I wrote this guide up very quickly in response to the recent credit card situation at Backpage.
American Express, Visa, and MasterCard are no longer accepted at Backpage.com. This is obviously an awful situation; many sex workers rely heavily on Backpage for their business. While it would be wonderful to have a magic wand and fix this problem, bitcoin is one of the few payment methods still accepted by Backpage and I want to make sure those who need it can use it.
Whether you’re someone who advertises on Backpage or not, it’s important to know how to use bitcoin, as it’s possible that law enforcement may begin using similar tactics against other websites.
Bitcoins may seems scary. It’s a new technology, with lots of technical jargon surrounding explanations of how to use it. The good news is, Bitcoin has gotten a lot easier over the past couple of years and it’s not too difficult to learn how to accept and send payments.
Coinbase is one of the most popular bitcoin wallets and for good reason. It makes it very easy to send and receive bitcoin and turn that bitcoin into the currency of your choice. It is slightly less secure than other Bitcoin wallets, but is still far better than either Paypal or Square in terms of accepting payments. I’ll outline how to maximize your security through Coinbase.
Use your escorting name when signing up. The price of “a bitcoin” may seem daunting, but it is possible to purchase a fraction of a bitcoin similar to how cents make up fractions of american dollars.
If you’d like to purchase bitcoin through coinbase, you will need a bank account that you can link to your account. If you already have a business account, perfect, if not, you can simply link it up to your personal checking account. If you’re just using your bank account to buy bitcoin, Coinbase walks you through the process and it’s fairly simple.
If all you’re doing is purchasing bitcoin to buy ads on Backpage, then the process is fairly simple. Add enough bitcoin on Coinbase to cover the cost of your advertisement, then purchase the advertisement on Backpage using the bitcoin option.
If you’re accepting payments from clients in the form of bitcoin, you have many different options.
If you’d like to deposit bitcoin into your bank account, I’d advise you to pay taxes on it; you don’t want the IRS to seize your funds.
Requesting payments through Coinbase is simple. All you have to do go to the Send/Request section at the top of Coinbase’s sidebar, type in the email address of the person you’re requesting from, the amount you’re charging, and send away. The issue with this method is that it reveals the email address and name you signed up for Coinbase with.
If you’d like to be more secure, you can tell your client to send their payment to your bitcoin wallet address. Bitcoin wallet addresses update with each transaction for maximum privacy. To find your latest Bitcoin address in Coinbase, click on the Tool section. It should be at the very bottom of the sidebar.
If your client is familiar with bitcoins, all they should need is your wallet address to send you the payment. If they aren’t, you may have to walk them through the steps. If they create an account on Coinbase, they can easily send you bitcoins by clicking the Send/Request section on the top of the sidebar and copy/pasting your wallet address into the Recipient section.
If you’re a privacy freak like me or would like to learn more about other options for using bitcoin, Bitcoin.org is a great place to start. I personally use Bitcoin Wallet, but I recommend Coinbase as a more user friendly solution for starting out. There are many wallets and exchanges out there, just do your research and see what will work best for you and your business!
If you have any questions, whether you’re a fellow provider or a client, you can feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watching each others’ backs is so important in this industry.
As always, stay safe and successful.