Welcome to Brave New Coin’s Bitcoin 101. First-timers, we’d like to introduce you to the wonderful world of cryptocurrency; where payment is frictionless, free and instantaneous, and pizza could cost you $5 million dollars (more on that later). Sections 1-6 will cover the essential things you need to know about Bitcoin.
To our experienced readers, welcome back. Sections 7-10 contain some more advanced ideas and fun trivia. Read up, get to know Bitcoin better, and discover how cryptocurrency could change the world. Let’s get started.
Bitcoins today are easy to trade. Companies like Coinbase, Circle, Xapo and Coinjar allow users to transfer money from their bank accounts to buy bitcoins or even buy them directly with a credit card. These companies offer a full suite of bitcoin services; from purchase, storage, and payment, making it easy for the average joe to pay for anything in bitcoin!
Bitcoin ATMs have also been created to allow people to buy & sell bitcoins via these machines. They can be found in cafes, malls and airports across the globe, with multiple ATM manufacturers such as Lamassu, Skyhook, and Robocoin.
Exchanges are another place where people can buy and sell bitcoins, however this is only one of their functions. Exchanges are also marketplaces where traders can speculate on bitcoin’s price and exchange bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies (altcoins). Exchanges such as Bitfinex even offer a selection of financial instruments for bitcoin, such as margin trading and liquidity swaps.
In the past, exchanges have had considerable difficulty maintaining the security of customer funds, the horror story being that of Mt. Gox, a Japanese bitcoin exchange which went from being the largest bitcoin exchange in the world to insolvent in under a year. Other exchanges have also had problems, but these are usually resolved quickly and without customers losing their money.
For anyone living in a city, sometimes the easiest way to buy Bitcoins is to find someone who wants to sell theirs. This kind of direct trading is called “Over the Counter”. LocalBitcoins is the place to go for this, helping you find someone selling bitcoin near you. Another place to try is the local Bitcoin community in your city, try finding them on meetup.com.
Always remember to exercise caution when buying anything from strangers. All the same precautions should be taken when you’re buying bitcoin to maintain your own safety and make sure you don’t get scammed.