Today, Articulate Ventures is proud to announce that we will accept Bitcoins as payment for our services, and I am stating this publicly because I think more people should be taking this idea seriously.
As the founder of a company that is hired to bring new ideas to executives and business owners I feel a sort of moral imperative to “put my money where my mouth is.” And I have been talking with a lot of my clients about Bitcoin lately.
Without wading deep into the confusing mess of how it works, where it came from, or who is using it for “bad” things; I would like to focus on one thing I never hear the news talking about:
Bitcoin is a “frictionless currency”
Did you realize that in almost every transaction you make (when you don’t pay in physical dollars) someone is taking a “little” piece of that in a “service charge?”
For example, if a client wants to pay for our services online, we send them a link to an online credit card processor (like paypal). Even though they pay their $150 bill, Articulate Ventures only receives $145.53.
Now $4.47 might not seem like much, but it is 2.9%; and that is before I am taxed on it. This means- just to get paid for a service someone thought was worth $150, I have to give up 2.9% of the value my work created. These were charges that businesses were willing to pay for because we wanted to securely transfer digital U.S. Dollars from one account to another. It was faster than waiting for a check and easier than paying in cash.
You can look at it like “friction” because it means there is a tiny bump that slows down commerce and a little bit of speed (money) is lost. You are routing money through a bank, instead of just two people exchanging money for goods/services.
Think of the thousands of times someone uses a credit card, debit card, puts money in escrow for a house… and on and on- every single transaction costing a percentage of the money being transferred. This friction is massively expensive.
Until now we had no other option, either pay in cash or give up part of your transaction.
With Bitcoin, once a client has paid the one time exchange fee ($5-$10) and the $0.15 charge for withdrawing money from your bank account- you will never have to pay a percentage of your profits to “friction.”
From that moment on, Bitcoins don’t need a bank or a transferring agent. The Bitcoins are transferred directly from the buyer to the seller- in a perfectly open and transparent manner. There is no middleman, no hidden fees, just two people in a perfectly smooth transaction; a beautiful open market (not including the taxes that we will undoubtedly pay, because we like roads, schools, and happy IRS agents.) And it happens almost instantly, no waiting for money to transfer or process. Just like when a seller is handed cash, that money is available for use immediately.
I could talk with a delighted and hopeful tone about how inflation will not be a problem because there is a limit of how many Bitcoins will ever be in the economy (so no government can decrease the value of my currency by printing more!), but as you wade into Bitcoin’s stunning potential for modernizing our entire world, I think many people stop believing that this is something that could really happen. But it is happening, and Articulate Ventures is damn proud to be involved.
Bitcoins are not without their risks, both known and unknown.
Really I am willing to admit a lot, there is a whole lot I don’t know about Bitcoins, and a whole lot that I am accepting on blind faith. But that should not be enough to blow off ideas, history is littered with examples like the Pony Express who scoffed at telegraph lines. The odds of this not working are high, but if it is not Bitcoin, it will be something else, because it serves a market demand- for faster, stable, secure currency. Something dollars are less and less able to deliver.
The world is changing, very quickly; and it is good to be skeptical of new things, particularly something as revolutionary as a global currency based in mathematics that most of us can never dream of understanding.
But the people that are best able to harness the power of new good ideas rule the world. The people that can thrive in any economy are the ones that spot ways to grab disparate ideas and push them together more effectively than other people. Imagine the advantage a business has if they were able to take the 2.9% lost to money institutions and could put it into hiring more employees, advertising for new clients, or building even better technology.
Even if Bitcoin isn’t the next currency, it is a damn good idea- and those people that blow it off, are doing so at their own peril.
Don’t feel like I am telling you to buy Bitcoins, just keep your eye on it, keep looking for ways that it could potentially help you, and if the time is right pick up a couple- and pay Articulate Ventures with it.
We will post again about Bitcoin, and we would love to hear your advice and experience using a math-based currency.
EDIT: We have since posted some opportunities to buy our services see those opportunities here.
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