The Internet of Things (IoT) is the current focus for many entrepreneurs and small business owners. However, the Internet of Money, a.k.a. cryptocurrency and the bitcoin ecosystem, is steadily gaining interest among companies that see it as a way to grow their businesses.
Your business can benefit from the increased interest in cryptocurrency due to social networks and millennials adopting this technology. First, it is important to provide some of the key terms and what they mean in case you are unfamiliar.
A quick guide to cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency. No financial institution or formal banking structure controls it, because it is decentralized. Cryptocurrency can be used between countries. There is no need to exchange one currency for another. It is anonymous and provides a quick, easy way to complete transactions. For those concerned about security, it is also highly secure thanks to the distributed ledger that verifies and records each transfer of cryptocurrency known as blockchain.
Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency just like Dogecoin and others all used for the same purpose. There are at least 600 different actively traded cryptocurrencies now in use. Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash and Monero are some of the other types of cryptocurrency most commonly used.
Now that you have the basics about cryptocurrency, here are some ways to use it to grow your business:
1. Create your cryptocurrency as a brand booster
A unique way to call attention to your inclusion of cryptocurrency in your business is to create your own digital branded version. This is totally different than, say, trying to print your own paper money because that is not allowed within a centralized money system. However, with digital currency, it’s completely possible and recommended.
The best approach is to go to your community and build that up first, including your social media followers and customers. Start to share with them your plans to create a branded cryptocurrency, including how it would benefit them to use it. The idea that it would have your name on it could also appeal to those that already trust your brand and are interested in being the first to try something new amongst their social circles.
And, you don’t necessarily have to be a tech expert to create it, either. That’s because cryptocurrency is open source and uses code that is available online. Of course, you may want to get a cryptocurrency developer to help ensure that your branded digital currency works.
2. Buy and trade cryptocurrency
Like traditional stock markets, you can buy and trade cryptocurrency to enhance the investment you make and potentially fund your business growth. Additional platforms are appearing that make this opportunity more accessible, especially to the novice cryptocurrency investor out there. Coinbase is one example of a platform that allows you to make these kinds of investments. Then there are other asset management and investor platforms and forums to guide the development and management of cryptocurrency investment strategies.
A next level business opportunity related to this is to become a bitcoin broker. You’ll be able to help others buy and trade cryptocurrency while you make extra money by assisting on each transaction.
3. Use cryptocurrency apps to offer additional payment acceptance method
More online retailers, including big brands, are adding cryptocurrency as a payment acceptance method on their sites. This includes Microsoft, Overstock and others. Then you can expand your customer base and reach those that may not want to use credit cards or have a bank account. The more payment options that you offer, the better chance you have to attract and retain more customers. BitPay is one example of a payment service provider that enables you to accept cryptocurrency as payment for your business.
4. Encourage its use through social media sites
Messenger app Kik shows how you can use cryptocurrency to accept payments through a social media platform. This is similar to what Facebook offers, except only with traditional currency. This allows Kik to work across countries rather than be challenged by the complexities of trying to deal with multiple currencies. This has become a popular way for millennials to use digital currency that other demographics are slowly catching onto.
However, Kik realizes there are other ways to encourage users to earn cryptocurrency that will keep them engaged with their platform. As one article explains, “You could watch ads, you could host a great group chat, create a great sticker, build a great bot. So there’s all these different ways as a consumer you could come in and earn value and then spend value. And how that makes money for Kik is, we create a new cryptocurrency for Kik such that there’s only going to be so much of it. And we set some of that aside for us. So that if more and more people transact in this cryptocurrency, the value of it grows.”
5. Add a side business related to bitcoins
There are new applications related to bitcoins and cryptocurrency. Many do not require a significant amount of your time, making them great side businesses that earn you incremental revenue streams. For example, you could consider Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTM). These work in a similar fashion to an ATM but deal in cryptocurrency. While you will need to ensure you are on top of your local regulatory environment this might be a good business to consider. Examples include BitAccess and Skyhook.
You may want to also consider a bitcoin vending machine business, which allows people to get items out of your vending machine without having to rely on carrying any cash. SInce this has become the norm, this could be an attractive alternative to putting a plastic card in the vending machine to pay for items.
6. Bitcoin mining
Another way to grow your business is to add bitcoin mining to your service roster. Although this may require significant capital output to start with, mining is a lucrative way to expand your business.
Cryptorials defines mining as “the act of participation in consensus formation within a peer to peer distributed cryptocurrency network, usually including the performance of ‘Proof of Work’ (PoW) calculations, which are used to secure the network. Participants in this process are usually rewarded with newly generated coins, transaction fees paid by the other members of the network, or both.”
There are rewards for getting involved. It can be a worthwhile way to expand and fund your existing business. Although mining has become more competitive, there is still considerable opportunities.
7. Bitcoin franchises
As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, new business opportunities appear. This includes the franchise model, which can net considerable revenue. It can also enable you to quickly set up a side business. There are cryptocurrency franchises to expand your empire. These include Coin Telegraph, NewsBTC and Coingaia.
8. Fund another business
Become an angel investor for another startup. That way, you help when other traditional investors are not interested. As a result, you can reap a sizable return. It’s why PotCoin appeared on the scene. Those in the cannabis industry can access a bank structure for their dispensary and commercial pot operations.
Other high-risk industries are not being served by traditional banking systems. Therefore, these industries also could benefit from your cryptocurrency investment platform.
9. Offer a digital wallet and the security to protect it
With Bitcoin transactions on the rise, there is a need for places to securely store bitcoins. At one time, you could simply grow your business by offering that digital wallet capability. However, hackers may be able to break into these wallets. That’s why you can reap even more profitable rewards from developing or partnering with a technology company that can offer security for those digital wallets. You’ll make yourself invaluable to millions of bitcoin owners.
10. Improve applications with blockchain
You could move beyond the focus on cryptocurrency and seek out applications. This includes those within the financial environment and outside of it that need greater speed, security, efficiency, costs and overall service.
Whether it is for other companies or to improve your own processes and platforms, leveraging this technology delivers profitable outcomes. It can also help grow your business directly and indirectly. Examples include improved payroll or payment processing or more secure contracts and data storage. Therefore, it is worth exploring how your business could use blockchain to make significant improvements across numerous applications.
It’s time to start using cryptocurrency. It will pay sustainable dividends and growth potential for your business now and well into the future.