How to Get Bitcoins – Cryptocurrency Beginner’s Guide

Bitcoin investors and supporters believe that virtual currency is a great investment.  The Bitcoin system was introduced in 2009 by an unknown person or group of people under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto.  Bitcoins’ peer to peer technology allows money to be transferred from one individual to another without the need for a third party.  Transactions are completed using “wallet” software through PCs and smartphones and are recorded publically.

The interest in Bitcoin and its popularity continues to rise in spite of – and perhaps, because of – intriguing market volatility.  Because it’s volatile, the cycle of highs and lows can almost be anticipated, creating a broad swath of “buy low, sell high” opportunity.  We’re talking Gold Rush here! So you want to get in on the action? O.K. Here’s a brief primer on “How to Get Bitcoins.”

Get a Wallet

The first thing you’ll need to get Bitcoins is a Bitcoin Wallet.  A Bitcoin wallet allows for secure global transactions between individuals by combining the use of public and private keys.  Your public key enables others to send you Bitcoins, and your private key allows you to send Bitcoins to others.

Online:  You can create a web wallet online that runs in your web browser.   GreenAddress is the most used and recommended. There are surprisingly few options for web wallets as compared to Mobile Apps.  

Hardware:  An external hardware wallet stores private keys outside of the internet so it is not at risk to hackers, is immune to viruses that can plague software wallets and can be used interactively (unlike a paper wallet which must be imported to software).  Some to choose from include Trezor, Ledger, Digital Bitbox, etc.

Software:  Based on computer software, these wallets can be accessed from your computer desktop, smartphone, and the web.  An extensive selection exists for software wallets including Copay, Jaxx, Blockchain, and Coinbase.

Paper:  Often recommended for Bitcoin newbies, especially those used to using cash and credit cards, a paper wallet mirrors the feel of these physical transactions.  It is also more (or less) secure than digital wallets depending on the skills of its keeper. Paper wallets cannot be subject to a computer hacker, but human error can also impact loss and theft.

Get Bitcoins

There are basically three ways to get Bitcoins:  Buy, Earn and Mine.

Buy:  Of all the options, buying is the fastest, easiest way to get any cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin.   You can choose to purchase Bitcoins through Escrow or Exchanges. The main difference between the two is the type of methods of payment they will accept.   

Escrow

Escrow is usually the preferred method by far the quickest as the whole process takes about 10 minutes and you will have the coins in your wallet the same day *usually.  There is a fee though, outside of the market value, for each transaction. It is also used less, so if you want to buy Bitcoins from someone lesser known or lesser traded Bitcoins, you’ll have to use an exchange.  Payments are allowed by bank transfer, cash in person, Pingit (Barclay’s mobile app), Western Union and many others.

Exchanges

Wire transfer is the only method of payment accepted.  This is from one bank to another via a third party such as Coinbase, Indacoin, Kraken, LocalBitcoins, SpectroCoin, and many others.

Earn:  Outside of buying, you can use Bitcoin to get Bitcoins by earning them.

Payments

“Bitcoin Accepted Here!”  It’s easy to accept Bitcoins as payment for products or services.  Just add the option at your point of sale, on invoices or online. Use QR Codes, touch screen Apps at POS or a Bitcoin merchant tool online. (link?)  

Free Bitcoins!  

Advertisers will pay websites which in turn pay you in Bitcoin to click and browse.  The longer you peruse, the more impact the adverting is likely to have. While businesses are willing to lure you with claims of Bitcoin riches, earner beware; What you are giving is your invaluable time.  While this isn’t a “get Bitcoin rich” scheme, it is a great introductory tool as you learn how Bitcoin works.

Interest

Interest Payments from lending Bitcoins can be paid in Bitcoins.   Websites that offer lending services include Bitbond, BitLendingClub, BTCjam and many more.   

Income

Explore how earnings from your job income can be made in Bitcoins.  Although Bitcoin payments are still catching on with employers, the self-employed have more digital currency paying options.  Check out Working for Bitcoins, Coinality and BitGigs.

Gambling

Although a risky way to earn them, you can now take your gambling winnings in Bitcoins.

Mine:

Bitcoins are created as a reward for an advanced process known as mining.  Mining requires an understanding of the blockchain and how to repeatedly group newly broadcast transactions into a block.  The successful miner finds the new block and is rewarded with newly created Bitcoins and transaction fees. As of January 2018, 16.7 million Bitcoins were currently available.  

Bitcoin’s inventor(s) set a limit on the number of Bitcoins that would ever be available at 21 million to be reached at or near the year 2140.  Until then, successful miners can be rewarded for the creation of new Bitcoins with Bitcoins. After this limit is reached, the earnings will be paid in transactions fees only.

Conclusion

Even with risk, more and more people are using decentralized cryptocurrencies because they have allowed us to take back control of our monetary decisions without traditional third-party manipulation.  And they enable global transactions in a matter of minutes, securely and safely. Your considerations of privacy, speed, volume, etc. should dictate the ways you choose to obtain, store and use your Bitcoins.  Whether you decide to efficiently buy, enjoy earning, or dare to delve into the intricacies of mining Bitcoins, there are numerous and rapidly growing choices. Good luck!

How to Get Bitcoins
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