About a month ago we decided to start accepting Bitcoin for our services – this blog post will be outlining our experiences thus far and our initial thoughts.
We just recently hit a total of 1 BTC ($450~) worth of transactions for our services paid with Bitcoin exclusively. So far the ride has been smooth minus a few early hiccups including some of our WAF rules being hit from when Coinbase hit our callback URL’s. Luckily we resolved that and everything has been smooth sailing since.
Now let’s discuss some of the more interesting things friends and colleagues have inquired about!
How are you vetting orders?
This was one of the things we didn’t have a conclusive answer on and still have only a loose one. We understand a large appeal to cryptocurrencies is the pseudo-anonymous environment they offer which goes against our standard procedure of requiring legitimate billing information and denying orders from proxies and or VPN’s. We decided (against criticism internally and externally) to allow these orders to be processed assuming they were not obviously going to hurt our network (IE: blatantly selling illegal goods, SPAM services, etc).
Aren’t there a large amount of abuse associated with Bitcoin based orders?
That was another concern we had and I believe a lot of hosting providers are concerned about this as well. I’m happy to say at this time we haven’t had any issues with abuse of our services (SPAM, DDoS, etc) from the individuals who have opted to pay for our services via Bitcoin.
We understand the volume of orders provide a small sample size to determine the long term of these types of accounts but at the outset it looks very promising.
How are you advertising Bitcoin? Is there any interest?
At this time we haven’t launched any ad campaigns – the only references about Hawk Host and Bitcoin is from our initial Reddit post, blog post and a few blurbs on our Twitter account. We’re not seeing a huge volume of Bitcoin payments at this time – however we’ll be tweaking our website to make it clear we accept Bitcoin and will be evaluating an advertising campaign in the near future.
On the flip side we’ve seen a relatively large amount of questions about Bitcoin, ranging from how the signup process works to how Bitcoin itself works! It’s been a great learning experience for customers and our staff.
How are you storing your Bitcoin?
We’re currently using the deterministic wallet “Electrum“. The wallet itself is encrypted (BIP-38) and is also stored on a Truecrypt volume. The wallet is rarely accessed and is only accessed on air gapped computers inside a fresh Virtual Machine. Depending on the amount of Bitcoin we will store we would consider something such as a paper wallet but at this time it’s unnecessary.
Are you converting to fiat immediately?
We have not converted any of our Bitcoin to fiat currently. We’ve discussed this internally and have agreed until the volume of people paying with Bitcoin increases there is no real risk to hanging onto the coins indefinitely. Once we surpass a certain threshold of people utilizing Bitcoin we’d be converting to fiat regularly.
In the end we consider this a successful experiment and are excited to see what it will bring in the future!