When you're thinking of buying or selling something on Craiglist, you can now inform potential customers that you'll be able to pay in bitcoin or another digital currency.
According to a report by The Verge, sellers can now check off a box in their posting that indicates "cryptocurrency okay" for future transactions. This marks a major shift for the online classifieds site and may help to continue to open up the world of digital currencies to the broader world of everyday transactions.
Craigslist Is a Natural Fit for Cryptocurrencies
Considering the way Craigslist is set up, it may be a natural fit for digital currency transactions. The site does not take any payment from its users and it focuses on anonymity, with buyers and sellers completely unvetted save for a set of basic content prohibitions.
Digital currencies like bitcoin are also anonymous in nature, suggesting that there might be overlap between Craigslist users and virtual currency holders.
In fact, there is an argument to be made for digital currencies helping to make Craigslist even more secure. The fact that transactions in digital currency take place instantaneously and via peer-to-peer interactions means Craigslist users exchanging items for digital currency may experience increased levels of trust between buyers and sellers.
Nonetheless, there are several reasons to be cautious before accepting payment in digital currency for items you plan to sell on Craigslist. First, the extreme price volatility across even the largest cryptocurrency by market cap means the value of an item you decide to sell may change between the time you agree to the sale and the time the payment is processed.
More broadly, the newness of digital currencies and the wildly fluctuating values associated with some of the leading tokens has led many investors to speculate that they are a bubble. Should the bubble burst, you may find yourself with cryptocurrency holdings that are worth less than the fiat cash equivalent from the time of the original sale.
Similarly, though some of the most popular cryptocurrencies appear to show no signs of diminishing in interest, sellers who accept payment in a more obscure cryptocurrency run the risk of that digital currency becoming defunct before they are able to cash out their holdings.
Regardless of these and other concerns, the fact that cryptocurrencies are making headway into mainstream websites such as Craigslist suggests a broader trend toward wider acceptance. As of now, most brick and mortar stores do not yet accept digital currency payments. Still, this has not prevented the price of some of the largest digital currencies from climbing to new records repeatedly throughout 2017. (For related reading, see "The 4 Best Alternatives to Craigslist")