Crypto currencies seem to be gaining attention and traction this year. We saw them advertised during the Super Bowl, they're installed 30,000 Bitcoin ATMs across the U.S., and they're increasingly found on corporate balance sheets. In fact, for the first time ever, the IRS has a crypto question on the 2021 1040 tax form that every tax filer will answer, which reads, "At any time during 2021, did you receive, sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of any virtual currency?" Amidst all this hype, crypto's future inevitability seems like more of a current reality--and that applies to small business owners in particular.

New survey finds more merchants and consumers will embrace crypto in 2022

According to Visa's most recent Global Back to Business Study--a survey of 2,500 small business owners spanning nine countries--25 percent of those surveyed plan to accept crypto as a form of payment this year. While more than 70 percent of respondents said accepting new forms of payments would be "fundamental to their business growth."

There was also a section that surveyed 1,000 consumers globally: More than half of those consumers (53 percent) said they'll shift to being cashless within the next 10 years, a quarter said it will happen within two years, and 16 percent said they already use digital payments 100 percent of the time.

Savvy small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners see what's happening and are looking for ways to capitalize. Turns out they may only have to look as far as their iPhones.

New Apple feature will enable SMBs to take crypto with an iPhone Tap

Last Tuesday, Apple announced its plans to launch a new "tap to pay" feature for iPhones later this year. The new capability will enable millions of merchants across the U.S., including solo-preneurs and SMBs, to use their iPhones to seamlessly and securely accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and digital wallets with a simple tap to their iOS device. 

Here's how it'll work: At checkout, the vendor asks the customer to raise their iPhone or Apple Watch--to pay with Apple Pay, a contactless card, or a crypto wallet--near the merchant's iPhone with a light tap, and the payment will be securely completed using Apple's proprietary tech. No additional hardware is needed. 

The Apple announcement states several times that the new "tap to pay" method is safe, secure, and private--although it doesn't give a specific date when it'll be available.

Actionable steps SMBs can take now to prepare for a crypto future

While it's not clear when the "tap to pay" upgrade will be available, there are several other things founders can do now to future-proof your SMBs.

  1. Set up a digital wallet--there are many options available.
  2. Enable your e-commerce website to accept crypto. Platforms such as Shopify, Adobe Commerce, and Woocommerce have crypto plug-ins to make it easy.
  3. Or use an SMB crypto gateway through payment processors such as BitPay, Coinbase Commerce, or PayPal Business.
  4. Offer crypto payment options to your customers using Apple's new "tap to pay" feature once its available or Cash App for business.
  5. Lastly, payment processors such as Flexa and BitPay can automatically convert customer crypto payments to cash deposits in whatever account or digital wallet you set up.