You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoins in the news recently but the truth of the matter is that many of us don't really know what Bitcoins are or what they do. Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency. They're essentially coins that you can send over the internet as a form of digital currency. Bitcoins can be generated by anybody running a free application called a Bitcoin Miner. Bitcoins are transferred anonymously peer-to-peer and function without any type of central authority. Bitcoin is changing finance the same way Shapeways and 3D printing is changing manufacturing.
In the meantime, Bitcoins have a really cool and recognizable symbol. Have a look at a few Bitcoin inspired 3D prints.
Hey Eric, It's great to see two technologies converge where both have huge potential to change the way we produce and consume in a global economy.
Please do consider accepting Bitcoin payments. Adafruit has just started accepting Bitcoin for their electronic components, so if Shapeways follows I'll be able to support my maker hobbies with Bitcoin
I designed the bitcoin ring in this post and I, for one, would be over the moon if you guys started accepting bitcoin (and even happier if you gave your shop owners the option to be paid in bitcoin)! Bitcoin is gaining HUGE momentum right now and you guys accepting it would surely bring a flood of new business and media attention. Shapeways have been at the forefront of 3D printing and adopting bitcoin could be a massive boon for you guys!
Incorporating bitcoin payment options would be far easier than you might think. I urge you to check out BitPay (https://bitpay.com/). They'd be happy to get you set up and you can even cash out immediately to dollars (or whatever) if you choose to.
If you do start accepting bitcoin, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops.
Please accept bitcoin. 3D printing and bitcoin is the perfect combination. Both are innovative and disruptive. Both are major players in the new industrial revolution. And if you don't want to be visionary: 6 billion people don't have access to normal banking systems and visa cards. It it not improbable that amongst those 6 billion is the Albert Einstein of mechanical engineering, sculpting or art. You can be sure this person have internet and will be able to print his or her visions with you using bitcoin.
Definitely you should accept bitcoins. It will bring extra business — realistically, at the moment, only a tiny amount, but that will grow. But more importantly, there is no such thing as a chargeback in Bitcoin. Once you have the money, it's yours, and it can never be clawed back. Accepting bitcoins is therefore much lower risk than accepting credit cards. The fees are vastly less too.
You should definitely take Bitcoins because it opens up a whole market sector, namely the unbanked and underbanked. Many folks dont have USD payment mechanisms available but there is nothing stopping them from using Bitcoins. Personally I suggest holding onto at least a portion of the Bitcoins you receive from sales but if you don't want to (or need to reinvest them into your costs) then you should look at https://bitpay.com, a Bitcoin payment processor. With Bitpay it's as simple as sending the user to a bitpay URL during the checkout process, the user pays Bitpay, Bitpay makes a callback to your domain to tell you the transaction is done, Bitpay optionally sells the bitcoins for you and deposits them in your bank account.
Oh hey I additionally suggest: If you do take Bitcoins, put a little checkbox in the checkout "Add 5% to your total as a donation to the model creator" for models whose creators opted in to this donation process. In fact, I bet after that you would save that 5% on CC fees, so maybe you could offer cheaper prices for Bitcoin payments.