It seems like everywhere you turn lately there’s another story about bitcoin. If you’re
thinking about entering this digital currency trading market, there are several steps you can take to do so. Learn more about bitcoin, how it got started, and why you might want to use your smartphone to jump in right now.
What Is Bitcoin?
A bitcoin started out as one unit of an anonymous digital currency created by an unknown person or group of people using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. It began as something similar to an unhackable and untraceable version of PayPal. Today you can use bitcoin to buy furniture from Overstock, book a hotel on Expedia, and even purchase a sandwich at Subway franchises in Buenos Aires. However, not only is bitcoin a currency, it’s also a commodity, and most people get excited about buying and selling it as a way to make money.
In fact, in the first week of December 2017, one bitcoin was equal to $15,327.70. Yet
just a week earlier, one coin was worth $12,000. Just keep in mind that while bitcoins
can have significant gains from week to week, it’s also a speculative investment, so it
can have massive losses from one week to the next as well.
Is it Possible to Mine Bitcoins?
One way that some people can get bitcoins is by mining them. Since bitcoins are a digital currency, this isn’t like going into a gold mine and coming out with a tangible product. Also, while it sounds like a way to print your own money, the price to mine bitcoin is so high, it’s nearly impossible to do so.
First, you need access to a collection of very powerful supercomputers to solve complex mathematical problems. Second, you also need access to an incredible amount of electricity. In fact, one estimate says that mining bitcoins currently uses as much energy as all of Denmark.
How to Buy Bitcoin
Since mining your own bitcoin likely isn’t possible, you might be wondering how you can get in on the action. The easiest way is to get your own bitcoin wallet. There are various apps and websites that offer bitcoin wallets, but the most important aspect you need to look for when you’re choosing a wallet is to make sure it’s secure. The most popular app for buying and selling bitcoin is Coinbase. Once you download the app, you simply agree to the terms of service and create an account.
After you create your account, you’ll see a screen that shows you bitcoin’s performance over the past day. Seeing all the spikes and plunges will give you a good idea of just how volatile this digital currency is. After this page, you’ll have an opportunity to finish setting up your account. This is where you’ll add your payment method.
While linking a credit or debit card gives you instant access to buying, you can only purchase $150 in bitcoin a week. If you choose to link a bank account, you’ll have to wait up to five days to trade, but you also get higher buying limits. Once that’s done, you simply type in how much bitcoin you want to buy and complete the transaction.
If you use one of the latest smartphones, like the iPhone 8 on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, the process of signing up for a bitcoin account is fast and simple, so you can quickly start buying your own digital currency.
How to Sell Bitcoin
If you’re using the Coinbase app and you’re ready to sell your bitcoin, you can use the same app. Simply go to the Sell screen and type in the amount of bitcoin you’d like to sell and the wallet from which you'd like to sell. Next, select the bank account or wallet you want your money deposited into. Once that’s done, you just tap the Sell Bitcoin button, and the money will be deposited into the account you selected. It typically takes a few days for the deposit to clear.
If you’re interested in buying and selling bitcoin, use your smartphone and follow these
steps to get started today.
Image by NYMag.com