Our survey of Bitcoin merchants in the UK has ended and the results are in. We reached out to over a hundred Bitcoin accepting businesses across the UK and the internet. In total we received 39 responses; although this is less than we expected it still represents an estimated 20% of all UK Bitcoin merchants.
A wide range of businesses accept Bitcoin although businesses related to Bitcoin including software services, computer hardware, financial services and accounting make up almost half.
Most businesses have only accepted Bitcoins within the last 6 months. We will see in our follow up surveys whether this trend continues.
It seems that most merchants haven’t yet made up their minds on alt-coins. A good number already accept them, mainly Dogecoin and Litecoin, but just as many say they will be sticking with Bitcoin only in the near future.
Almost half of all merchants accepting Bitcoin have not made a single sale in the currency. This clearly shows that the demand for Bitcoin payments in some areas is not very high. Less than 10% of merchants reported sales of more than £50,000 in Bitcoin. This is not surprising given the short period of time that most merchants have been accepting the currency.
Giving discounts to customers using Bitcoin is clearly something many merchants want to implement but less than a third of them have set up discounts so far.
Almost half of the merchants surveyed keep their Bitcoins in Bitcoin as opposed to converting them into pounds sterling. Most merchants take an all or nothing approach with only around a third opting to keep some Bitcoins and convert some into pounds.
Reasons for accepting Bitcoin are varying, most merchants accept them as an alternative to traditional banks. This is not surprising given the attitudes of banks towards small businesses in the UK.
Reduced fees and increased publicity are the other two reasons that the majority of merchants accept Bitcoin. Average fees for accepting credit cards are around the 2% level in the UK. Bitcoin gives 1-2% more of each sale back to the merchant, which can make a big difference in low margin businesses.
BitPay is the most popular Bitcoin payment processor in the UK but most merchants don’t use a payment processor at all. Coinbase and CoinPayments are also used being used in the UK even though they don’t pay out in pounds.
The main concerns for merchants are wallet security and public opinion. Merchants don’t seem to be concerned about either double spending or network security. With services like BitPay these issues are dealt with by the payment processor. The results indicate most merchants trust the Bitcoin protocol and its inherent security.
We hope that members of the Bitcoin community will find this data helpful in guiding their strategic decisions and in helping to improve the services they offer to other businesses.
We will be conducting follow up surveys every quarter so we can measure changes in the Bitcoin economy and changes in the opinions of merchants.
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