Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, it has been difficult not to be bombarded with news regarding crypto currencies like BitCoin, Ethereum and even LiteCoin. Depending on whom you talk or listen to for business news this could be the ultimate in Ponzi schemes or it may be the beginning of a new payment medium that could, over time, compete with the major card associations for customer and merchant acceptance. Even large financial instructions like JPMC are being dragged kicking and screaming into the discussion.
BitCoin ATM’s have begun popping up already and with new ETF’s being established to trade in crypto currencies, it is just a matter of time before your more tech savvy customers are asking about paying with this tender. I don’t believe it is best right now to jump into this market with both feet, but it is important to have a strategy if and when the day comes you want to accept this as a payment tender. There is a lot to work out that the card associations have perfected with merchant payments transfers, etc. over the past fifty years, but given how quickly technology is evolving it will not take fifty years to work this out for the crypto currency marketplace. 2018 will tell if crypto currencies are more than just a Ponzi scheme, but every indication is this will survive as an alternative payment option and as merchants it is important to have a plan for acceptance when the time is right for you to begin offering to accept this as a valid tender from your customers.