It’s origins shrouded in mystery, BitCoin is the loose currency canon that is threatening global monetary systems, confounding financial analysts, and exciting markets with the promise of a true world-wide economy…unencumbered by boundaries, bills, or banks.
Traditional news outlets have finally picked up on the trail of BitCoin. Mostly because one of it’s high-profile exchanges — Mt. Gox — folded. Any time millions of dollars and thousands of investors are left in the lurch, it makes headlines.
This blog will NOT lay out a history of BitCoin, nor attempt any sort of analysis of political, economic, or cultural forces at work — other than those that come up in the central question of whether it’s fair to consider BitCoin as a means of being paid. For background on BitCoin, check out a couple of the following links:
What is BitCoin, and How Does it Work? (Reuters)
What is BiTcoin, and How Does it Work? (NDTVProfit)
What is BitCoin (YouTube)
BitCoin’s Current Crisis (Scientific American)Everything You Need to Know About BitCoin
The real question is whether, when, and why you would want to accept BitCoin as payment for your freelance Voice Over services. Is there an advantage to that? How hard would that be? How does it work? Who would even want the pay you in BitCoin?
Hence the reason I write this blog today. As far as I know, I’m the first voice-actor to offer to accept BitCoin as payment for voiceover services. I do that, because I think BitCoin is something to keep your eye on. The total number of merchants around the globe accepting BitCoin recently tripled to 3,000 (Source: CoinMap.org, Jan 2014).
Larry Greenemeier writes: “For merchants, the advantages are clear. BitCoin is a guaranteed payment, like a cashier’s check. If you receive BitCoins, that transaction cannot be reversed at a later date by a criminal seeking to commit fraud. This has obvious advantages for merchants selling goods over the Internet. In addition, Visa, MasterCard and other credit cards cover only about 60 of the world’s nearly 200 countries. BitCoin enables anyone in any country to securely pay a merchant, without the merchant having to worry about fraud risk.”
More major retailers are poised to accept BitCoin. Several resorts in Las Vegas already do.
Yet, so much uncertainty, intrigue, and ignorance exists surrounding BitCoin, that the questions I pose about whether you should consider BitCoin as payment — may be entirely premature. I own ONE BitCoin myself. I refuse to say how much I paid for it. That’s OK, because the decentralized software system that controls BitCoin releases new currency into the supply every 10 minutes, until a maximum of 21 million BitCoins is reached. Anything that is coveted, and yet limited, will rise in value. At least that’s what I’m banking on in the long run.
But back to the question: Does it behoove me as a voice-actor to accept BitCoin? At this point probably not much of a distinct advantage… but it would:
- make the point to your clients that you’re a forward thinker
- widen the spectrum of acceptable payment for your services
- theoretically give you more security and less risk than regular currency
- offers an immediate PR pop
HOW to accept BitCoin? Surprisingly easy. You’ll need to open an account with a Merchant Solution. I’m using CoinBase, but there are many. You can usually accept payment through a SmartPhone or Tablet app. Most merchants choose to have that payment converted to US Dollars and sent to the bank connected to your merchant exchange.
Now all you need are a few clients who are willing to pay in BitCoin, and you’re off and running. Oh, and don’t think this system bypasses the IRS…it doesn’t.
Below is an interesting SlideShare presentation with more information about BitCoin that you’ll probably ever need.