Lesson 17: How to Accept Bitcoin for Services or
Accepting Bitcoin at a small business is best started in whichever manner keeps the
accounting simple for you. This will vary by the type of business you are operating.
If you expect that the number of people interested in using Bitcoin is small, you might
simply start by posting a sign or a note: "We Accept Bitcoin", and ask people to
contact you directly in order to make a payment. Even if hardly anybody uses Bitcoin
as a payment method, you're helping Bitcoin in two ways: one, by increasing
awareness, and two, by making your customers more willing to accept Bitcoin as
payment from others in the future, because now they know somewhere they can
If you sell things in a brick and mortar shop, customers can pay using hardware
terminals, touch screen apps or simple wallet addresses through QR Codes.
For an online website, accepting Bitcoin should be implemented by a competent
programmer and you should run a full node, especially if you sell larger-ticket items.
You can use a dedicated app or webapp that generates a QR code on the fly
including the amount. Many wallets directly support QR code scanning for payment.
Customers might wonder how much BTC they should pay in order to satisfy an
invoice in full. Your invoice should suggest an amount.
You might be able to anticipate the possibility that even though a Bitcoin address can
be printed on an invoice or payment stub, that they are very cumbersome for most
people to type, especially being a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters. However,
you should probably still do it anyway. The customer is probably going to want some
paper trail for his payment. Giving him a pre-printed payment stub with a pre-printed
address will satisfy that, because the customer can independently and publicly prove
through Block Explorer that the payment took place.
On your invoice, consider allowing your customers to go to a special URL to get the
address to make a Bitcoin payment just by typing in their invoice number. This way,
they can see the Bitcoin address, copy and paste it directly into their Bitcoin client.
Use a brand new address for each invoice whenever possible, and use it only once.
This benefits the customer as it removes any ambiguity as to which customer is
making which payment and for which invoice.