How Bitcoin can help Greek people to pay for international services

by Pere Hospital  July 22, 2015

Note: Cloudways no longer supports payments through Bitcoin.

I had a wonderful experience yesterday related to Bitcoin and how it can help ordinary people. I thought I must share.

I like to keep in touch with “Cloudways realities” by taking care of tickets and chat, every now and then. It is a must to understand customers’ problems to move things forward. Yesterday, a ticket caught my attention in which a Greek customer was struggling to pay last month’s invoice.

His name is Vaggelis. He is working at a Web Design and SEO company in Athens, Greece.

Of course, you have all heard of the problems Greek people are facing for a while now. Things got worse when the banks were shut down and the limitation to withdraw 60€ per day was put in place. Additionally, international payments via Credit Cards are not working either. This has made things very difficult for plenty of people like Vaggelis who work with international services of any kind (like, Cloudways).

On Monday, the Greek banks reopened. So, Vaggelis was hopeful that his CC payment could finally go through. But, it didn’t! I checked our payment gateway and this is what we got: Refused (05 : NOT AUTHORISED). So, the Greek banks didn’t seem to be quite open for international business. He checked on the situation with international payments on his end too. This is what Vaggelis’ bank told him:

“My bank informed me that I have to deliver the printed invoice to the bank, and that will go to the ministry in order to be accepted and later, they will release the payment!”

No comments!

bitcoin

We had recently added Bitcoin as a payment method for Cloudways and, being myself a Bitcoin fan, I had read about Bitchain, a Catalan company setting up bitcoin ATMs in Greece to provide Greeks an alternative to the shut-down banking system.

So, I told Vaggelis about Bitcoin, the option to pay our (and other) invoices with it and where he could get some. I proposed Bitcoin ATMs and also Localbitcoins, a “proximity” bitcoin exchange service. A few hours later, he said:

“OMG! You rock, man. I love you. I just added 20€ to my funds. How can I pay my last invoice? A lot of respect to your support. I love working with you!”

So, we had a little chat about Bitcoin payment. This is what Vanggelis has to say.

Me: What are the problems that the current banking situation create for Greek businesses, like yours?

Vaggelis: I can’t pay for any software product we use (e.g., modules, services, etc.). Of course, web hosting either. Nothing that is located outside Greece.

Me: Did you know about Bitcoin?

Vaggelis: Very little until you told me with exact details, such as the nearest ATM.

Me: How did you get your first Bitcoin?

Vaggelis: I flew on my scooter to the nearest ATM and purchased my first Bitcoin with some Euro. It was really fast, easy, and amazing!

Me: How did you use it to pay for online services?

Vaggelis: After filling my wallet with my first Bitcoin, I went back to my office and I tried to add funds to my Cloudways account. It really took only few seconds and it was really amazing too! I do not remember making any faster and more comfortable payment ever!

Me: How difficult was the whole process?

Vaggelis: You can’t imagine how easy it was. I remember my first payment with Visa card and I was a little bit nervous. But with Bitcoin, you have only to add bitcoins to your wallet (for me, it’s an Android app), and later use your wallet to pay. I used a QR code which is fantastic. TIP: Use a global pin for transactions and read few things about security and tips!

Me: Any other thoughts.?

Vaggelis: I was feeling like a prisoner because I could not pay the excellent services I use. But with Bitcoin I went around this terrible problem with international payments and I can start to work again!

Concluding Thoughts

I hope that other Greek business owners find this useful and it does provide some help in these harsh times. If you are on Cloudways, check our knowledge base entry for adding Bitcoins. If you are thinking to start your journey with us, visit our Bitcoin page.

At the end, I wish Vaggelis (and the Greek business owners) good luck!

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About Pere Hospital

Pere Hospital (CISSP & OSCP) is the CTO and co-founder of Cloudways Ltd. He has over two decades of experience in IT Security, Risk Analysis and Virtualization Technologies. You can follow Pere on Twitter at @phospital and read his blog at www.perehospital.cat

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  • So many thanks and respect to your fantastic support. I wish you the best.