and BitPay is the only bitcoin processor that offers this rate guarantee."

Dramatic bitcoin price drop on March 6, 2013
bitcoin.clarkmoody.com
Most other bitcoin merchant services will wait for multiple block confirmations on the incoming bitcoins, which could take an hour, sometimes longer, and then issue a market sell order to give the merchant a balance in their local currency.  On days like March 6 where the price of bitcoin dropped by 15% in a single hour, the merchant would assume the full 15% loss on the sale because of the price volatility.

Macaskill continues, "While other bitcoin merchant services offer lower fees, and sometimes zero fees, if we lose even 2% because of the volatility we've completely wiped out anything we hoped to gain by getting free processing.  The guaranteed exchange rate from BitPay is absolutely essential for our business."

In addition, BitPay's platform offers merchants the reporting their accountants need, where the gross sales, processing fees, and net sales are all cleanly reported in the merchant's local currency.  This offers a tremendous time savings for accountants trying to reconcile and record the revenue received over the bitcoin network.  Using another bitcoin processor that doesn't have local currency reporting, a merchant may waste more in their accountant's time than the revenue they generate.

Amagi is using the Magento Bitcoin Plugin from BitPay, which embeds the bitcoin payment instructions inside the Magento OnePage checkout, so the shopper never has to leave Amagi's website to complete the purchase using bitcoins.

If you would like to accept payments over the bitcoin peer-to-peer payment network on your website, visit https://bitpay.com







Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sell MEGA storage vouchers for Bitcoin


The sun had not even set on the first day of Kim Dotcom's new MEGA launch (http://mega.co.nz), and anti-piracy groups like Stop File Lockers were already mobilizing their complaints against the service.

Within a few days, many of the companies who were selling storage plans for MEGA had their PayPal accounts turned off, or threatened to be turned off.


Jon Matonis at Forbes wrote earlier this month "through fear of liability or outright pressure from authorities, PayPal enforces a blanket global policy across legal jurisdictions as a substitute for due process."

Indeed without any due process, a wave of economic censorship threatened to block access to this new service by cutting off the payment processing, in much the same manner that donation processing was blocked from Wikileaks and others.

Bitcoin, however, is immune to economic censorship and many of the MEGA resellers started to investigate taking payment in bitcoins as an option. Within a few days, Hosting.co.uk updated their sales portal to remove PayPal and replace it with a bitcoin payment option.

"MEGA represents the next leap forward in secure cloud storage," said Hosting.co.uk's owner Frederick Schiwek. "For the cost of a cab ride, users gain access to up to 500GB of secure storage space."
MEGA offers 50 Gigabytes free, per user, which is much larger than the typical 2 Gigabytes offered by Dropbox, and MEGA offers paid plans up to 4 Terabytes.

Schiwek continues:
"Speed is a big selling point, too: MEGA operates enough worldwide data centers to ensure rapid file transfers. Best of all, users have control over the encryption and decryption of their own data. We know that our customers will gravitate towards a service that puts them in charge."
Hosting.co.uk is using the BitPay WMHCS Bitcoin Plugin which allows easy, automated integration of bitcoin payment processing into their hosted billing platform. Using BitPay's plugin, a merchant can set their prices in EUR, USD, or more than 30 other currencies, and BitPay pulls an exchange rate at the time of purchase for the customer. 

If you would like to accept bitcoins on your website, visit https://bitpay.com




Sunday, January 6, 2013

Eliminate Fraud from Internet Payments using Bitcoin

StompRomp.com is a guitar shop located in New Hampshire owned by Josh and Zach Harvey.  The Harvey brothers have been in the guitar business for 7 years in Israel before moving to America.

StompRomp experiences a very common problem called payment fraud, because they sell a high ticket item.  They, and other merchants, are pretty astute at screening for suspicious activity and payment fraud in their retail stores.  They can check for photo ID, they can look at the condition of the card, and they can get a signature.

But when taking a payment over the internet, to try and reach customers outside of New Hampshire, they do not have the same abilities.  And when taking a payment from a foreign country, the risk of fraud is 3 times higher than for domestic transactions.

Whenever Josh and Zach get a credit card payment from outside the US, they seek authorization through their credit card processor, and it gets approved.  But these guys have been burned before, so they know better.

"We have to spend an hour being a private detective on every international sale," says Josh Harvey. "We need to contact the buyer, ask them who is their employer, what is their address history, what is this purchase for.  We need to do our own research to assess the risk whether this is a scam or not.  I honestly don't know what we are paying Visa for, when we have to do all the work."

StompRomp began accepting payments in bitcoin in 2012 when they learned how bitcoin can eliminate the risk of payment fraud.

Bitcoin is designed from the ground up as an internet currency, and operates completely peer-to-peer.  The breadth and size of the bitcoin network makes it extremely difficult to commit a fraudulent payment.

StompRomp uses the Magento shopping cart platform with a bitcoin payment plugin designed by BitPay.  The BitPay plugin allows StompRomp to collect a bitcoin payment without writing any code.

The shopper never has to leave the stompromp.com website to make a purchase, since the payment module is embedded in the Magento checkout.

To see a video demonstration of making a bitcoin purchase at stompromp.com using the BitPay Magento bitcoin plugin, watch here:



Friday, October 19, 2012

Low-risk international payments for your Limo and Taxi business

Limo and Taxi drivers have unique challenges to collect electronic payments.  Drivers don't always collect identification or a contact number from their passengers.  So if a credit card sale is initially approved, but comes back later with a problem, the driver has no ability to contact the customer to collect another form of payment.  That fare becomes a total loss.
A Class Limousine website

A Class Limousine in New York City has been struggling with payments for years.  The average fare is low enough that the fees to process credit cards typically run around 4%, in addition to the up-front costs of hardware.  In a city with major international travelers, accepting a credit card from a foreign country carries even higher fees, but also much higher risk of fraud.

When travelers arrive in a large city like New York, usually the first thing they need to spend money on is a ride to their hotel or final destination.  For international visitors, they must exchange their local currency for US Dollars at a currency exchange, which often comes with a hefty 10% fee.

"Bitcoin is safer than carrying around cash and more reliable than credit card transactions. Our clients don't have to travel with cash on them or exchange their foreign bills at the airport in order to pay us," says John Yerdelenli, owner of A Class Limousine.

International travelers can load bitcoins onto their smartphone, and when they arrive at their destination, they can spend the bitcoins from their smartphone without the costs or hassle of the local currency exchange.

A Class had heard about bitcoins as a low-cost way to collect payments, but until recently bitcoins were limited to running on a computer, which made them impractical for use in a limo or taxi.  With the rapid progression of bitcoin wallets for smartphones, bitcoins are much more portable.

Driver presents Bitcoin invoice to the customer
"About 15-20 percent of our sales are international customers" says Yerdelenli..  By accepting bitcoin, he hopes to make it much easier for international travelers to pay for rides.

A Class uses the Limocoin service from BitPay, which allows them to easily create an invoice and accept a bitcoin payment using any smartphone or tablet.  The customer scans this invoice and pays from their own smartphone.  The typical payment takes about 30 seconds from start to finish.

Yerdelenli also lowers his cost and risk substantially with bitcoin.  The processing fees from BitPay are 0.99% with zero risk of fraud, compared to 4% fee and a roughly 2% fraud loss with credit cards.

And, A Class can process a payment from international customers, from any country, for no additional fee.

Yerdelenli continues:
"We accept Bitcoin at A Class Limousine because Bitcoin transactions are safe, easy, secure, and speedy. Using Bitcoin, we don't incur exorbitant fees for processing international credit cards or run the risk of having charges denied or reversed." 
Here is a video showing an in-car payment using bitcoins and BitPay:


If you would like to accept bitcoins for your business, visit https://bitpay.com


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Accept mobile payments from ANY mobile operating system

The mobile payment battles are just beginning.  As a merchant, which one do you accept?


Cups and Cakes Bakery at 451 9th Street,
San Francisco
Do you look into Google Wallet, which requires new NFC terminals in your store, and comes with a hefty 5% merchant fee?

Apple and Facebook are also racing to get into the payments game.  Banks like Chase and Bank of America are getting into the mobile payment space, but they work for US Customers only.

But what if there was a mobile payment option that worked on all operating systems:  Apple, Google, Windows, and even Symbian?  And it also worked in every country on earth?  And it did not require any NFC hardware?  And it was an open-source platform, that any programmer could take and innovate to meet their needs?

Cups and Cakes Bakery in San Francisco recognizes the power of Bitcoin, the open-source digital currency, and wants to be an early adopter of this technology.

Cups and Cakes Bakery began in 2007, and immediately received praise and awards for their homemade baked treats.  Their specialty is the mini cupcakes, which come in delicious flavors such as Rich Red Velvet and Cookies & Cream.

Cups and Cakes is using Mobile Checkout from BitPay, which they run from an iPad at their point-of-sale. The cashier will enter the total amount of the order on the iPad, and the screen will then display the payment instructions to the customer. The customer will pay, and the iPad will update automatically.

Jennifer Longson, who owns the bakery, is getting frustrated with the ever-increasing fees to accept credit cards.  "I just assume I'm not going to get 3-4% of my income," says Jennifer.

When her husband, Tom, suggested bitcoin as a way to process payments at a much lower cost, Jennifer agreed to try it.  The couple wanted to start accepting mobile payments, and bitcoin allowed them to use the one mobile payment system that is available for any smartphone in the world.  They already use an iPad at their checkout register, so adding BitPay was free, and comes with a transaction fee of 0.99% per sale.

Since bitcoin uses QR codes, the payment instructions can easily be presented on any display, and scanned from any camera phone, with no expensive NFC terminals to buy.

Here is a video demonstrating a bitcoin mobile purchase at Cups and Cakes Bakery:



To accept bitcoins at your business, visit https://bitpay.com


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Attract International visitors to your Bar or Restaurant

If you own a restaurant or bar in a city popular with tourists, you should accept bitcoin!

Whiskey Dicks bartender Crystal accepts
a smartphone bitcoin payment for a beer
Whiskey Dicks is a local pub in Orlando, with homemade food, cheap drinks, friendly service, and a great atmosphere.

Orlando is a city with many visitors, including many international visitors from Europe and South America.  If the visitors have bitcoins on their Apple or Android smartphone, they can make purchases anywhere in the world that bitcoin is accepted.

Exchanging your currency at airport kiosks and travel services can be very expensive.  With Bitcoin, you don't have to worrying about the local currency conversion, and there is no wasted money at the end of the trip.

Jay Clark, the owner of Whiskey Dicks, liked the idea of testing a new mobile payment system in his bar. But once visitors from Portugal and Germany started seeking out his local business, he was impressed with the international adoption of bitcoin.

Whiskey Dicks uses the Mobile Checkout from BitPay, which is a simple point-of-sale webpage that is optimized for use on phones and tablets.  The managers and bartenders have the Mobile Checkout stored on their mobile phones. 

When a customer wants to pay with bitcoins, the employee will enter in the ticket number and the total amount, and then present the resulting BitPay invoice to the customer.  The employees phone will update once the payment is received, and the back-of-house system is also notified.

Here is a short video showing how a customer will pay their tab from a smartphone, using bitcoins:


To start accepting bitcoins for your business, visit https://bitpay.com