If you are an entrepreneur (or would like to be one) then I have some good news for you: profitable Bitcoin business ideas are not hard to come by. That doesn’t mean that it will be easy for you to make money, or that you are guaranteed success. But that first step of finding interesting opportunities that are worthy of consideration should not be a barrier to anybody willing to invest their time and / or money into digital currency.
In this article you will find a selection of the best ‘off-the-shelf’ bitcoin business opportunities that you could set up right now, as well as a few more general ideas to help spark the imagination and inspire those among you who prefer to forge your own independent business path.
Becoming a Bitcoin Broker
Perhaps one of the most obvious as well as one of the most popular ways to start a business in this industry is to set yourself up as a broker, buying and selling coins to other users.
Unlike other areas of finance, digital currency users often have a preference for using peer-to-peer services rather than large companies. This preference extends to exchanges, meaning that it is very easy for a small trader to set themselves up as a broker in their local area or over the internet. In fact, one of the world’s most popular services for buying and selling BTC is LocalBitcoins, which is entirely based around peer-to-peer transactions and hosts thousands of small traders earning a living as brokers.
As a broker you earn your profit from the ‘spread’ – the difference between bid and ask prices. This varies according to market conditions and the payment method you are using, but you can get a rough idea simply by visiting the buy and sell pages on the site for your local area.
BTMs: Operating a Bitcoin ATM
If you have enough capital behind you then a more easily scalable, and potentially more profitable way to set up a business buying and selling coins, is by operating specialist ‘Automatic Teller Machines’ (ATMs) sometimes known as ‘Bitcoin Teller Machines’ (BTM).
Fees charged by BTMs seem to start around the range of 5-10% per transaction, and in some cases are a lot higher. Operators who manage to get their machines into the best locations often report ROI for their initial capital in less than a year. These machines do not take up a lot of space, so renting locations doesn’t need to cost the earth. But with the cost of the machine itself, and the requirement to stock it with notes, the initial outlay can be quite high.
There are a wide range of machines available to buy, and they usually allow you to set your own fees to the level you want. Some machines will also allow you to connect to a third-party exchange through an API in order to manage your currency risk by keeping your reserves of both BTC and your local fiat at a constant level. Most machines will incorporate some form of KYC requirements, but it is important for operators to keep abreast of local regulatory requirements and ensure that their machines comply with the law.
If you are already the owner of a retail location then running a BTM may be a particularly attractive proposition, and some systems have been designed with dual-functionality for this reason. Several major BTM manufacturers have included point of sale (POS) systems into their machine, whilst at the same time POS terminal providers such as Coinkite offer exchange features that enable cashiers to buy or sell coins from the till.
Here is a list of some of the most popular options:
- Romit: Kiosks and ATMs with point of sale app and integrated remittance options.
- BitAccess: Fully featuresdATM machines with note recycling, customizable compliance options and remote management.
- GeneralBytes: Offers a choice of full kiosk and combined POS system.
- Skyhook: Powered by open source software, this machine supports a wide range of currencies.
- Lamassu: Offers a range of 3 different machines and is the market leader at the time of writing this article.
- GenesisCoin: Includes the option to brand the product through their white label system, and had all the features you would expect.
There is even a market out there for second hand BTM machines. You can compare products and find cheap second hand deals at CoinATMRadar.
Bitcoin Vending Machine Businesses
There are many similarities between running a network of teller machines and running a vending machine business. Entrepreneurial salespeople with a strong knowledge of their local area can do well by placing these machines in strategic locations.
One of the big limitations of vending machines is that many people simply don’t carry a lot of change around with them, and may not have the coins needed to make a purchase. As the use of cash continues to decline this is likely to present an ever-expanding opportunity to replace legacy systems with new machines capable of accepting alternative payment methods.
Already there are machines available to purchase which accept both credit / debit cards and Bitcoin. For example, Aeguana sells a top-spec system with digital display, which they claim has driven an average 400% increase in sales on a like-for-like basis compared to traditional coin operated machines during trials in the UK.
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty (or hiring an engineer) you can also retrofit pretty much any existing vending machine to accept BTC payments using something like the BitSwitch, or alternatively Kryptomech which runs its own installation service.
White Label Business Opportunities
A white label business is when another company allows you to take their product or service, rebrand it under your own name, and present it to the public as an independent business. Although the core product is not unique, these services often allow for a relatively high degree of customization.
White Label Exchanges
If you have ever thought of running your own cryptocurrency exchange website, then there are some significant advantages to going through the white label route.
The first is that high quality exchange software capable of reliably matching and executing orders at high speeds is a complex and expensive thing to develop yourself. Setting up a white label exchange is a low cost way to get into this business, but should still allow you to select which coins and currencies you want to trade, set your own fees, and customize the user-interface to suit your brand.
A second major advantage is that these services usually allow you to share liquidity with other exchanges using the same network. Building enough liquidity on a new exchange to make it an attractive choice for users can be very difficult, or very expensive and risky if you provide the liquidity yourself.
Here is a list of the top white label bitcoin exchange providers:
White Label Casinos
Gambling has always been one of those areas in which the advantages of digital currency are most apparent. One of the reasons for this is because many countries do not classify it as being real money, which means that strict laws and regulations controlling online gambling may not apply to casinos which use BTC exclusively.
If you fancy running your own casino, poker or betting site then there are many white label opportunities for you to take advantage of. These can range from a complete ‘turnkey’ website which just requires you to add your own branding (and make sure that you are complying with local laws) to individual games that you can add to your own site.
Here are three of the top providers of this service:
Other White Label Services
I’m sure that there are many other white label services out there, offering services other than casinos and exchanges. This is a fast past industry, so it is well worth doing your own search if you think this is something you may like to do. But for now I will leave you with just one other service that you may like to take a look at: E-Coin offers entrepreneurs the chance to white label their bitcoin debit card service, and includes the ability to access their service through an API: https://devportal.e-coin.io/
Mining is a very competitive business today, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible for new start-ups to succeed. The key to being able to make a profit from mining is that you need access to low-cost electricity. Setting up in an area with a cold climate may also help to reduce equipment cooling costs. This is, however, a risky business that is dependent on factors which are difficult to forecast (such as the price of BTC) and which will probably require a high capital outlay for equipment, so make sure you really know what you are getting into before setting up shop as a miner.
Bitcoin Franchise Opportunities
Choosing the franchise route means that not only are you provided with a product / service to sell, but you also get access to a proven strategy and business plan, and the rights to use an established brand that may already have name recognition and may run its own advertising campaigns that you can benefit from.
This can be seen as one step up from a white label in terms of the help and support you get from the company behind the product, but you do have to pay for this as there is usually a fee which must be paid to purchase the franchise. If you are considering taking this route then I would advise you to do a little research to find the latest franchise offerings yourself, but to whet your appetite and perhaps save some of you the time and effort, here are three of the most interesting franchises that I have been able to find:
- Coin Telegraph – One of the most well known names in digital currency news, Coin Telegraph is offering foreign language franchises in many countries around the world. A similar model is being followed by another news site called NewsBTC.
- Coingaia – A Bitcoin exchange which is using a franchise model instead of the white label route for anybody looking to start their own exchange.
- MegaBigPower – If you have been thinking about setting up your own mining business but don’t have the full capital outlay required then this is worth looking into. You provide a premises and electricity, and they will provide ASIC mining machines and technical support to help you run them.
You can buy most things with Bitcoin today, but there are still opportunities available for new retail businesses which accept digital currency payments to make a name for themselves.
The low transaction costs and freedom from chargebacks makes BTC payments an attractive proposition for retailers, and if you can pass on some of those savings to your customers in the form of discounts you have a great chance to attract new business.
Perhaps the easiest way to set up a new retail business and take payment in BTC is using an internet shop builder service like Shopify.
Reseller & Dropship Opportunities
If you are already involved in retail, or if this is a sector you are thinking about going into, you may also like to consider reselling Bitcoin related products.
For example, Prypto offers a way for retailers to sell Bitcoin in the form of scratch cards or vouchers. This is perfect for adding to the counter of a local newsagent of grocery store, but can also be used by online businesses.
There are also many digital products unrelated to digital currency which have reseller programs. This is a great way to get into retail without a huge expenditure on buying stock, and making a product available to purchase for BTC may win you some business. You can even use a similar method to start selling physical products through ‘dropshipping’, which involves the retailer taking payment for a product from the customer, and then immediately ordering it from their dropship wholesaler, who ships the product direct to the customer.
Monetizing Trust: Escrow Agents & Oracles
If you have built up a name for yourself as somebody that can be trusted (or if your business has), then you may like to consider monetizing this trust by setting yourself up as an escrow agent or oracle.
The role of an escrow agent is the arbitrate over disputes. This may involve online purchases, freelance contracts, or other business and trade arrangements. The process is simple: payment is made to a bitcoin address which requires any 2 signatures out of the buyer, the seller and the escrow agent in order to send a transaction. If there is no problem then the buyer and seller sign and payment is made, but if there is a problem then the escrow agent must choose whether to sign the payment or the refund. You can create a profile on websites like Bitrated to promote your services as an escrow agent.
Another business which requires a certain degree of trust from your customers is the role of the oracle. Oracles publish information over the blockchain which can be used for betting, for financial derivatives, or for smart contracts. Take a look at our article on how to become a bitcoin oracle for more information about this.
If you are reading this article then you probably know more about bitcoin than 99% of other people, at the very least. So why not put that knowledge to good use by helping other businesses?
Both Bitcoin itself and the blockchain technology which underpins it offer a wealth of opportunities, not only for setting up a new business but also within established businesses. Unfortunately most companies just don’t know how to take advantage of them. This doesn’t just stop at accepting Bitcoin payments, it could involve using the blockchain for low cost notary services, as an asset registry, smart contracts and a lot more besides.
Although anybody looking to set themselves up as a consultant must be careful not to overstate their expertise – most general consultancies have teams of people with different backgrounds including programming, law and other areas – there are still profitable niches that anybody with a bit of experience and a willingness to research could take advantage of. For example, approaching small and medium sized retailers in your area and offering to guide them through the various point of sale options, or offering to conduct a presentation on blockchain notary services to a local law firm as a general introduction to what it can offer.
Flipping Websites, Apps & Businesses
Business flipping is when you buy a business, increase its profitability (or turn it around entirely if its making a loss), and then sell it on in a relatively short period of time. The term is more commonly used for online businesses in the form of website or app flipping, but can also be applied to bricks & mortar businesses.
There are many different websites and apps which could benefit from integrating digital currency into what they offer. It is also possible to buy websites and apps for much less than most other businesses, and to ‘flip’ them within a fairly short period of time. Integrating digital currency for in-app purchases or for user-rewards schemes, or simply converting stores to accept BTC payments, may be worth considering as ways to add value to an established business.
It is not beyond the imagination to think that some offline businesses may present similar opportunities for an entrepreneur to add value in a short space of time by introducing the use of blockchain technology.
Bitcoin Websites & Faucets
At the risk of creating more competition for ourselves, another possibility is to create a bitcoin related website. When it comes to monetizing your site, there are many advertising networks and affiliate programs which pay out in bitcoin.
One of the most popular categories of website in this area is the faucet – a website which pays out a small amount of bitcoin to new users for testing or just for fun. Check out our article about how to make your own faucet for more information about this.
You may also like to take a look at our article on how to earn bitcoin by blogging.
The Wonderful World of Altcoins
If you are willing to go further out into the wild west of financial technology there are many more opportunities to be had in the wonderful world of altcoins. For example you may consider setting up a Ripple gateway, converting popular apps into decentralized apps on 2.0 networks like Ethereum, making your own altcoin, and probably a thousand and one other things besides!