So you want to buy some Bitcoin. This guide will show you where to buy Bitcoin in a safe and reliable way.
You can buy Bitcoins from either exchanges or direct from people.
To date it can still be a cumbersome task to purchase Bitcoin using cash or credit debit cards depending who you are buying from. This is because these transactions can be reversed at the drop of a hat, Since its really hard to prove there was an exchange of goods most people refuse to use these options.
However in some countries these methods are starting to become easier and more reliable due to websites like CoinBase and Circle who accept credit cards. Bittylicious, LocalBitcoins and CoinCorner are great examples in the UK.
First, get yourself a Bitcoin wallet.
After you buy your bitcoins you will need somewhere secure to keep them. You keep them in a ‘wallet’ but its easier to think of it as a bank account.
The main types of wallets are:
- A software wallet stored on your computer / mobile.
- A online web wallet.
- A vault service (offline wallet).
No wallet is 100% secure and most have some form of vulnerability but there are simple steps you can take to limit the risks. If you have a wallet on your computer make sure to make backups of your wallet onto a USB stick or external HDD just incase your computer becomes corrupt. Online wallets are always at risk from hackers so i tend not to have large quantities of any coin in an online wallet and where available i use 2FA (Two factor Authentication) to give an extra barrier between hackers and my coins. Vault services and paper wallets are at risk of being misplaced and more, If you print a paper wallet make sure you keep it in a fireproof safe.
Word of warning on Exchanges and wallets
Even though you are required to verify yourself on most exchanges / services they do not offer the same protection as a bank, for example your coins are not insured (unless specifically stated again) against exchanges going bankrupt or hacked, such was the case with MtGox.
Bitcoin does not have a legal status in most of the world in the eyes of the law and authorities don’t usually know how to approach thefts, like in the case of Syscoin Vs Moolah LTD which is still ongoing.
Next, Lets buy some Bitcoin
Personally when i want bitcoin i use Bittylicious. I find their service quick and easy to use.
After verification you simply enter the amount of Bitcoin you want and send a Bank Transfer to the given account / sort code, making sure the reference they give you is included too! and before you know it your Bitcoins are in your wallet. The fastest experience I’ve had with this was in under 5 minutes and the longest part was logging into my online bank to make the payment.
Lets touch on ‘Mining’
You may have heard you can make your own Bitcoins using your computer. That was possible until not so long ago but due to the popularity of Bitcoin and increase if difficulty its now almost impossible to mine Bitcoin without the use of external hardware such as ASICs.
Another option is ‘cloud mining’, where you can mine Bitcoins without a large outlay in expensive hardware, A user pays a company to use their datacenter and hardware to mine on their behalf.
What are these Bitcoin ATM’s that keep popping up?
Like a regular ATM they provide a fast and convenient way to buy bitcoin, some with the ability to buy bitcoin back from you and give out hard cash like a ATM.
You insert your cash and scan your QR code for your wallet and the bitcoin is sent to your wallet but beware you are paying an additional 3-8% on top of the market price for the convenience.
You can find a list of ATM locations from this Bitcoin ATM Map or via various mobile apps on various app stores.
Purchasing Bitcoin is not always as easy as you think but it does get easier everyday, Some options don’t even require a wallet or internet access, Other ideas include Bitcoin Debit Cards, Physical Coins and Store Cards.
Crypto currency is still in its infancy stage and we can expect to see a lot more services from the Bitcoin community in the future.
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