Did you know that there was a huge spike in crypto scams and thefts in 2021? According to the Chain Analysis Crypto Crime report, such incidents rocketed by 79 percent.
So far this year, $3 billion has been stolen in crypto. With statistics like that, you don’t need us to tell you that cryptocurrency is hot property right now.
At the same time, consumers love paying with crypto and enjoying the benefits it brings. So, if you don’t provide this payment option, you may end up losing to the competition. This is why you need to focus on dealing with cryptocurrency in a safe, efficient, and effective manner at your business.
Considering that, we’re going to take a look at some top tips on staying safe while using cryptocurrency in your small business.
Why should you offer cryptocurrency payments?
Before we reveal how to stay safe, it’s important to understand why it’s worth expanding your business services to take cryptocurrency payments in the first place.
More and more people are purchasing Bitcoin
There’s only one place to begin, and this is the fact that so many people purchase Bitcoin or are interested in purchasing Bitcoin.
In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 22 percent of the adult population in the United States (46 million people) own a share of Bitcoin. This number is only going to grow.
Contrary to popular belief, a lot of these people don’t want to simply hold onto Bitcoin. They want to spend it and use it as their main currency. If you don’t allow them to do this by purchasing with cryptocurrency at your store, they’ll end up going to another store that does accept Bitcoin.
Avoid chargebacks and fraud
Cryptocurrency can be compared to cash in the sense that the funds are either available or they’re not.
With cryptocurrency, you don’t have to fret about chargebacks. This is because the transaction must be approved by both parties.
When you make a sale, there’s nothing worse than having to wait for it to appear in your bank. Luckily, cryptocurrency transactions pretty much happen in real-time. This is because there aren’t banks slowing the process down.
You’ll save money
Did you know that merchants have paid more than $78 billion in debit and credit card processing fees?
Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, which means every transaction doesn’t need to be bank verified. This gets rid of those pesky transaction fees, saving you a considerable amount of money.
Acquire new customers
Last but not least, as mentioned earlier, more and more people are purchasing cryptocurrency than ever before. Therefore, offering this payment option gives you a great chance of acquiring new customers.
After all, a lot of people are actively looking for e-stores with this payment option, so you’ll distinguish yourself effectively from the competition.
How can you stay safe when using cryptocurrency?
Now that you know why offering cryptocurrency payments makes sense, let’s take a look at how to do so in a safe and secure manner:
1. Build a secure online store
We must start by putting security first when we start an online store. This is something you need to do no matter what payment methods you accept.
Follow these steps to create a secure online store for your business:
- Choose a secure web host and e-commerce platform – Take your time to carefully assess different web hosts. Read reviews left by others and make sure the host and site builders implement security features.
- Install an SSL certificate – Also known as the Secure Sockets Layer, SSL is a protocol that generates an encrypted link between your web browser and server. You need an SSL certificate for an e-commerce store, as it protects sensitive payment data.
- Update your website regularly – Patch and update your website on a regular basis to ensure any weaknesses and vulnerabilities don’t end up being exploited by a hacker.
- Perform SQL checks on a frequent basis – As SQL injections can be made in any user input form on your site, you need to check for them regularly. Choose software that will automatically do this for you.
- Use strong passwords – Simple passwords invite hackers to breach your e-store. Instead, make your passwords as difficult to guess as possible. Use a combination of special characters, upper case letters, lower case letters, and numerical characters.
2. Educate your employees
If you’re going to start accepting Bitcoin at your traditional business, your employees need to understand why, what this means for them, and what safety precautions they must take.
A lot of business owners don’t realize that their employees are their biggest security risk. This doesn’t mean that your workers are maliciously out to get you. While these sorts of breaches do happen, most employee breaches occur because someone makes a mistake without realizing it. This then gives the hacker access to your accounts.
Because of this, educating your employees is vital. You need to ensure they’re educated about everything to do with data and payment security, including cryptocurrency payments. This should not be a one-time thing. You need to constantly address it.
Aside from training courses, you may want to consider sending out weekly newsletters with tips and advice.
Make sure that you explain why this matters in terms of the person’s job. Why should they care? Unless you explain this, it’s going to be very difficult to get buy-in from your employees.
3. Store cryptocurrency safely
You need to educate yourself about cryptocurrency storage. Using a cold wallet, otherwise known as cold storage or hardware wallet, is widely considered the most secure method for cryptocurrency storage.
This type of wallet is backed by security professionals, and your private keys are kept offline. Only you will be able to access your crypto. However, if you lose your key, you won’t be able to access your cryptocurrency, so you do need to be careful when going for this option.
There are some other methods you can use to store cryptocurrency securely when handling it at your business. This includes the following:
- Make sure that your email accounts are secure, especially those linked with any password reset functions
- Use a password manager
- Use a different password for every wallet
- Store sensitive information in secure offline settings
- Use multi-factor authentication on all of your accounts
4. Apply cyber resilience tactics when managing your wallet
Next, make sure you apply the fundamental principles of cyber resilience to your wallet. A crypto wallet is basically a piece of code and data, yet it’s a piece of code and data that holds immense value to you and your business.
Because of this, it’s vital to understand how a wallet will be used during transactions with your customers. Make sure you have physical protection in place, and that networks and systems are not compromised during use.
At the end of the day, a cyberattack is a staged incident. A hacker will establish a foothold first, and then they’ll expand, and finally, they target your wallet. When applying cyber protections to your wallet, they’re only going to be as effective as your understanding of them.
5. Don’t share your secret key
This may sound obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people have found themselves in hot water because they haven’t kept their secret key a secret!
Your secret key is used to validate your identity when receiving or sending digital coins. No matter what, you shouldn’t share this with other team members. Keep this information to yourself.
6. Seek expert assistance
Last but not least, if you don’t have a lot of experience in the world of cryptocurrency and cybersecurity, the best thing you can do is hire a team of experts that have this knowledge.
This is a niche that is developing rapidly. It’s also something that is going to have a massive impact on the success of your business and your future as a whole. As a result, taking a risk is simply not an option. You shouldn’t cut corners. Get the expert assistance you need.
Prevent disaster by implementing our top cryptocurrency security tips
So there you have it: some of the different steps you should follow to keep your business safe. There’s no denying that accepting cryptocurrency makes a lot of sense because it opens you up to a wider consumer base. However, unique challenges come with this, which is why you need to take security very seriously and protect your business.