It’s been eight years since Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized digital currency was invented. While it’s still rare to see websites that accept Bitcoin payments, the fact is that 1.5% of Americans have used it or are currently using Bitcoin – that’s 4.8 million people.
Interestingly, while many developers have created plugins for accepting Bitcoin payments, they’ve also come up with other cool ways to integrate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with WordPress. So in this post, we’ll take a look at some different ways you can use digital currencies, predominantly Bitcoin, with your website.
But first, a recap.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency and digital payment system that works without a central repository or administrator – meaning no banks. It was invented by an unknown developer using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open source software in 2009.
The system is peer-to-peer and transactions take place directly between users without any intermediary. For example, when you transfer money digitally to another person, you usually do it via bank transfer. Bitcoin removes the need for a bank.
All Bitcoin transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
There are three ways you can get hold of Bitcoin:
- Mining. People compete to “mine” Bitcoins using computers to solve complex math puzzles. This is how Bitcoins are created.
- Buy on an Exchange. There are marketplaces known as Bitcoin exchanges where you can buy or sell Bitcoins using different currencies.
- Transfers. People can send Bitcoins to each other using their computers or other devices, much like how you would when making a bank transfer.
Bitcoins are stored in a “digital wallet,” which exists either on your computer or in the cloud. You can send or receive Bitcoins, pay for goods or simply store your money using your wallet.
Why Use Bitcoin?
There are many reasons why you might want to use Bitcoin over other forms of currency:
1. It’s decentralized
Because the currency is decentralized, you own it. There’s no central authority, bank, or middleman that can take it away.
2. It’s fast
When you make a bank transfer, the money is usually held for a period of time to ensure the funds are really available. The same goes for international wire transfers. Bitcoin transactions, however, are much faster. Transactions can be instantaneous if they are “zero confirmation” transactions. This means the seller takes on the risk of accepting a transaction that hasn’t yet been confirmed by the Bitcoin blockchain. Or, the transaction can be confirmed in around 10 minutes – much faster than any bank transfer.
3. It’s cheap
PayPay and many banks charge some kind of fee for transfers and payments. Bitcoin transaction fees are minimal, and often non-existent.
4. It’s fraud-free
Once you’ve sent someone Bitcoins, they’re gone and you can’t get them back without the recipient’s consent. This makes it difficult to commit the kind of fraud associated with credit cards, in which people make a purchase and then contact the credit card company to make a chargeback, effectively reversing and cancelling the transaction.
5. It’s secure
When you make payments online, you usually have to enter personal information, such as your name, credit card number, expiry date and CSV, which isn’t 100% safe and secure. While Bitcoin needs to be linked to an individual in order for them to make a payment, unlike with credit card and banking payments, you don’t need to hand over any personal information.
Cool Ways to Use Bitcoin and Other Digital Currencies with WordPress
After searching for “bitcoin” in our plugin marketplace, I was surprised to discover six different types of products that developers have created for integrating Bitcoin with WordPress. Who knew?
Here’s a rundown.
1. Displaying market information
Much like currency conversion information you see on bank websites, like how many US dollars you’ll get for British pounds, there there lots of plugins and scripts you can use to display up-to-the-minute Bitcoin and cryptocurrency rates.
Virtual Coin Widgets – Cryptocurrencies Shortcodes WordPress Builder provides 10 widgets you can use with your WordPress site to share market information for 1000+ cryptocurrencies (I didn’t know there were so many cryptocurrencies!).
Likewise, the Virtual Coin Widgets For Visual Composer add-on provides the same widget functionality for Visual Composer users.
If you prefer to use shortcodes instead of widgets, take a look at Bitcoin Shortcodes. This plugin provides 10 different shortcodes for displaying Bitcoin information, such as the total number of Bitcoins in circulation, average transaction value, and the current value of Bitcoin in US dollars.
Other market information plugins:
- Premium Cryptocurrency Widgets for WordPress
- Coin Charts – WordPress Cryptocurrencies Historical Charts
- AltCoin ShortCode
2. Payment Gateways and Accepting Payments
The most popular Bitcoin products for WordPress are payment gateways, which allow online stores to accept Bitcoin as payment for goods and services.
Bitcoin for WooCommerce is a simple payment gateway for WooCommerce that allows stores to provide a Bitcoin payment option for customers. It generates a configurable QR code at checkout and ensures incoming payments are received. It also features a built-in exchange rates function so customers can automatically calculate their order total in Bitcoin.
Digital Paybox – WordPress Plugin lets you distribute files through payments. Once set up on your site, people can decide how much to pay and what payment gateway they want to use (PayPal, Authorize.net, Bitcoin via BitPay), but you can set the minimum limit of payments, or even set a fixed amount for each file separately.
Once payment has been completed, the plugin automatically sends a temporary encrypted download link to the payer’s email.
Other payment and gateway plugins:
- WooCommerce Bitcoin Payments
- WooCommerce Ultimate Payment Plugin for Bluepay, NMI, and Braintree Payments
- JT Pricing Table
- eWallet Payment Gateway PLUGIN For WordPress
- Unique Payment Pages
- Code Shop for WordPress
3. Accepting Donations
Here’s a charitable way of using Bitcoin for a good cause.
Bitcoin Donate – A WordPress Plugin lets you accept Bitcoin donations on your website. The plugin is easy to configure and includes widgets and shortcodes you can use to display information on your site to visitors. You can create unlimited donation requests and display a full list of donations received.
Alternatively, AltCoin DonationBox Shortcode also provides Bitcoin donation functionality for WordPress.
Interested in learning more about how to collect donations on your WordPress site with Bitcoin? Check out our tutorial.
Now here’s a fun one: with the Cryptocurrency Price Prediction Game for WordPress you can bet on major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Monero and see how their prices fluctuate with the market in the short term.
You may have heard about the recent controversy around Showtime secretly running scripts on its sites to mine visitors’ extra CPU power for cryptocurrency, in this case Monera. Well, the JCMW plugin enables you to do this with WordPress.
The plugin includes a bottom banner that lets visitors know you’re mining in the background.
What Other Ways Could Cryptocurrencies Be Used on Sites?
I hope you’ve found this post enlightening, especially if you’re new to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
As interest cryptocurrencies grow in the coming years, no doubt we’ll see more plugins and other creative and unexpected solutions for using Bitcoin become available in our WordPress plugin marketplace.