Much about Bitcoin has been written and discussed over the last couple years. But Bitcoin as a method for payment is still a bit mysterious to most people. I'd include myself in that group until recently. I was in a meeting at a Andreesen Horowitz, a venture capital firm based here in Silicon Valley, and got an amazing introduction to Bitcoin in general as well as Coinbase, the startup that is building a nice business around this new system for open payments.
I mentioned to the young Coinbase entrepreneur that I had a Shopify site and might be interested in using Bitcoin for payments. We already accept various credit cards and PayPal, all of which are basically payment systems, and I learned Bitcoin, effectively, is nothing different. It's just managed in a very different way. Meaning, just like the credit card company manages who and how people are able to use their Visa or Mastercard credit cards, Bitcoin is managed by a broad network of people whom collectively ensure security and at the same time maintains an open system of payment.
My new friend at Coinbase sent me a link to the Shopify blog post describing their integration with Coinbase that enables merchants like us to accept Bitcoin as a new payment method. There's a very helpful video describing Bitcoin there if you're interested.
I basically followed the simple instructions provided by Shopify for enabling Bitcoin support through the Coinbase integration. In fact, it only took about 20 minutes to set it all up!