You've probably heard enough about cryptocurrency by now, but just in case you're craving another side to the chaos, let's add something else to the mix. What if you were to begin accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for your business? Is it a legitimate idea?
As I continue to build on my business plan for this gym, I'm being very practical in my assumptions. Everything is a rational dollar amount of profit or loss and I feel pretty good about the numbers I'm ending up with.
But with bitcoin and its counterparts gaining major popularity, is it totally crazy to think of accepting it as a form of currency? If you're still confused about exactly what this virtual currency is, this reading will help make sense of it.
Here's the condensed version: it's a virtual cash currency that was created by someone under the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. That's right, no one really knows who Satoshi is, but that's for another day.
Bitcoin is a the first of its kind, meaning a decentralized virtual currency that's peer-to-peer based. I chatted with Matthew Murawski, a financial planner from Goodstein Wealth Management, who best described it as this:
"It's only as popular as the people that use it. [Cryptocurrency] only has value because people are buying them. They have no intrinsic value."
Deep, right? But perhaps that's an analogy for how our entire society works.
For those who are just getting into the market, get this: some people are already starting to sell and buy homes using bitcoin. That's right, long gone are the days of a $5 million house. Think 500 bitcoin (well, depending on when you're reading this). In fact, a $1.4 million home in Lake Tahoe, CA sold for 2,739 bitcoins in 2014--a skeptical sale until you realize how much that has appreciated to today.
So, let's revisit my initial prompt. I ran my idea by Murawski and he broke it down:
"If you're a business owner that wanted to acquire some bitcoin and take a small gamble, think about accepting a maximum number of bitcoin a month, as long as it's equivalent to the current dollar value. But for everyday businesses, it may not be a feasible option. Remember, you're rolling the dice."
In other words, Murawski suggests that you know your business' bottom line in hard cash. Know how much "real" money you need to make to be safe. From there, figure out how much room you have to play with. Lastly, only accept cryptocurrency on the basis that you may make more money on it, but be prepared to completely lose it, too.
Seems like a big gamble, right? It is. At this point, bitcoin is still a speculative prospect for many, including myself. I may have to wait a few years to solidify that bottom line before thinking of accepting a fluid currency.
I will say that from a marketing standpoint, being the first gym to accept virtual currency may be enough press to persuade me. But, from a stability standpoint, I think I'll stand by and save the crypto for another time.