November marked one year since WordPress joined a popular Internet trend and started accepting Bitcoin as one of the ways for webmasters to pay for updates. The popular CMS platform did so to democratize payments, expressing concerns about PayPal blocking access from as many as 60 countries. “Our goal is to enable people,” WordPress stated in its Bitcoin announcement.
WP is not the only big name that implemented this popular virtual currency. Others include OK Cupid, CheapAir.com, Namecheap, Reddit and at least 100 Etsy vendors, with more companies joining daily. Some major businesses that recently announced adding Bitcoin to their accepted payment methods include Virgin Galactic, letting customers use the cryptocurrency to finance their space travel, and Lamborghini Newport Beach, which a few hours ago has announced selling a fully electric vehicle for 55 bitcoins, or $62,400 at the Bitcoin rate at the time of the purchase.
Eliminate the Currency Middleman
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that’s part of the movement for Internet freedom. It promotes peer-to-peer transactions that cut financial institutions, central banks and states out of the process. The currency uses cryptography, hence its transactions are very secure as well as almost entirely private. The money is gradually released into circulation via the process referred to as mining.
All payments are handled by a network of computers that use their processing power to solve complex math problems, which verify transactions. For contributing to the process, miners are rewarded with bitcoins newly injected into circulation. Only 21 million bitcoins will even be released, so the cryptocurrency won’t be susceptible to inflation and will retain its value over time. Such a ceiling makes Bitcoin similar to precious metals, which are valued for their scarcity. And just like you would with gold or any other precious metal, you have to put some work into “mining” to be able to reap the benefits.
WordPress Plugins for Accepting Bitcoins
If you believe in the free market or even just want to increase your sales by attracting Bitcoin users and fans to your online store, you might want to consider using one of many available merchant solutions or shopping cart plugins to create such a payment gateway. Even if you don’t believe bitcoins will become a popular way for customers to pay on your site, just putting a sign up in your online store and announcing your intention to accept cryptocurrency can create a lot of publicity around whatever product or service you are providing.
Here are some ideas you can choose from if you want to follow in the footsteps of WordPress and accept bitcoins through your own WP e-commerce site. The list below includes plugins that will help you accept Bitcoin payments, display prices and convert currencies, among other functions.
Keep in mind that similarly to other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin’s value tends to fluctuate a lot more frequently and drastically than the value of fiat money. For this reason, it’s a good idea to find a merchant solution that will immediately convert your bitcoins into the currency of your choice. That way you won’t end up stuck with a bunch of virtual money that has depreciated by hundreds of percent minutes after the purchase was made.
1. WordPress Bitcoin
This plugin allows you to accept bitcoin payments on your WordPress site using bitpay payment gateway.
Coinbase is a simple WordPress plugin and widget that allow you to accept bitcoins on your website. With this plugin, you pay zero transaction fees for the first million in sales and only 1% afterwards. The great thing about Coinbase is that it lets you hold on to your bitcoins if you wish to, but it also gives you the option of immediately converting them into dollars at the time of the transaction. This is a great way to manage the abovementioned risk of losing your net profits because of high fluctuation of the currency’s rate.
3. Bitcoin Currency Calculator
This plugin installs a widget on your sidebar, which converts any amount of USD, EUR or GBP into Bitcoin. The conversion is based on live data from the popular Mt.Gox merchant solution. The plugin is free, but users are encouraged to donate bitcoins to the provided digital wallet address if they like the widget.
4. Bitcoin Ticker Widget
Bitcoin Ticker Widget lets you display Bitcoin prices from three major cryptocurrency exchanges on your site, MtGox, BitStamp and BTCe. The widget on your sidebar will display the latest prices from any selected exchange. It also shows a graph of Bitcoin prices from the last 24 hours, week or month, to help your visitors get a bigger picture on how this virtual currency has been doing.
5. Bitcoin Payments for WooCommerce
Like its name suggests, this plugin makes it possible for you to accept Bitcoin payments into your digital wallet if your WordPress site uses WooCommerce platform, a free, full-featured WP plugin for e-commerce. Direct transfer of bitcoins into your Electrum wallet eliminates the need to deal with third parties, which users of many other Bitcoin payment gateways have to deal with.
It also means no commissions or fees – a rare feature and a huge plus for most merchants. The plugin supports 16 currencies and allows you to easy convert Bitcoins into any of them through your admin interface. Bitcoin Payments for WooCommerce is updated frequently and has overwhelmingly positive user reviews. If you are already running WooCommerce or are considering installing it for your e-commerce needs, this is probably your best option for Bitcoin transactions.
6. Cryptocurrency Ticker
Cryptocurrency Ticker collects, caches and displays the most current prices of both Bitcoin and its faster counterpart, Litecoin, which is another popular virtual currency. Bitcoin rates are obtained from mtgox.com and Litecoin prices come from btc-e.com, utilizing the APIs of these merchant solutions. In the plugin’s description, the authors mention the possibility of adding other altcoins or smaller alternative cryptocurrencies to the plugin in the future, provided there is enough interest from users.
7. Bitcoin Payments
With this plugin, you are able to use widgets and shortcodes to promote your Bitcoin address on your WordPress site or blog. You can choose to show the actual address or the QR code, which is a great way to encourage your mobile users to use bitcoins for paying as well. Bitcoin Payments does not provide any shopping cart capabilities, only a way to advertise your Bitcoin address.
8. BitMerch Payments for WP E-Commerce
The plugin creates a Bitcoin payment gateway for your site with the help of BitMerch merchant solution. If you end up using this tool for accepting payments, you’ll want to consider that BitMerch charges a 0.5% fee per transaction. The upside is that there is no limit as to what currency you can convert your bitcoins into, and coins get forwarded to your wallet immediately upon payment completion.
9. Bitcoin/Litecoin Payments with WP E-Commerce
The name of this plugin explains its purpose pretty well – you can accept payments not only in bitcoins, but also in litecoins if you are using the free WP E-Commerce plugin for your site. To be able to take advantage of the Bitcoin/Litecoin Payments plugin, you’ll have to sign up at BTCMerch.com site and specify the addresses of your wallets for both currencies. If you are a developer who likes experimenting, the Sandbox feature will let you test Bitcoin and Litecoin payments without having to actually use the real cryptocurrencies.
10. Bitcoin Exchange Widget
This is another widget that lets you display Bitcoin exchange rate on your sidebar. It has a limited functionality and does just that – fetches the exchange rates from the public API at blockchain.info and displays them on your site. The plus is that it’s very light and takes minimum time to load. Bitcoin Exchange Widget was released just a few days ago and accepts Bitcoin donations to help the authors with future development efforts, so it has potential for added functionality.
If you have a charity site or even simply want to ask your visitors to donate as a way of appreciating your work, you can use Bittip.It, a Bitcoin donation button for WordPress. You probably saw those “buy me a cup of coffee” buttons on various sites or might even be using one on your own blog. With Bittip.It, you can now have your fans buy you coffee in bitcoins.
12. BitMate Author Donations
Similarly to the previous plugin, BitMate Author Donations lets WordPress blog authors to accept donations in Bitcoin from their readers. Unlike Bittip.It, though, which is designed to let a single site owner collect donations, this plugin is customized to add a Bitcoin address field for every author, so that each person posting on the blog can get donations for his or her work. An automatically generated box for donations appears after every post or can be placed anywhere on the website.
13. Bitcoin Price Ticker
Similarly to the Bitcoin Ticker Widget listed above, Bitcoin Price Ticker will display current prices of the electronic currency on your website. It uses four popular exchange sites to achieve this goal, Mt.Gox, Bitstamp, BTC China and BTC-e. Prices are always live and the widget automatically updates itself with the most current rates. User reviews indicate that the plugin is easy to use and highly effective at what it does. On top of that, the widget has a stylish design, making it look good on your sidebar.