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Crypto Invoicing: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Crypto Invoicing: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Crypto Invoicing: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Understanding crypto invoicing is becoming critical to merchants around the globe.

Understanding crypto invoicing is becoming critical to merchants around the globe.

Understanding crypto invoicing is becoming critical to merchants around the globe.

Bisola Asolo

·

18 Feb 2024

Bisola Asolo

·

18 Feb 2024

Bisola Asolo

·

18 Feb 2024

According to a survey carried out by the accounting firm Deloitte and the online payment service provider PayPal in 2021, about 85% of merchants in the US expect the use of cryptocurrencies as media of exchange to be mainstream in five years. The reasons that merchants are choosing to accept crypto are many, and the list includes:

  • Lower transaction fees

  • Faster transactions

  • No chargebacks

  • Attracting a new customer base

  • Transacting across borders

  • Transparency

  • Improved customer experience

  • Giving a brand a cutting-edge look

Initially, businesses accepting crypto payments had to rely on Web2 solutions to invoice. A typical way to do crypto invoicing in Web2 involves opening a form, manually filling in the details, opening multiple tabs to collect critical information, such as the wallet address, and then downloading it as a PDF document to be emailed. 

On the other end, when the client receives and downloads the invoice, they have to copy the wallet address and paste it into their wallet on another tab to initiate a transfer.

Meanwhile, the merchant has to either request updates about the payment from the client through a different channel, or keep refreshing their wallet application to see if there is a balance change.

After the transaction is completed, the client and the merchant must manually input the data on the invoice into their respective accounting systems. 

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a document that a merchant or vendor creates and sends to a buyer after the delivery of goods and services as a formal request to settle the due payment. 

In some cases, the invoice is sent before the services or goods are delivered, or it accompanies them, and when this is the case, the document is known as a proforma invoice.

Details contained in the invoice


The invoice document is usually clearly labelled ‘invoice’ and has a unique sequential identifier systematically printed on it. This unique identifier is added to make tracking and retrieving transactions in the invoicing or accounting systems convenient. 

Other critical details contained in an invoice include:

  • The date the invoice is generated

  • An itemised list of services or products purchased

  • Unit prices of the listed items

  • Total amount owed

  • Discounts allowed 

  • Shipping costs

  • Tax to be paid

  • Payment terms 

  • Account or wallet address details

  • Payment due date

  • Address of the seller

  • Address of the buyer

  • Company logo

Why invoices are issued

Invoices have been used in commerce for thousands of years. The reason why this document remains relevant is that it serves critical functions in commercial transactions. 

The following are the critical functions of an invoice:

A means of communication—An invoice is one of the channels through which counterparties in a commercial transaction communicate formally. Through this document, the merchant or vendor records what they have supplied, the amount owed to them, where the payment should be sent, and the payment terms.

A timestamped record—An invoice proves that a transaction was initiated and indeed took place. It records details of such a transaction, particularly the specific products or services delivered, the amount paid, and the critical dates of the transaction. This information is useful for accounting, inventory control, and taxation purposes. 

Leverage for internal control— The purchase order and invoice are two critical tools a business uses to control costs. The customer creates the first as part of formal approval for spending, and the latter is generated by the merchant as proof of money owed after supplying. Both also form part of an accounting system that has checks and balances. 

Invoicing system before computers

Different societies have had different ways of generating and using the invoice document. What has informed how this document is used has mostly been the level of complexity in commerce transactions and the available technology. 

For example, the ancient Mesopotamians used to print business contracts on clay tablets. While these documents may not be exactly the same as modern invoices, they carried similar information for the same purposes. They indicated the identities of counterparties in transactions, items exchanged, and how much debt was owed as a result. 

It is difficult to pinpoint when exactly in the history of human society that the document we know today as an invoice started to be used. We could, however, assume that some form of it was widely used by the time the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli published the first works on the double-entry bookkeeping system in the late 15th century.

The adoption of the invoice, alongside other accounting source documents such as checks, receipts, bills of sale, debit notes, and purchase orders, picked up on a larger scale during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. 

The paper invoices that have been used since that time usually come in booklets that you can buy from a local stationery store, supermarket, or online store. The paper invoice is filled in duplicates as the business needs to keep a copy for internal record keeping. 

While the paper invoice revolutionised commerce, it has its shortcomings. 

That includes its slow transmission and the need for a significant physical space to file and store them, especially when it is a major business in question. 

There are also challenges in retrieval, and a significant amount of manual work has to go into consulting and reconciling the documents with other accounting source documents.   

The Web2 Invoices

In Web1, beginning in the 1960s, businesses embraced Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) protocols. This computer-to-computer system facilitates the transfer of business documents, including purchase orders and invoices, using a standard electronic format. 

Instead of having to mail or fax a purchase order or invoice, a business could generate and send it from its internal computer system. 

Using established connectivity, this electronic document went directly to the supplier's or client's internal computer system. Therefore, there was little need for a human to manually input the data. 

Nevertheless, the businesses still needed to exchange the physical documents for legal reasons and process payments through separate channels. Also, this solution was available mostly only to major corporations and hardly to small and medium-sized enterprises. 

It is also important to point out that the user interface was mostly highly technical for the ordinary user, especially as command line codes had to be used to key in and interact with data.

The Web1 had little impact on accounting systems until 1998 when Quickbooks was brought into the market by Intuit, a company founded in 1983 by Scott Cook and Tom Proulx and best known until that time for Quicken, a personal financial management software. 

QuickBooks was the first Web2 accounting system, and it managed to bring most of the transactions and business activities undertaken on a daily routine, including generating invoices, onto a single dashboard on a computer screen. 

The business could now generate invoices, send them to customers, and collect payment in the same system. The system also automated activities like recurring invoices and reconciliation of financial records.

Beginning in 2001, with the launch of QuickBooks Online, businesses could have their financial records in cloud storage. That meant installing the accounting software on a desktop was unnecessary, and the system could be accessed from anywhere as long as one had an internet connection.

Web2 accounting and invoicing systems offer users real-time software updates, user-friendly interfaces, and automated document capture capabilities.

Besides invoice generation (sales management), the Web2 solutions could offer inventory, purchases, payroll, and payment management. And all this could be reconciled with a few clicks.

The research and consulting firm Gartner forecasts that the value of the global financial management software market will reach $24.4 billion by 2026. The other notable Web2 accounting and invoice management systems include: 

  • FreshBooks,

  • Square,

  • Invoice Ninja,

  • Invoice Simple and

  • Zoho.

Crypto invoicing Challenges in Web2

Web2 invoicing solutions fail in several critical areas, especially because they were not designed with crypto in mind, which happens to be the backbone of Web3.  

The following are some of the challenges businesses that accept crypto as payment face when using the Web2 invoicing systems:

  • Having to juggle between multiple tabs when generating and paying the invoice.

  • Having to manually input critical data with the risk of making errors. For example, the vendor and client must manually copy and paste the wallet address.

  • A difficult process of verifying payment, including having to manually search through the blockchain explorer.

  • Challenges in capturing crypto payments in the accounting systems.

  • Inability to support many cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks.

Crypto invoicing in Web3

Web3 is the internet built on blockchain technology and, as a result, is decentralised, meaning much control is in the hands of communities of users and less with mega-corporations.

The primary characteristics of Web3 include:

The use of crypto — the launch of Bitcoin in 2009 was the beginning of Web3. Much of the commercial interaction in Web3 is being facilitated by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Decentralised back end— The blockchain, the technology that underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has developed capacity over time to support as a backend most of the other applications available in Web2 and new ones. For example, blockchain supports domain registration, decentralised Finance (DeFi) and decentralised anonymous organisations (DAOs), which are entire organisations built on the blockchain using smart contracts.  

Peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions—In Web3, users have more tools to transact directly with one another. In Web3, counterparties do not have to use trusted intermediaries. 

Use of smart contracts—These protocols are designed to guide and execute transactions between human and machine counterparties. This requires programmable money, which cryptocurrencies are. 

While blockchain is heralding a new form of the internet, businesses and entrepreneurs still need to formally communicate transaction activities for internal filing and legal requirements. 

The invoice is still a relevant document in web3 for those purposes.

The benefits of crypto invoicing in Web3

Solutions have been designed to meet the unique needs of crypto invoicing. The following are some of the benefits merchants get from using crypto invoicing solutions designed for Web3:

For the vendor or merchant:

  • Enabling the invoice generation from a single tab on your computer screen.

  • Picking the wallet address to add to the invoice from a drop-down menu reduces the chances of making errors.

  • Support for multiple blockchains and cryptocurrencies alongside fiat payment solutions.

  • Ability to automatically send the invoice to the email address added to the document.

  • Notifications on the client's activity, including email opening and payment.

  • A link to the blockchain explorer for easy verification of payment made.

  • Integration of crypto payments with the accounting systems alongside fiat payment solutions.

For the client:

  • Being able to pay directly from the opened invoice email

  • Not needing to copy and paste the wallet address; instead, being able to scan a QR code or be automatically sent to a browser extension wallet.

  • Access to a wide range of cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks to use to pay, in addition to fiat options. 

Super is one of the leading crypto invoicing solutions that merchants can use to generate invoices and accept payments in both crypto and fiat.

How Super works and its advantages

Super is more than just a crypto invoicing system. It is the front end of a payment and accounting system designed to make the work of enterprises adopting Web3 easier.

How do you create a crypto invoice on Super?

  • Sign up to access a dashboard to create client profiles, add products, generate invoices, accept payments, and maintain transaction records. 

  • Create profiles and add details of regular customers into the system to make it easy to generate invoices, as you can select them from a drop-down list. 

  • When you add the clients to an invoice using their email addresses, the rest of their details are pulled from the system. These include company name, customer name and contact details.

  • Adding products into the system, especially the primary ones. This saves time when generating invoices. You do not need to manually input the product details when generating an invoice.

  • Add blockchains on which you want to accept payments. The platform supports digital currencies on blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon, Tron, BNB Chain, Solana, Avalanche and Arbitrum through Super.

  • From the selected blockchains, generate and add a list of wallet addresses you want to accept payment. Just like with customer profiles and products, Super allows you to add many wallet addresses into the system beforehand so that you only need to select from the list when generating invoices.  

  • Start building an invoice by clicking on create new invoice. Select the client, and if you already have them in the system, their details are pulled to populate the relevant fields on the invoice. Meanwhile, select the product and input the number of units, amount of taxes and discount.

  • As you generate your invoice, preview it in real-time. This allows you to see how the document will look to the client. 

  • Once the document is ready, you can simply hit send, and it is delivered through the client's email address on file. 

  • Once the customer receives the invoice in their inbox, they can click pay and be directed to the checkout page. Here, they can choose a wallet linked to their browser from a list. 

  • By clicking on the wallet, they are directed to sign the transaction and pay the amount stipulated on the invoice. They also have the option of scanning a QR code.

  • After the payment is completed, the vendor and the customer can download the invoice in a PDF form for physical filing if needed.  

Advantages of Super

Super offers its users many advantages. The following are the most notable:

  • Automate much of the process of using crypto to make payments. In particular, users do not need to manually input the wallet address.

  • The platform supports close to ten different blockchains. The list includes Ethereum, Polygon, Tron, BNB Chain, Solana, Avalanche and Arbitrum through Super.

  • It is integrated with Stripe, PayPal, and Checkout, which allows it to process fiat payments in addition to crypto.

  • Once an invoice is sent, you receive notifications regarding how the client interacts with it. In particular, you will get notifications when the email is delivered, the checkout is opened, and payment is made. Indeed, the dashboard has a timeline for activities that happen to the sent invoice.

  • After the payment has been made, you receive its transaction hash as a link you can click to get the information about the transaction through the block explorer.

  • You can share the invoice in a text message, such as WhatsApp, using a link.

  • You can set and automate reminders to the client at the point of invoice generation.

  • Links from the PDF copy of the invoice that lead to the checkout page on the Super portal.

It is still the early days of crypto invoicing. As the blockchain ecosystem evolves, so will how shoppers pay their invoices with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

According to a survey carried out by the accounting firm Deloitte and the online payment service provider PayPal in 2021, about 85% of merchants in the US expect the use of cryptocurrencies as media of exchange to be mainstream in five years. The reasons that merchants are choosing to accept crypto are many, and the list includes:

  • Lower transaction fees

  • Faster transactions

  • No chargebacks

  • Attracting a new customer base

  • Transacting across borders

  • Transparency

  • Improved customer experience

  • Giving a brand a cutting-edge look

Initially, businesses accepting crypto payments had to rely on Web2 solutions to invoice. A typical way to do crypto invoicing in Web2 involves opening a form, manually filling in the details, opening multiple tabs to collect critical information, such as the wallet address, and then downloading it as a PDF document to be emailed. 

On the other end, when the client receives and downloads the invoice, they have to copy the wallet address and paste it into their wallet on another tab to initiate a transfer.

Meanwhile, the merchant has to either request updates about the payment from the client through a different channel, or keep refreshing their wallet application to see if there is a balance change.

After the transaction is completed, the client and the merchant must manually input the data on the invoice into their respective accounting systems. 

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a document that a merchant or vendor creates and sends to a buyer after the delivery of goods and services as a formal request to settle the due payment. 

In some cases, the invoice is sent before the services or goods are delivered, or it accompanies them, and when this is the case, the document is known as a proforma invoice.

Details contained in the invoice


The invoice document is usually clearly labelled ‘invoice’ and has a unique sequential identifier systematically printed on it. This unique identifier is added to make tracking and retrieving transactions in the invoicing or accounting systems convenient. 

Other critical details contained in an invoice include:

  • The date the invoice is generated

  • An itemised list of services or products purchased

  • Unit prices of the listed items

  • Total amount owed

  • Discounts allowed 

  • Shipping costs

  • Tax to be paid

  • Payment terms 

  • Account or wallet address details

  • Payment due date

  • Address of the seller

  • Address of the buyer

  • Company logo

Why invoices are issued

Invoices have been used in commerce for thousands of years. The reason why this document remains relevant is that it serves critical functions in commercial transactions. 

The following are the critical functions of an invoice:

A means of communication—An invoice is one of the channels through which counterparties in a commercial transaction communicate formally. Through this document, the merchant or vendor records what they have supplied, the amount owed to them, where the payment should be sent, and the payment terms.

A timestamped record—An invoice proves that a transaction was initiated and indeed took place. It records details of such a transaction, particularly the specific products or services delivered, the amount paid, and the critical dates of the transaction. This information is useful for accounting, inventory control, and taxation purposes. 

Leverage for internal control— The purchase order and invoice are two critical tools a business uses to control costs. The customer creates the first as part of formal approval for spending, and the latter is generated by the merchant as proof of money owed after supplying. Both also form part of an accounting system that has checks and balances. 

Invoicing system before computers

Different societies have had different ways of generating and using the invoice document. What has informed how this document is used has mostly been the level of complexity in commerce transactions and the available technology. 

For example, the ancient Mesopotamians used to print business contracts on clay tablets. While these documents may not be exactly the same as modern invoices, they carried similar information for the same purposes. They indicated the identities of counterparties in transactions, items exchanged, and how much debt was owed as a result. 

It is difficult to pinpoint when exactly in the history of human society that the document we know today as an invoice started to be used. We could, however, assume that some form of it was widely used by the time the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli published the first works on the double-entry bookkeeping system in the late 15th century.

The adoption of the invoice, alongside other accounting source documents such as checks, receipts, bills of sale, debit notes, and purchase orders, picked up on a larger scale during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. 

The paper invoices that have been used since that time usually come in booklets that you can buy from a local stationery store, supermarket, or online store. The paper invoice is filled in duplicates as the business needs to keep a copy for internal record keeping. 

While the paper invoice revolutionised commerce, it has its shortcomings. 

That includes its slow transmission and the need for a significant physical space to file and store them, especially when it is a major business in question. 

There are also challenges in retrieval, and a significant amount of manual work has to go into consulting and reconciling the documents with other accounting source documents.   

The Web2 Invoices

In Web1, beginning in the 1960s, businesses embraced Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) protocols. This computer-to-computer system facilitates the transfer of business documents, including purchase orders and invoices, using a standard electronic format. 

Instead of having to mail or fax a purchase order or invoice, a business could generate and send it from its internal computer system. 

Using established connectivity, this electronic document went directly to the supplier's or client's internal computer system. Therefore, there was little need for a human to manually input the data. 

Nevertheless, the businesses still needed to exchange the physical documents for legal reasons and process payments through separate channels. Also, this solution was available mostly only to major corporations and hardly to small and medium-sized enterprises. 

It is also important to point out that the user interface was mostly highly technical for the ordinary user, especially as command line codes had to be used to key in and interact with data.

The Web1 had little impact on accounting systems until 1998 when Quickbooks was brought into the market by Intuit, a company founded in 1983 by Scott Cook and Tom Proulx and best known until that time for Quicken, a personal financial management software. 

QuickBooks was the first Web2 accounting system, and it managed to bring most of the transactions and business activities undertaken on a daily routine, including generating invoices, onto a single dashboard on a computer screen. 

The business could now generate invoices, send them to customers, and collect payment in the same system. The system also automated activities like recurring invoices and reconciliation of financial records.

Beginning in 2001, with the launch of QuickBooks Online, businesses could have their financial records in cloud storage. That meant installing the accounting software on a desktop was unnecessary, and the system could be accessed from anywhere as long as one had an internet connection.

Web2 accounting and invoicing systems offer users real-time software updates, user-friendly interfaces, and automated document capture capabilities.

Besides invoice generation (sales management), the Web2 solutions could offer inventory, purchases, payroll, and payment management. And all this could be reconciled with a few clicks.

The research and consulting firm Gartner forecasts that the value of the global financial management software market will reach $24.4 billion by 2026. The other notable Web2 accounting and invoice management systems include: 

  • FreshBooks,

  • Square,

  • Invoice Ninja,

  • Invoice Simple and

  • Zoho.

Crypto invoicing Challenges in Web2

Web2 invoicing solutions fail in several critical areas, especially because they were not designed with crypto in mind, which happens to be the backbone of Web3.  

The following are some of the challenges businesses that accept crypto as payment face when using the Web2 invoicing systems:

  • Having to juggle between multiple tabs when generating and paying the invoice.

  • Having to manually input critical data with the risk of making errors. For example, the vendor and client must manually copy and paste the wallet address.

  • A difficult process of verifying payment, including having to manually search through the blockchain explorer.

  • Challenges in capturing crypto payments in the accounting systems.

  • Inability to support many cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks.

Crypto invoicing in Web3

Web3 is the internet built on blockchain technology and, as a result, is decentralised, meaning much control is in the hands of communities of users and less with mega-corporations.

The primary characteristics of Web3 include:

The use of crypto — the launch of Bitcoin in 2009 was the beginning of Web3. Much of the commercial interaction in Web3 is being facilitated by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Decentralised back end— The blockchain, the technology that underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has developed capacity over time to support as a backend most of the other applications available in Web2 and new ones. For example, blockchain supports domain registration, decentralised Finance (DeFi) and decentralised anonymous organisations (DAOs), which are entire organisations built on the blockchain using smart contracts.  

Peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions—In Web3, users have more tools to transact directly with one another. In Web3, counterparties do not have to use trusted intermediaries. 

Use of smart contracts—These protocols are designed to guide and execute transactions between human and machine counterparties. This requires programmable money, which cryptocurrencies are. 

While blockchain is heralding a new form of the internet, businesses and entrepreneurs still need to formally communicate transaction activities for internal filing and legal requirements. 

The invoice is still a relevant document in web3 for those purposes.

The benefits of crypto invoicing in Web3

Solutions have been designed to meet the unique needs of crypto invoicing. The following are some of the benefits merchants get from using crypto invoicing solutions designed for Web3:

For the vendor or merchant:

  • Enabling the invoice generation from a single tab on your computer screen.

  • Picking the wallet address to add to the invoice from a drop-down menu reduces the chances of making errors.

  • Support for multiple blockchains and cryptocurrencies alongside fiat payment solutions.

  • Ability to automatically send the invoice to the email address added to the document.

  • Notifications on the client's activity, including email opening and payment.

  • A link to the blockchain explorer for easy verification of payment made.

  • Integration of crypto payments with the accounting systems alongside fiat payment solutions.

For the client:

  • Being able to pay directly from the opened invoice email

  • Not needing to copy and paste the wallet address; instead, being able to scan a QR code or be automatically sent to a browser extension wallet.

  • Access to a wide range of cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks to use to pay, in addition to fiat options. 

Super is one of the leading crypto invoicing solutions that merchants can use to generate invoices and accept payments in both crypto and fiat.

How Super works and its advantages

Super is more than just a crypto invoicing system. It is the front end of a payment and accounting system designed to make the work of enterprises adopting Web3 easier.

How do you create a crypto invoice on Super?

  • Sign up to access a dashboard to create client profiles, add products, generate invoices, accept payments, and maintain transaction records. 

  • Create profiles and add details of regular customers into the system to make it easy to generate invoices, as you can select them from a drop-down list. 

  • When you add the clients to an invoice using their email addresses, the rest of their details are pulled from the system. These include company name, customer name and contact details.

  • Adding products into the system, especially the primary ones. This saves time when generating invoices. You do not need to manually input the product details when generating an invoice.

  • Add blockchains on which you want to accept payments. The platform supports digital currencies on blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon, Tron, BNB Chain, Solana, Avalanche and Arbitrum through Super.

  • From the selected blockchains, generate and add a list of wallet addresses you want to accept payment. Just like with customer profiles and products, Super allows you to add many wallet addresses into the system beforehand so that you only need to select from the list when generating invoices.  

  • Start building an invoice by clicking on create new invoice. Select the client, and if you already have them in the system, their details are pulled to populate the relevant fields on the invoice. Meanwhile, select the product and input the number of units, amount of taxes and discount.

  • As you generate your invoice, preview it in real-time. This allows you to see how the document will look to the client. 

  • Once the document is ready, you can simply hit send, and it is delivered through the client's email address on file. 

  • Once the customer receives the invoice in their inbox, they can click pay and be directed to the checkout page. Here, they can choose a wallet linked to their browser from a list. 

  • By clicking on the wallet, they are directed to sign the transaction and pay the amount stipulated on the invoice. They also have the option of scanning a QR code.

  • After the payment is completed, the vendor and the customer can download the invoice in a PDF form for physical filing if needed.  

Advantages of Super

Super offers its users many advantages. The following are the most notable:

  • Automate much of the process of using crypto to make payments. In particular, users do not need to manually input the wallet address.

  • The platform supports close to ten different blockchains. The list includes Ethereum, Polygon, Tron, BNB Chain, Solana, Avalanche and Arbitrum through Super.

  • It is integrated with Stripe, PayPal, and Checkout, which allows it to process fiat payments in addition to crypto.

  • Once an invoice is sent, you receive notifications regarding how the client interacts with it. In particular, you will get notifications when the email is delivered, the checkout is opened, and payment is made. Indeed, the dashboard has a timeline for activities that happen to the sent invoice.

  • After the payment has been made, you receive its transaction hash as a link you can click to get the information about the transaction through the block explorer.

  • You can share the invoice in a text message, such as WhatsApp, using a link.

  • You can set and automate reminders to the client at the point of invoice generation.

  • Links from the PDF copy of the invoice that lead to the checkout page on the Super portal.

It is still the early days of crypto invoicing. As the blockchain ecosystem evolves, so will how shoppers pay their invoices with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

According to a survey carried out by the accounting firm Deloitte and the online payment service provider PayPal in 2021, about 85% of merchants in the US expect the use of cryptocurrencies as media of exchange to be mainstream in five years. The reasons that merchants are choosing to accept crypto are many, and the list includes:

  • Lower transaction fees

  • Faster transactions

  • No chargebacks

  • Attracting a new customer base

  • Transacting across borders

  • Transparency

  • Improved customer experience

  • Giving a brand a cutting-edge look

Initially, businesses accepting crypto payments had to rely on Web2 solutions to invoice. A typical way to do crypto invoicing in Web2 involves opening a form, manually filling in the details, opening multiple tabs to collect critical information, such as the wallet address, and then downloading it as a PDF document to be emailed. 

On the other end, when the client receives and downloads the invoice, they have to copy the wallet address and paste it into their wallet on another tab to initiate a transfer.

Meanwhile, the merchant has to either request updates about the payment from the client through a different channel, or keep refreshing their wallet application to see if there is a balance change.

After the transaction is completed, the client and the merchant must manually input the data on the invoice into their respective accounting systems. 

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a document that a merchant or vendor creates and sends to a buyer after the delivery of goods and services as a formal request to settle the due payment. 

In some cases, the invoice is sent before the services or goods are delivered, or it accompanies them, and when this is the case, the document is known as a proforma invoice.

Details contained in the invoice


The invoice document is usually clearly labelled ‘invoice’ and has a unique sequential identifier systematically printed on it. This unique identifier is added to make tracking and retrieving transactions in the invoicing or accounting systems convenient. 

Other critical details contained in an invoice include:

  • The date the invoice is generated

  • An itemised list of services or products purchased

  • Unit prices of the listed items

  • Total amount owed

  • Discounts allowed 

  • Shipping costs

  • Tax to be paid

  • Payment terms 

  • Account or wallet address details

  • Payment due date

  • Address of the seller

  • Address of the buyer

  • Company logo

Why invoices are issued

Invoices have been used in commerce for thousands of years. The reason why this document remains relevant is that it serves critical functions in commercial transactions. 

The following are the critical functions of an invoice:

A means of communication—An invoice is one of the channels through which counterparties in a commercial transaction communicate formally. Through this document, the merchant or vendor records what they have supplied, the amount owed to them, where the payment should be sent, and the payment terms.

A timestamped record—An invoice proves that a transaction was initiated and indeed took place. It records details of such a transaction, particularly the specific products or services delivered, the amount paid, and the critical dates of the transaction. This information is useful for accounting, inventory control, and taxation purposes. 

Leverage for internal control— The purchase order and invoice are two critical tools a business uses to control costs. The customer creates the first as part of formal approval for spending, and the latter is generated by the merchant as proof of money owed after supplying. Both also form part of an accounting system that has checks and balances. 

Invoicing system before computers

Different societies have had different ways of generating and using the invoice document. What has informed how this document is used has mostly been the level of complexity in commerce transactions and the available technology. 

For example, the ancient Mesopotamians used to print business contracts on clay tablets. While these documents may not be exactly the same as modern invoices, they carried similar information for the same purposes. They indicated the identities of counterparties in transactions, items exchanged, and how much debt was owed as a result. 

It is difficult to pinpoint when exactly in the history of human society that the document we know today as an invoice started to be used. We could, however, assume that some form of it was widely used by the time the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli published the first works on the double-entry bookkeeping system in the late 15th century.

The adoption of the invoice, alongside other accounting source documents such as checks, receipts, bills of sale, debit notes, and purchase orders, picked up on a larger scale during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. 

The paper invoices that have been used since that time usually come in booklets that you can buy from a local stationery store, supermarket, or online store. The paper invoice is filled in duplicates as the business needs to keep a copy for internal record keeping. 

While the paper invoice revolutionised commerce, it has its shortcomings. 

That includes its slow transmission and the need for a significant physical space to file and store them, especially when it is a major business in question. 

There are also challenges in retrieval, and a significant amount of manual work has to go into consulting and reconciling the documents with other accounting source documents.   

The Web2 Invoices

In Web1, beginning in the 1960s, businesses embraced Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) protocols. This computer-to-computer system facilitates the transfer of business documents, including purchase orders and invoices, using a standard electronic format. 

Instead of having to mail or fax a purchase order or invoice, a business could generate and send it from its internal computer system. 

Using established connectivity, this electronic document went directly to the supplier's or client's internal computer system. Therefore, there was little need for a human to manually input the data. 

Nevertheless, the businesses still needed to exchange the physical documents for legal reasons and process payments through separate channels. Also, this solution was available mostly only to major corporations and hardly to small and medium-sized enterprises. 

It is also important to point out that the user interface was mostly highly technical for the ordinary user, especially as command line codes had to be used to key in and interact with data.

The Web1 had little impact on accounting systems until 1998 when Quickbooks was brought into the market by Intuit, a company founded in 1983 by Scott Cook and Tom Proulx and best known until that time for Quicken, a personal financial management software. 

QuickBooks was the first Web2 accounting system, and it managed to bring most of the transactions and business activities undertaken on a daily routine, including generating invoices, onto a single dashboard on a computer screen. 

The business could now generate invoices, send them to customers, and collect payment in the same system. The system also automated activities like recurring invoices and reconciliation of financial records.

Beginning in 2001, with the launch of QuickBooks Online, businesses could have their financial records in cloud storage. That meant installing the accounting software on a desktop was unnecessary, and the system could be accessed from anywhere as long as one had an internet connection.

Web2 accounting and invoicing systems offer users real-time software updates, user-friendly interfaces, and automated document capture capabilities.

Besides invoice generation (sales management), the Web2 solutions could offer inventory, purchases, payroll, and payment management. And all this could be reconciled with a few clicks.

The research and consulting firm Gartner forecasts that the value of the global financial management software market will reach $24.4 billion by 2026. The other notable Web2 accounting and invoice management systems include: 

  • FreshBooks,

  • Square,

  • Invoice Ninja,

  • Invoice Simple and

  • Zoho.

Crypto invoicing Challenges in Web2

Web2 invoicing solutions fail in several critical areas, especially because they were not designed with crypto in mind, which happens to be the backbone of Web3.  

The following are some of the challenges businesses that accept crypto as payment face when using the Web2 invoicing systems:

  • Having to juggle between multiple tabs when generating and paying the invoice.

  • Having to manually input critical data with the risk of making errors. For example, the vendor and client must manually copy and paste the wallet address.

  • A difficult process of verifying payment, including having to manually search through the blockchain explorer.

  • Challenges in capturing crypto payments in the accounting systems.

  • Inability to support many cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks.

Crypto invoicing in Web3

Web3 is the internet built on blockchain technology and, as a result, is decentralised, meaning much control is in the hands of communities of users and less with mega-corporations.

The primary characteristics of Web3 include:

The use of crypto — the launch of Bitcoin in 2009 was the beginning of Web3. Much of the commercial interaction in Web3 is being facilitated by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Decentralised back end— The blockchain, the technology that underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has developed capacity over time to support as a backend most of the other applications available in Web2 and new ones. For example, blockchain supports domain registration, decentralised Finance (DeFi) and decentralised anonymous organisations (DAOs), which are entire organisations built on the blockchain using smart contracts.  

Peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions—In Web3, users have more tools to transact directly with one another. In Web3, counterparties do not have to use trusted intermediaries. 

Use of smart contracts—These protocols are designed to guide and execute transactions between human and machine counterparties. This requires programmable money, which cryptocurrencies are. 

While blockchain is heralding a new form of the internet, businesses and entrepreneurs still need to formally communicate transaction activities for internal filing and legal requirements. 

The invoice is still a relevant document in web3 for those purposes.

The benefits of crypto invoicing in Web3

Solutions have been designed to meet the unique needs of crypto invoicing. The following are some of the benefits merchants get from using crypto invoicing solutions designed for Web3:

For the vendor or merchant:

  • Enabling the invoice generation from a single tab on your computer screen.

  • Picking the wallet address to add to the invoice from a drop-down menu reduces the chances of making errors.

  • Support for multiple blockchains and cryptocurrencies alongside fiat payment solutions.

  • Ability to automatically send the invoice to the email address added to the document.

  • Notifications on the client's activity, including email opening and payment.

  • A link to the blockchain explorer for easy verification of payment made.

  • Integration of crypto payments with the accounting systems alongside fiat payment solutions.

For the client:

  • Being able to pay directly from the opened invoice email

  • Not needing to copy and paste the wallet address; instead, being able to scan a QR code or be automatically sent to a browser extension wallet.

  • Access to a wide range of cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks to use to pay, in addition to fiat options. 

Super is one of the leading crypto invoicing solutions that merchants can use to generate invoices and accept payments in both crypto and fiat.

How Super works and its advantages

Super is more than just a crypto invoicing system. It is the front end of a payment and accounting system designed to make the work of enterprises adopting Web3 easier.

How do you create a crypto invoice on Super?

  • Sign up to access a dashboard to create client profiles, add products, generate invoices, accept payments, and maintain transaction records. 

  • Create profiles and add details of regular customers into the system to make it easy to generate invoices, as you can select them from a drop-down list. 

  • When you add the clients to an invoice using their email addresses, the rest of their details are pulled from the system. These include company name, customer name and contact details.

  • Adding products into the system, especially the primary ones. This saves time when generating invoices. You do not need to manually input the product details when generating an invoice.

  • Add blockchains on which you want to accept payments. The platform supports digital currencies on blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon, Tron, BNB Chain, Solana, Avalanche and Arbitrum through Super.

  • From the selected blockchains, generate and add a list of wallet addresses you want to accept payment. Just like with customer profiles and products, Super allows you to add many wallet addresses into the system beforehand so that you only need to select from the list when generating invoices.  

  • Start building an invoice by clicking on create new invoice. Select the client, and if you already have them in the system, their details are pulled to populate the relevant fields on the invoice. Meanwhile, select the product and input the number of units, amount of taxes and discount.

  • As you generate your invoice, preview it in real-time. This allows you to see how the document will look to the client. 

  • Once the document is ready, you can simply hit send, and it is delivered through the client's email address on file. 

  • Once the customer receives the invoice in their inbox, they can click pay and be directed to the checkout page. Here, they can choose a wallet linked to their browser from a list. 

  • By clicking on the wallet, they are directed to sign the transaction and pay the amount stipulated on the invoice. They also have the option of scanning a QR code.

  • After the payment is completed, the vendor and the customer can download the invoice in a PDF form for physical filing if needed.  

Advantages of Super

Super offers its users many advantages. The following are the most notable:

  • Automate much of the process of using crypto to make payments. In particular, users do not need to manually input the wallet address.

  • The platform supports close to ten different blockchains. The list includes Ethereum, Polygon, Tron, BNB Chain, Solana, Avalanche and Arbitrum through Super.

  • It is integrated with Stripe, PayPal, and Checkout, which allows it to process fiat payments in addition to crypto.

  • Once an invoice is sent, you receive notifications regarding how the client interacts with it. In particular, you will get notifications when the email is delivered, the checkout is opened, and payment is made. Indeed, the dashboard has a timeline for activities that happen to the sent invoice.

  • After the payment has been made, you receive its transaction hash as a link you can click to get the information about the transaction through the block explorer.

  • You can share the invoice in a text message, such as WhatsApp, using a link.

  • You can set and automate reminders to the client at the point of invoice generation.

  • Links from the PDF copy of the invoice that lead to the checkout page on the Super portal.

It is still the early days of crypto invoicing. As the blockchain ecosystem evolves, so will how shoppers pay their invoices with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.