For most people, ask them what they know about cryptocurrency and their answer will be probably be that there’s one called Bitcoin and that, a few years ago, it saw a huge surge in value. While this may be true, there’s a lot more to cryptocurrencies than just that one fact about one particular currency.

What it overlooks is that cryptocurrencies offer several advantages that can benefit small businesses in a number of ways. Why small businesses in particular? That’s because they are small enough and flexible enough to incorporate new ideas like cryptocurrencies and it can give them some distinct advantages over their competitors.

The most obvious way that any small enterprise can benefit is by starting to accept payment in cryptocurrencies for their goods and services. For a start, when more payment options are offered, it creates additional appeal for customers, both in the B2B and B2C arenas. It also presents any small business as one which is forward-thinking and keen to use the latest payment methods.

Then there are the low charges that apply to the majority of cryptocurrency transactions. Traditional transaction fees can prove to be a major expense, especially if you deal with overseas orders in which two currencies need to be used. In this case, there’s the added advantage that no currency conversion will ever need to be made.

Finally, there’s both the speed and security that cryptocurrency transactions have built into them. Where banks can take days to process some payments, the blockchain behind cryptocurrencies means that they can be completed in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Then, the fact that transactions are verified and irreversible makes them super secure.

These are all reasons that everywhere from big organizations like Starbucks down to small independent coffee shops have started to welcome Bitcoin, in particular, as a method of payment.

The increasing acceptance of Bitcoin has a great deal to do with the growing familiarity among people with the concept of trading the cryptocurrency. There is an ever-growing number of online trading robots emerging that automate the process. There are so many, in fact, that comparison sites like Inside Bitcoins have also started to spring up to give reviews of the relative merits and drawbacks of a bot like Bitcoin Revolution, which offers a demo account and tutorials for beginners. This is essential reading if your small business is interested in dabbling in investing too.

However, before any small business does decide to adopt cryptocurrencies either as a method of payment or an investment opportunity, it’s important to recognize that they remain fairly volatile. This is good news when the price changes work in your favor, less good when they don’t. But provided you can take a long-term view and are prepared to wait for positive price rises before converting the money back into a fiat currency, this won’t be an issue.

So, for any forward-thinking small business owner, it definitely worth considering Bitcoin as an additional payment option – and one that is certain to become more popular as time goes on.