It sounds harsh, but it’s true. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.
Bitcoiners will actually mock you for converting to fiat.
The owner of a large cannabis store recently emailed me:
“I realize it is not intended to be converted back to fiat, but for tax and accounting purposes, we would want it back to USD as soon as possible. Unless there is something I am missing? I’m sure the cryptocurrency will be a very small percentage of our revenue, but holding it as crypto seems illiquid. Unless more of the industry catches on, it is unusable.”
If this is you, then yes, you are missing the whole point!
I can guarantee you this: None of your customers will come to your store and pay with bitcoin if they find out that you are converting it instantly to dollars. In fact, they will laugh at you!
Bitcoin users mock businesses who accept dollars alongside bitcoin and say things like, “If you take dirty fiat, then I will pay you with that garbage.”
They only want to pay with bitcoin if they believe that doing so brings them closer to a bitcoin world. Converting to fiat, and relying on central banks, is the furthest thing from that. It’s the opposite of a bitcoin world. It’s draining energy out of the bitcoin world and putting it into the fiat world.
Bitcoiners don’t want that.
If you are considering accepting bitcoin at your business, but you want to instantly convert to fiat, consider the reasons you want to accept bitcoin in the first place. If you think that by flipping a switch, you are going to suddenly invite a flood of customers eager to pay you in their favorite digital currency, you are dead wrong. Bitcoiners are smarter than the average person and will not part with their bitcoin unless there is an enticing reason to do so.
Bitcoin is not just a payment method. People don’t like it because it’s easier or faster or more convenient. (Not yet, anyway.) They like it because it connects them with other people who “get it.” If you don’t get it, don’t waste your time because it won’t do you any good.
As Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto famously said:
Having been in the bitcoin payments industry professionally for four years now, and a bitcoin user for a decade, I can tell you that even business owners who “get it” have a tough time getting people to pay them with bitcoins.
One time I organized this Bitcoin Pub Crawl for the attendees of an elite Bitcoin conference in New Hampshire. The long-time Editor-in-Chief at CoinDesk (and now Bitcoin Magazine) was there, and even though he could have bought his glass of Cabernet with Bitcoin, he used a credit card. He never even mentioned Bitcoin to the cashier or the owner of the French Wine Bar.
This is a person who has spent 6 years making a living off of writing about bitcoin. Not only was he unimpressed that our group was able to walk to several bitcoin-accepting establishments in a single town, he wouldn’t even bother to pay with it himself when presented with the opportunities.
When I asked him about it, he said:
“Why should I? They accept dollars. I’d rather keep my bitcoins.”
This is just one example, but it represents the sentiment of a lot of people. I won’t put a judgement on whether this attitude is good or bad, but it is the reality. For as many people as there are who own bitcoin, the number of people willing to part with them in exchange for goods and services is much, much smaller.
That’s because these people understand something that the rest of the world doesn’t: Bitcoins are much, much more valuable than fiat. If a business has something they want, and the business accepts fiat, then most people would rather trade away their lesser money before giving up the good stuff.
That’s why business owners who want bitcoins have to have something really good to offer bitcoiners. Simply accepting the stuff isn’t good enough. That may turn on a few people, but is it enough to move the needle? No. You have to give them something special. They are members of an exclusive club, and they should be treated as such.
Bitcoin gives you super powers. That’s the reason you accept it. It’s not going to get you more customers. If you are accepting bitcoin because you want the publicity or to ride the wave, you are missing the point. That’s not what it’s about. And if you don’t see that, then you are wasting your time. Don’t bother.