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BizReport : Ecommerce : March 12, 2014

Expert warns bitcoin has drawbacks for SMBs

There have been many headlines about bitcoin millionaires and bitcoin-based businesses over the past year. For every positive headline there have been almost as many negative headlines about bitcoin. Our expert weighs in on how bitcoin may help - or hinder - small businesses.

by Kristina Knight

"Small businesses have low and/or tight margins and are more risk--and complexity--averse. The money they pay in credit card fees makes a big impact on their bottom lines," said Charise Flynn, Chief Operating Officer, Dwolla. "The value of so-called "Bitcoin buzz" is that it's helped to expose the underlying issues of our current financial system, which is that the currency itself isn't the problem, it's the way we move that currency that is."

The buzz aroun Bitcoin has been built off the low or no-fee services. Many small businesses operate on a shoestring so services offering new payment options for seemingly cheap pricing will catch a lot of attention. offers low or no fees and it's really trendy--all of which are attractive to small businesses.

"Bitcoin is helping open up the minds of small business owners to alternative payment methods and expose the cracks in our aging financial infrastructure as I mentioned previously," said Flynn. "But small business owners should build their businesses on what's relevant to their wider audiences and prioritize their resources. If they don't have a complex problem to solve, or demand, or are concerned with exchange rates, there is little reason for them to invest time and risk into something that will not add value to their business, and is inherently unstable."

More from Charise and Dwolla later this week including how SMBs can control swipe and other retailer fees in a safe manner.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: bitcoin, Dwolla, ecommerce, ecommerce payments, ecommerce trends

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  • Small businesses do not need to worry about volatility or security with Bitcoin. Any bitcoins they receive would likely be sent through a 3rd party payment system, such as Bitpay, which locks in a rate and converts it to fiat immediately. Any risk of volatility is experienced on Bitpay's side, and not on the business' side.

    For a small business, accepting bitcoin is a positive only. There is no negative.



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