Although quite distant from the mainstream eye, lots has been discussed about Bitcoin from the perspectives of economics, cryptography and politics.
Here’s why I think Bitcoin is exciting from a marketer’s point of view:
When designing credit card payment systems for smartphones, retail outlets or online stores you have to integrate your system with third parties.
When designing the same payment systems for Bitcoin, you have full control of the design and user interface. You don’t have to wait for third party approval, change your design and you are not subject to their failings. Inferior Alternative: Credit Card APIs. Definitely not independent, but they can be design friendly (at least compared to PayPal’s external site).
No Red Tape
Any entrepreneurial idea, of any size, can accept payment in minutes. Extra steps kill ideas, and paperwork kills more ideas than trees. You don’t even need a bank account. Just put your idea out there and start making it presentable. Inferior Alternative: Paypal. You need a bank account, high fees, growing paperwork and worse privacy.
You’ve done all your audiophile marketing right, reached a connoisseur of sonic subtleties on social media, lured him into your well designed store, he picks out a $2,000 set of speakers, hands you the card…and declined! Stunned and embarrassed, he replies: “Weird, I just got my paycheck. No, worries, I’ll be back as soon as I get this settled.”
Only he won’t be back, his moment was ruined and now it’s no fun anymore. Bitcoin won’t limit his account, won’t make you stay on hold with credit card customer support and won’t embarrass your customers. Inferior Alternative: Cash. The reason people use credit cards is because they don’t want to carry cash around.
No Market Left Behind
Who are you selling to? Let’s start with who you’re not selling to. If you exclusively accept credit cards, you’re not selling to any country with a high scam probability, or to any country that cannot use standard credit card payment methods.
WordPress recently started accepting Bitcoin because: “PayPal alone blocks access from over 60 countries, and many credit card companies have similar restrictions. Some are blocked for political reasons, some because of higher fraud rates, and some for other financial reasons.”
Even in the US, there are markets left behind. Such as teens who may not be able to get credit or debit cards or illegal immigrants. If you have something to market, the last thing you want to tell your customer is “Sorry, you can’t pay us”.
Bitcoin opens up whatever you’re offering to anyone with internet access. That on its own is an incredible thing to market.