As an affiliate it’s hard to stay on top of all the new innovations, developments and technology advances.
One topic you probably hear pop up a lot is Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. You may have wondered how, or even if, Bitcoin impacts your business. That depends on many factors – if you want to part of a program that sell the cryptocurrency; if you want to be paid in Bitcoin, or if you just want to understand how some of the underlying currency shifts might affect consumer buying behavior in the future.
Regardless of why you’re interested in Bitcoin, here are some basics to help you have an understanding of the cryptocurrency.
What is Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency. Meaning it works without a central bank or single administrator.Transactions are verified by network nodes using cryptography, These transactions are recorded in a public, distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accept bitcoin as payment. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
You can also read an explainer here.
Ok, So Now What?
Because there is consumer interest in obtaining Bitcoin, many cryptocurrency businesses have launched affiliate marketing programs. These programs (which include exchanges, sweepstakes, crypto wallets, and more) are using the affiliate channel as a way to promote their services and offers to a wider audience. These programs – which can be CPA or a revenue share – are often paid out in Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies)
Affiliates can join programs that invite miners, and gain a percentage of their profits, or gain a fixed amount of cryptocurrency in exchange.The number of such Bitcoin affiliate programs is on the rise. However, because of the constantly evolving nature of this growing space, not all programs will survive the changes. There is a big earning potential for affiliates, but there are associated levels of risk. Thorough research into specific program terms and conditions is always advised.
A lot of attention has been paid to the potential of the underlying transactional blockchain technology. Some say there are viable applications for it in healthcare, finance, insurance, and digital marketing as well.
The verifiable “chain” of transactions makes it attractive. And for digital marketing, there is the notion that it could potentially aid in the tracking and fraud detection. The idea being that blockchain technology could track where clicks come from and ensure clicks were generated by actual people and not an automated process – like a bot.
Although, the tracking process is currently automated via a tracking pixel, this process can be manipulated, hacked and abused. Additionally, since tracking information is currently stored on in a central location (like the server for the affiliate program), it can be vulnerable to hacking, human error, and equipment malfunction. When blockchain is used, these errors are impossible. The information is stored on all the computers in the network that communicate between each other.
In addition, the use of smart contracts ensures all tracking is 100% accurate and fraud is avoided. This means every time someone clicks on the affiliate referral link, a smart contract is created. It has a unique id of that specific visitor, with the timestamp and the activity in question. This information would be available to both the advertiser and the publisher. And it can’t be manipulated in any way.
There are many reasons you should care or at least be aware of cryptocurrencies. The most important is that more consumers are starting to demand paying with them. This shift towards alternative payment methods has prompted online retailers to begin accepting it for their goods and services.. According to a recent article, major brands including Overstock, Expedia, Microsoft, Newegg and others now let buyers pay with cryptocurrency. Currently, Amazon doesn’t accept Bitcoin, but there is a lot of speculation that the online giant is moving in that direction. There are several lists hat are frequently updated with those retailers accepting Bitcoin payments.
In addition to being a secure way to pay, many consumers are interested in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.This heightened awareness of cryptocurrencies is only expected to fuel further adoption by both consumers and retailers.
As an affiliate, understanding the basics of the cryptocurrencies may also help you differentiate your marketing marketing efforts as you promote certain goods and services from retailers that accept those types of payments.
The future of cryptocurrency is still taking shape. As more consumers and merchants gain knowledge of the market, it will be necessary to watch this space. It will also be smart to make modifications to your affiliate business leverage its popularity.