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Your five-step guide to using bitcoin in your business

PUBLISHED: 11:30 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:19 14 December 2017

Coins displayed next to a bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. The price of the virtual currency has taken a hit in the last week. Picture: AP/Kin Cheung.

Coins displayed next to a bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. The price of the virtual currency has taken a hit in the last week. Picture: AP/Kin Cheung.

Mark Cook, a director at ApplinSkinner and seasoned cryptocurrency trader, sets out five steps to get your business started in cryptocurrencies:

1. Set up a Bitcoin wallet

A Bitcoin wallet is how you can access bitcoin that are yours, it will allow you to receive and send funds to other users. There are many different options of wallet that can work over desktop, mobile and the web. You will need to download a wallet to get started. There’s a simple guide to these wallets and their differences on https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet

2. Make sure you’re secure

Sending and receiving bitcoin is a very secure process, but security is only has good as the user. 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) has become a familiar feature on my websites allowing an extra layer of protection. It usually means apart from something you know (like a password) you will also need something you have (such as a registered mobile) to complete transactions. Many wallets support 2FA or you can go one extra and opt for a “hardware wallet”. A hardware wallets cost a little money but are a device you must have physical access to before you can move any of your bitcoin, negating the need to download a wallet.

3. Accept bitcoin on your website

Many of the more popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce have pre-built plug-ins that allow you to very quickly and easily add bitcoin as a payment option on your website alongside traditional card payments. If you know which platform your site runs on, a quick Google search should let you know if this is possible.

4. Join an exchange

Plug-ins that accept payments will usually be connected to an exchange. When a customer makes a purchase from your site in a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, this will be sent to your account on the exchange where it is “confirmed”. You’ll usually get another notification shortly after letting you know the funds are secure and you can fulfil the order. An exchange will allow you to accept all different cryptocurrencies and give you the ability to automatically switch them to your preferred currency and send them to your wallet.

5. Enjoy your cryptocurrency!

Once your bitcoin reach your wallet, you always have the option to immediately change some or all of it to any standard currency you like, you can spend bitcoin with many well-known brands such as Expedia, or you can hold onto them if you want to speculate on their future value. Either way, you’ve opened up your business to the opportunities of a cryptocurrency world.

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