Merchants that are interested in accepting bitcoin as payment — because they are seeking to accrue the asset, to attract a new segment of customers, to transact more freely and efficiently or for other reasons — can do so by generally following the same processes that guide individual bitcoin transactions. However, there is also a range of specialized services that make it easy for merchants to accept bitcoin.
Because they are purely digital, bitcoin cannot be stored or accessed in a physical location, but are accessible only through Bitcoin addresses. These addresses have two sets of keys — public keys and private keys. While public keys can and must be shared with others in order to receive bitcoin, private keys control the sending of BTC and should not be shared.
Bitcoin wallets store and protect users’ keys. They come in many forms — including online wallets, hardware wallets and paper wallets — and deciding which wallet is best for your needs is up to each individual user.
Just like individuals who would like to receive some bitcoin, merchants can accept BTC by asking customers to transfer the asset directly to them through a bitcoin wallet.
Once you have a wallet set up, you can provide your customers with a wallet address to which they can send BTC. This address can be displayed as a QR code to make the process of sending bitcoin even easier. Some services will also help you integrate a “Buy With Bitcoin” button directly on your website that will help users send BTC to your wallet.
Some companies in the Bitcoin space have developed payment terminals, like point-of-sale (PoS) systems, that are specifically designed to manage bitcoin transactions. There are also some application programming interfaces (APIs) that update existing PoS hardware to include bitcoin.