Cryptocurrencies are a topic which certainly divides opinion. Once the sole domain of IT enthusiasts (some of them now millionaires as a result of that enthusiasm!), cryptocurrencies have become increasingly mainstream, with everyone from giant corporations to individual investors getting involved. But does that mean you should accept crypotocurrency payments for your translation services?
It all began with Bitcoin, which is now accepted as a payment mechanism at a wide range of online stores, as well as at various retail outlets in larger cities. In London, you can eat and drink all day long while paying only in Bitcoin, if you know where to go. You can also buy everything from video games to e-cigarettes without needing a penny of traditional currency. Freelancers can event rent deskspace just off Tottenham Court Road if they have Bitcoin at their disposal, while visitors to the UK can access hostel accommodation without needing to pay to change any of their currency into pounds.
Over in the Netherlands, the city of Arnhem has become affectionately known as ‘Bitcoin City’ due to the plethora of businesses that accept the cryptocurrency. Across the water in Las Vegas, everything from the casinos to the ATMs are bitcoin-friendly, if you do your research in advance.
But does the spread of Bitcoin as a payment mechanism mean you should start accepting it yourself? And what about other cryptocurrencies?
Ultimately, whether or not you accept payment for your translation work in Bitcoin is a personal choice. There are both advantages and disadvantages to doing so. Being paid in Bitcoin means that you can avoid the (sometimes excessive) fees associated with online payment mechanisms such as PayPal. This can be particularly appealing if you’re paying international currency conversion fees on a regular basis. However, bear in mind that there can be transaction fees involved in converting Bitcoin to your own currency and withdrawing it – so do your homework carefully to be sure of the savings you potentially stand to make.
That word ‘potentially’ is key here too, as a sudden plunge in Bitcoin’s value could see however much you’ve saved in fees suddenly vanish, along with a great deal more of the payments value. Cryptocurrencies are hugely volatile and even those who study them keenly can be caught out by sudden market shifts.
You also need to be fairly au fait with the world of IT in order to accept payment in Bitcoin. A good start is to read up about what it takes to obtain a Bitcoin wallet. If the process for that sounds too complex, it might be best to stick to payments in traditional currencies!
There are those who believe that Bitcoin and its ilk are just a fad. Meanwhile, others believe that those who accept payment in Bitcoin now and hold onto it will be millionaires before too many years have passed. Ultimately, nobody knows, so accepting payment for translation work in Bitcoin will be a decision based on your personal views and the level of risk you’re comfortable with taking.
Bitcoin may be the original cryptocurrency, but it is far from the only one. As of early January 2018, there were 1,384 cryptocurrencies available. Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin are a few of the better known ones, though their popularity offers no assurance as to their potential value this time next year – nor, indeed, their potential value this time tomorrow!
Alternatives to Bitcoin have many of the same advantages and disadvantages as the market leader. Deciding whether or not to be paid for your translations in them again comes down to personal preference and your level of IT savviness!
Have you accepted payment for translation work in Bitcoin? Would you do so again? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.