An Introduction to Bitcoin Payments

Here at One Stop, we’re proud to have been the first hydroponics retailer in the UK to accept bitcoin, back in 2014. Over the last four years, we’ve looked after hundreds of happy bitcoin customers, but for those who are completely new to the subject, read on for an introduction to the world of cryptocurrency…

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin was invented back in 2008 by an anonymous visionary using the pseudonym of ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’. The system can be difficult to understand for newcomers, but if you remember only one thing, it should be that Bitcoin is the first truly decentralised currency system. Nobody is ‘in charge’, there is no HQ to visit and there’s no way to shut the network down. Its progress is instead steered by the consensus of its users, exchanges, miners and developers.  Today, banks are the ‘trusted third parties’ that act as the middlemen facilitating our day-to-day payments; tomorrow, those roles will become obsolete. Sending money across computer networks will be as trivial as sending an email, and the role that corrupt banksters play in all of our lives will diminish to nothing.

So Why Buy Bitcoin?

There’s no shortage of reasons to get excited about Bitcoin on a societal level, but what’s in it for you? Without getting bogged down in the mechanics, one of the key traits of the network is its finite currency supply. Pounds and pence can be summoned from thin air at the will of private and central bankers, but the Bitcoin network has a supply that can never exceed 21 million full units. The implications are that, as adoption grows, the value of each ‘coin’ increases. Despite what you may have heard about volatility, the general trend over the last nine years has been upward, beginning back in 2009 with a price of zero, and sitting at the time of writing at a value of around 10,000 dollars! We are not inviting you to join a get rich quick scheme here, but it’s worth understanding the key differences between inflationary and deflationary currency: one loses value over time as the supply increases, keeping you trapped on a never-ending economic treadmill, while the other accumulates in value, incentivising you to save for the future.

Is Bitcoin Anonymous?

Well, yes and no. Bitcoin is a permissionless system. You won’t need a driving license or a passport to interact directly with the Bitcoin network, just a computer and an internet connection. There are no records of your personal details stored on ‘the blockchain’ – Bitcoin’s public transactional ledger. This makes it a very attractive option for those situations where discretion is of the utmost importance. It should be noted that Bitcoin is not completely anonymous – at least not yet… Bitcoin uses a system of addresses that rely on something called public key / private key cryptography. These addresses look like strings of random characters, and each address has a balance attached to it. If somebody manages to associate your identity with that Bitcoin address, then they can see a public record of your spending activity.

Your anonymity hinges on keeping the link between you and your Bitcoin address a secret, and it’s for this reason that Bitcoin is considered to be ‘pseudonymous’. As Bitcoin wallets need to be connected to the internet, maintaining 100% anonymity is something that can only really be achieved by the technically savvy.

Maximising Privacy & Security

So, full anonymity may be tricky, but that’s not to say that there aren’t steps that you can take to improve your privacy. For starters, it’s advisable to ditch your web-based wallets and run dedicated applications which interact with the network without a middleman. When using online wallets, like Coinbase, your keys are managed by a third party, which is inherently insecure. These middlemen could, in theory, disappear with your funds, stop you from making transactions or share your activities with other parties. Dedicated apps put YOU in control of your own funds, and they’re surprisingly easy to use.

All you need to do is install a wallet on your chosen device and note down the long list of words that are given to you during the set-up process. Keep this stored safely on a piece of paper, preferably in multiple places. This list of words, otherwise known as a ‘seed’, will allow you to restore your balance should something happen to your device, giving you complete peace of mind. At the same time, be aware that, if anybody gets access to this list of words, they can steal your funds, so KEEP BACK-UPS SAFE! Once you’ve got everything stored safely, sending and receiving bitcoin is an absolute doddle. We’ll talk more about this later…

 

Here are the apps that we currently recommend:

If you’re running Windows, Mac OS or Linux, use Electrum: https://electrum.org/#download

If you’re running IOS, choose Breadwallet: https://breadapp.com/

If you’re running Android, go for Mycellium. https://wallet.mycelium.com/index.html

Ordering Your Grow Gear at One Stop

We’ve made it as easy as possible for you to spend your bitcoin at One Stop by integrating Bitpay’s payment processing system into our checkout. Once you’ve found the hydroponics equipment that you’re looking for and you reach the payment stage of our checkout, select the Bitcoin option. A Bitpay window will then open up asking you to enter an email address. Bitpay will use this address to contact you if there are any issues. As soon as you’ve done so, you’ll be taken to the payment screen.

Note that Bitpay utilise a new standard which automatically pulls transaction information into your wallet, so you no longer need to manually copy and paste addresses. All of the previously mentioned wallets work perfectly, and you’ll find an up-to-date list of compatible software here: https://support.bitpay.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005559826

There are three ways to send payments:

  • If your wallet is installed on the same device that you are ordering from, you can select the ‘open in wallet’ option and hit ‘send’.
  • You can scan the QR code with your mobile wallet and hit ‘send’.
  • You can copy the payment URL into the address bar of your wallet and hit ‘send’.

We’ll talk you through an example with the Mycelium Android Wallet.

 

In the image above, you’ll see the default balance screen. Hit the ‘Send’ button.

Now click ‘Scan QR Code’, which will automatically activate your camera. Scan the QR code on the Bitpay pop-up screen. Once it has scanned successfully, you’ll notice the transaction details show up in your wallet. You’ll have 15 minutes from opening up the Bitpay window to complete the payment (not including confirmation times).

Hit ‘Accept’ and you’re good to go! That’s how easy it is to start sending transactions!

Don’t forget, if you’ve got any other questions about paying with BTC, we’re here to help! Drop us an email at orders@onestopgrowshop.co.uk or call us on 01782 749955.