Should Your Eye Care Practice Accept Cryptocurrency

By Practice Growth May 27, 2021

Cryptocurrency burst into the scene a few years ago when Bitcoin's price surged to a whopping $25,000/BTC, spurring a widespread interest in blockchain-supported technologies and a huge proliferation of digital currencies. Since then, Bitcoin has touched new highs and lows; however, interest in cryptocurrency has only skyrocketed.

BitPay's Bitcoin Payments Volume Grows by 328%, On Pace ...But the main question remains, is cryptocurrency ready to accept as payment for an eye care practice?

There are numerous factors to consider – both pragmatic and technical – prior to accepting cryptocurrency as a mode of payment. We looked at what eye care practices must know about cryptocurrency and how some startups of blockchain, the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency, attempt to push the crypto space forward.

Cryptocurrency: What is it?

Cryptocurrency is a decentralized currency that heavily relies on (P2P) peer-to-peer technology. To put it simply, no government or central bank regulates it. Funds are directly transferred to buyers without the need of a third party to process payments.

What’s the best thing about cryptocurrencies? They eradicate the middleman factor from a transaction. Instead of storing your money somewhere where you're dependent on a particular financial institution to protect it, you hold on to it via a unique encryption key. As more and more stories of hackers becoming more active emerge, cryptocurrencies are starting to seem like a more viable option to people looking for a secure way to do business.

Eyecare practices may decide to accept cryptocurrency for several reasons, like reducing a particular type of fraud, attracting patients who are into crypto, or being at the forefront of technology. But would it be a step in the right direction? Let’s find out!

Advantages of Accepting Crypto

Crypto provides numerous attractive benefits that eye care practices might want to consider:

Catering to the preferences of patients:
Accepting cryptocurrency as a mode of payment provides the customer with the flexibility of having an extra way to pay while offering an additional layer of protection.

Elevated sales:
Cryptocurrency's decentralized nature allows eyecare practices to expand and open their doors to international buyers for whom their services were once inaccessible. For instance, an eye care practice could offer consulting services to around 40 countries by simply accepting cryptocurrency.

Merchant safety:
Cryptocurrency's decentralized setup also safeguards merchants from shady, illegal chargebacks. Cryptocurrency transactions, like cash, are final since no third party can intervene and reverse the charges.

Significantly diminished transaction charges:
The lack of a central intermediary significantly diminishes transaction charges. Eyecare practices accepting credit card payments usually tend to face service charges of around 25 cents for every card swipe, as well as 2-4% of the transaction total.

Brand Positioning as High Tech Eye Care Provider :
Position your eye care brand as being an early technology adopter. Accepting cryptocurrency could have an afterglow for your brand. Patients just might receive advanced diagnosis and treatment for eye conditions at your practice, too! 

Risks/Drawbacks of Accepting Crypto

Regulatory Uncertainty

One major problem with accepting crypto is that the regulatory landscape is likely to be volatile in the future, which means eyecare practice owners would have to follow cryptocurrency policy and adapt.

Since cryptocurrencies are comparatively new, there's a lot of uncertainty around how the government is going to work out kinks in its regulation. This industry is so fast-moving, there could be a slew of new regulations by the time you read this article.

Crypto Security

Crypto Security: Your Guide for 2019 - Who Took My CryptoEven though cryptocurrency transactions eradicate severe cyber threats, such as stolen credit card numbers, the currency still can’t be considered a hundred percent secure. Until now, there has been no perfect way to eliminate cybercriminals from gaining access to the wallets of users. This is especially risky.  Unlike the fiat currencies like the GBP and the U.S. dollar, cryptocurrencies are not insured or backed.

But a few cryptocurrency companies are working tirelessly to change that. For example, Coinbase holds less than 1.9% of customers' digital currency online, and in case of a breach, the exchange insures all incurred losses. On a platform like Coinbase, all fiat currency maintained is subject to FDIC insurance, up to $250,000, just like traditional banks. But these protections don't apply in case your digital wallet on Coinbase is illegally accessed or hacked.  It is still your responsibility to ensure the safety of your account. However, if a company undergoes an attack, your funds are untouchable.

Crypto Volatility 

Undoubtedly, the biggest risk of digital currencies is value volatility, which makes their price unpredictable. When Bitcoin was first launched in 2009, it was valued in pennies; however, its price jumped to $19,172/BTC in December 2017.

Today, one Bitcoin is worth an astounding $58,747 as of the date of this article.

Using a merchant service crypto company such as Coinbase or BitPay helps eyecare practices stay protected against that volatility by instantly exchanging digital currency for its current value. With the help of services like these, payments can be made in real-time for the currency's value at the transaction time. The only probable cause for an eye care practice to hold on to cryptocurrency would be as a speculative investment, but that would be like gambling with the practice revenue stream.  

Technical Hurdles

Prior to accepting cryptocurrency, set up a digital wallet on a digital currency exchange of your preference. It can be difficult dealing with legacy software let alone lead the field by adopting cutting-edge technologies, like cryptocurrency. The switch won't be without technical challenges. The world of cryptocurrency is an information-rich field with a seriously high learning curve, which could prove to be a major hurdle when you're also trying to run your practice.

As of now, eyecare practices may find it relatively challenging to accept cryptocurrency. And even if one puts these technical hurdles aside, the volatility of cryptocurrency’s price still presents a disincentive for entrepreneurs to hold digital currencies.

Any eye care practice that decides to start accepting crypto must be ready to adapt to an uncertain regulatory environment. These policy and regulatory changes will continue into the foreseeable future as cryptocurrency adoption expands and new challenges and problems arise.

Right now our team is not suggesting a full-on dive into cryptocurrency, unless you are keen on gaining in-depth knowledge about crypto and its pros/cons. However, if your practice is located in a major tech hub like Silicon Valley, Austin, New York, Boston, etc. you might want to consider accepting cryptocurrency for exams or select procedures. Look at it as a speculative investment. Do you remember complaining about Dow 10,000? We’re now inching closer to Dow 40,000. Some crypto pundits have predicted that Bitcoin may even go as high as $80,000/BTC in the near future. All the more reason to start accepting crypto as a mode of payment...   

What are your thoughts about accepting cryptocurrency in eye care or healthcare in general?  

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