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This is the final instalment of a three-part series aimed at learning more about the merchants who accept bitcoin and support the wider digital currency ecosystem.

The results are based on a survey issued on 17th March that received more than 200 responses. Part One of this series sought to better define the merchants who are taking part in the bitcoin ecosystem, while Part Two examined the sales successes these businesses have been able to achieve to date.

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So far, our merchant survey has defined the types of businesses operating in the bitcoin space and examined the effect that bitcoin buyers have had on their bottom lines, answering two integral questions about how bitcoin's use is growing in the merchant ecosystem.

However, the last piece of the puzzle may well be to assess if merchants believe their experience with the industry to be positive.

After all, adding bitcoin as a payment option isn't a costly process – and for those who use major bitcoin processors, one without tremendous liabilities – it's perhaps more worthwhile to assess the intangible benefits that bitcoin adoption and awareness can bring.

For example, even merchants who aren't able to increase sales substantially generally see a spike in interest surrounding their business. Furthermore, those who come to the technology due to its ideological implications often discover like-minded individuals and a supportive community along the way.

Both of these instances arguably translate into an even greater awareness for bitcoin as an industry that would not have existed otherwise, and in turn, create a positive experience for merchants.

As such, Part Three of our survey aims to look more broadly at this potential network effect by assessing merchant satisfaction with bitcoin as well as whether this has translated into wider support for the digital currency ecosystem.

97% of merchants are satisfied with bitcoin

According to our survey results, merchants have had overwhelmingly positive experiences with digital currency. When asked if they were "glad they started accepting bitcoin", 96.9% of respondents answered 'yes', while just 3.09% reported 'no'.

Merchants were also given the opportunity to expound on why they felt positively or negatively about bitcoin, with many citing the advantages of bitcoin over available payment tools like credit cards and PayPal, as well as the ability to accept international payments with ease.

Explained one respondent:

"It's the future. We have customers all over the world and not all of them are able to use PayPal or credit cards."

96% of merchants would recommend bitcoin to another business

In addition, our survey found merchants were similarly positive about recommending bitcoin to other merchants, with 96.7% reporting that they would do so.

Just 3.3% said they would not recommend bitcoin.

Merchants who said they were not satisfied with accepting bitcoin for payment, tended to cite the risk associated with bitcoin's price volatility, as well as the low interest in bitcoin amongst the general public.

One respondent even suggested that bitcoin's bad publicity could affect their reputation, stating:

"[There is] is some reputational risk in associating myself with something that the major media connects to nefarious activities/persons."

48% of merchants are open to altcoins

Finally, the survey sought to assess whether the enthusiasm merchants hold toward bitcoin is translating to support for alternative digital currencies. Overall, the report found that 48.6% of merchants would consider accepting altcoin payments, with 51.4% reporting that they would not do so.

Of the available alternatives, litecoin was the most popular altcoin, with 88% of merchants who would consider altcoins suggesting they would evaluate litecoin.

Dogecoin and peercoin finished third and fourth in the survey, respectively, with 52.9% and 25.88% of altcoin-friendly respondents reporting they would consider these coins.

Image credit: Merchant via Shutterstock

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