If you haven't heard about Bitcoin yet then you really should pay attention to this because in the long run it could make you a lot of money. Before we get into the whys and hows and what it means for photographers though, you need to know what it is in the first place. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency designed around the idea of using cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money, instead of relying on central authorities. All transactions are sent easily through the internet in peer-to-peer transactions without need to rely on or trust in third parties. There are little to no transaction fees and all transactions are irreversible which means that chargebacks become a thing of the past.
However, it is still a very volatile currency and as such still suffers large swings in value.
What does this mean for you as a photographer? Well, for one it is another way to accept payments and set yourself apart from the competition.
More important than that though is the fact that their value continues to go up on average. I've written a lot in the past about how a photographer could find financial freedom and this is yet another option. There aren't many other ways to see the kind of returns that working with Bitcoin can generate. 1 BTC was worth around $200 a few weeks ago. Today it would have a value around
$750 $1100. That means that the shoot that paid in Bitcoin a few weeks ago now made nearly four six times as much revenue.
Of course it could have easily gone the other direction, that's a given. Which is why I am not recommending putting all of your eggs in this basket. However, if you are willing to take a risk, this could be a very good option for you as time goes on. Most speculators seem to agree that in time a single Bitcoin could be worth $10,000 or more. Personally I believe we will see each coin reach a value of at least $1,000 by the end of this year (edit: turns out I was right). So it may be a decent idea to look into applying for a merchant account that can operate in this currency like BitPay which can accept the currency and immediately deposit USD into your bank.
With the fact that more and more merchants are adopting this as a way of taking payments and senate hearings regarding regulation, all signs point to cryptocurrencies being here to stay. We, as business owners, need to pay attention. Ultimately the point is about giving people more ways to pay you. It doesn't matter so much if you invest in anything, but opening up to a new form of payment can certainly set you apart from the competition.
I make it a point to speak from experience when I write anything here, so over the last month I have done exactly what I am suggesting here before I recommended it to you. Unfortunately in that time the value of Bitcoin has gone up a substantial amount so I apologize for taking so long to talk about this with you. However, I believe we are still at a time where the value will continue to rise despite the fact that it now costs more to purchase a single unit.
That is the reason that my recommendation to you is not to invest more than you would be willing to lose (as with any investment), but to consider getting as involved as you can even if it just means being willing to take them as a form of payment. I think most people wish they had invested in Apple or Google when they could have gotten in cheap. Despite the fact that entry is now around $750 all signs point to this still being a low amount in the long run. If that is still too high then I would suggest looking at alternate currencies like Litecoin that are still low enough to buy volume without breaking the bank. One Litecoin (LTC) is still under $10.
How do you go about buying Bitcoin if that's what you choose to do? Well, it has been tricky in the past but currently the best way to do so is via a service called Coinbase. If you wish to buy LTC or another currency you will need to go through an exchange like BTC-E or Crypto-trade which can be a bit more complicated if you aren't familiar with currency trading. Since that subject is far beyond the scope of this article I advise you to do your research before you do anything. There is a tremendous amount of information out there about Cryptocurrency, as well as an equal amount of myth.
Above all, understand that any investment is a risk and in the end your decision is your responsibility. Be brave, but be smart.
"So how about when you need to make a currency exchange?"
Then I would exchange them for dollars, or simply use dollars, which I can do whenever I want. This is a non-issue.
Your arguments against bitcoin are exactly the same arguments that people touted against email in its early days. In the early days of email, you had to buy a computer, which almost nobody had, get a modem, pay for an internet service, and then, after all that, you could only send to other people who had also done the same.. how lame is that?
What you are not considering is the fact that bitcoin, like email, is a far superior system when you are on the inside, and as more and more people get in, they refuse to go back to the old system, and the new system becomes less dependent upon the old. Eventually it will reach critical mass.
It is an objectively better financial system that cannot be manipulated or controlled for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Bitcoin is literally like democracy applied to money. The world has only ever had dictators in this regard.
With regards to the example of the price of gold:
If you realise that the cost for mining gold is increasing, you realise that there is a minimum price for it. This is currently roughly around $1,200; below that price mines are starting to lose money to sell gold at that price and would be better to hoard it and wait for the price to rise above the cost of production.
Why does it cost so much to mine gold? We've passed peak gold already, that is to say, the easy gold to mean has already been mined and only deeper more hard to get to gold still needs to be mined.
Another reason is that the cost of mining itself is rising due to the dropping value in purchasing power for currencies world-wide.
The price of commodities, measured in fiat currency, will in the long run, always cost more.
Umm... Yeah, as stated below, this is all just speculation & not really to do with being a photographer. If it was about being a photographer you would probably have mentioned that you can be paid in bitcoin and then immediately transfer the bitcoins back to USD with no risk of losing any money. This way you have the added benefit of opening your business up to the very small percentage of people who prefer to keep and spend their money as bitcoins, while not taking on risk.
You are totally right about the USD transfer. I meant to put that in there but apparently neglected to. I amended the article to reflect that as it is pretty much the point of all this. As it stand the portion of people that would pay this way is small, but they do exist.
I don't want the business of Bitcoin people.
Or maybe I do.... I got this bridge, you see.....
Why silk road is shut down!
Silk road shut down and many people including myself thought that it would kill BTC, but instead it has become even more widely adopted.
Huh? I think you may be a little confused there Chilly... Silk Road was not shut down because of bitcoins.
The Silk Road was recreated a month after it was shut down....
Clearly you need to see the satire. yes we can all go and buy our drugs online once again.
Just another currency worth nothing. It's more hype right now. You're much better off taking your payment in gold. If things really get bad, people are't going to want bitcoins.
Actually I wouldn't agree with that, take the recent crisis with Greece for example; thing's got really bad and the whole country jumped to bitcoin causing a huge spike in the price of bitcoin (a far greater increase than gold actually)
I am living in Greece, FYI most people never heard of bitcoin.
Maybe so take a look at the corelation between recent rough patches in the greek economy (and the falls of trust with the banks) and the bitcoin price and you'll see a correlation
I'll leave this here: (germany accept Bitcoin as currency ) http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/apr/26/bitcoins-gain-currency...
Germany does not. According to that article a few shops in Germany do.
No internet currency can ever replace hard money; think of how money is easily erased by bank runs, now imagine your savings going up in smoke in case of a large energy crisis or disaster. Imagine you can't access anything digital anymore due to a large scale disaster. Then bitcoins are worth nothing.
If you can't access anything digital then you have other bigger things to worry about - like getting your money out of an ATM, using that VISA card, or staying alive.
But with 'real' money you can always get your can opener and get to your cash in ATMs in case of, for example, a blackout...
It's really disappointing to see an article on Fstoppers peddling bitcoins, I thought this was a serious website.
And to answer the article directly: no, I wouldn't be caught dead accepting bitcoins.
sure as long as the coins are 24k solid gold.
Yes I accept Bitcoin and do so gladly, just another form of payment, I would gladly accept Euro's, Aussie Dollars, Real's, Peso's etc. I do disagree with the assertion that Bitcoin is an investment, it isn't. It is a form of currency.
Just going to leave this here... http://gizmodo.com/1-million-heist-reminds-us-that-bitcoin-is-neither-sa...
Very interesting to see an article like this on FStoppers.
To all the people who want to cry foul at Bitcoin being a purely fiat currency, based on absolutely nothing of material value... All the major currencies of the world have been essentially the same thing for decades. When the U.S. left the gold standard in the 1970s, it was all downhill from there.
All it's going to take is one major financial meltdown (like a U.S. sovereign debt default) and the dollar will be just as unstable and untrustworthy as people accuse the Bitcoin of being today.
Here' s a nice video about bitcoin: