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May 8, 2019 |

Should You Accept Bitcoin for Translations?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have received much attention in the last couple of years. Yet, despite their increased popularity, cryptocurrencies remain a mystery to many people. Accepting payment in Bitcoin for translations may still not be doable for most professionals, for the time being, at least.

However, it’s time for translators to understand that Bitcoin isn’t something that belongs to the future, but the present. The use of cryptocurrencies around the world is rising, and translators should be ready to embrace change in all its forms.

Here, you can learn about the pros and cons of accepting Bitcoin for translations instead of your national currency.

A Brief Story of Bitcoin

Bitcoin was launched as open-source software in 2009. Its creator is anonymous, but goes by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, thought to be a person or group of people still unknown to the public.

Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency (from almost two thousand). It’s a decentralized digital currency created using a ledger secured by encryption. At the same time, it has become a universal payment system and investment vehicle used by many people.

The digital coin is powered by a peer-to-peer network. Transactions occur directly between users, without the need of a central bank or administrator.

As there’s no intermediary, transactions need to be verified and recorded in a public distributed ledger, called the blockchain. Every transaction is stored on the blockchain forever. Every modification to the original record is also stored, making transactions impossible to tamper with or change.

As the first cryptocurrency on the market, by 2013, Bitcoin had reached the milestone price of $1,000. Soon after that, the price crashed again, but only to rise once more.

The digital coin continues to be volatile and unstable, practically a roller coaster for adopters and investors.

Today, one bitcoin is worth more than $5,800, but it’s hard to tell how much it will be worth tomorrow, as it may go dramatically up or down.

The Advantages of Accepting Payments in Bitcoin for Translations

Despite its high volatility, using Bitcoin comes with a series of advantages, especially for translators who work with international clients and benefit from accepting digital payment.

Here are some of the things you should consider when evaluating the benefits of accepting Bitcoin for translations.  

Low Transaction Fees

Whether you’re a freelancer or work for a translation agency, as a translator, you know far too well the struggles of dealing with clients from foreign countries. Sending or receiving funds overseas is time-consuming and expensive.  

International transfers usually take between three to five days. You often suffer delays if you have to use more intermediaries and payment methods, besides your bank account. Even with licensed money transfer companies, like PayPal, you often have to wait several days before you can use it to cover your credit card debt.  

The more intermediaries you work with, the higher the fees you’ll pay. Moreover, foreign currency exchange transactions are expensive due to high exchange commissions. All in all, this makes you lose a significant part of your earnings.

Cryptocurrency may not be the immediate solution, as it’s not easy to use when you’re just getting familiar with it. However, fees are far smaller than what you usually pay for exchanging foreign currency.

With Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies), costs can be as low as 0.2 percent per translation, which can be highly advantageous for translators.

Since you can also make some purchases directly with Bitcoin, you won’t always have to change it all to fiat currency to use it.

Access to New Markets

Accepting Bitcoin for translations means more business opportunities for you as a translator. With the increased popularity of cryptocurrencies, many international clients are comfortable paying with Bitcoin, rather than changing their money to USD or other currencies.

If you’re flexible and ready to adapt to the crypto market, you gain versatility. There may be a lot of extra work for you in a market that many professionals are still avoiding.

Generally, we’re talking about clients in the crypto community and in developing regions, where traditional tools for international money transfers are slow and inefficient.

In both cases, these clients can bring in consistent work, helping you to establish a good reputation in new regions, with long-term effects on your earnings.

The Disadvantages of Bitcoin

As with all things in life, accepting payment in Bitcoin for translation services comes with some disadvantages and risks.

The volatility of Bitcoin is by far the biggest challenge. All cryptocurrencies can fluctuate dramatically. This can be a good thing, but it can also reduce your income significantly.  

Let’s say you negotiate a translation project for 0.2 bitcoin at the price of approximately $1,100. By the time you finish the translation, your earnings could be worth twice or half of the initial amount.

Another downside of accepting Bitcoin for your translation work is needing at least basic technical knowledge about blockchain technology and how cryptocurrencies work.

Accepting payment in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency requires a translator to have a cryptocurrency wallet that is compatible with the digital coin.

Safely storing cryptocurrencies requires some research, as well as a minimum investment in reliable hardware. At the same time, you need to be aware of the security measures necessary to protect your earnings from fraud and cyber scams.  

Should You Accept Bitcoin for Translations?

Yes and no. It depends on how much you’re willing to research and learn about the crypto ecosystem. Also, since there’s a risk associated with Bitcoin, you should also be ready to “gamble” a little with your earnings. As long as you have multiple sources of income, accepting bitcoin for translations, for some translations, may not be such a bad idea.

If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, bitcoin might be exactly what you’re looking for. Especially if you want to enter a market that’s still developing and has multiple business opportunities to offer.