I'm not writing this article to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon and get some page views while the topic is hot.
I'm writing because I see a lot of people wanting to get involved with it, and they don't know what to do, and some are getting sucked into scams.
I am not here to tell you whether it's a good investment strategy or not. But, if you decide you want to get involved, here's my experience.
So you're aware, I personally purchased some Bitcoin before the recent price spike, and I also own a couple of other crypto currencies. I love the technology behind it, and I am bullish on the future of the technology being used more and more for transacting, and as a store of wealth. I am not predicting the future price of Bitcoin though.
The technology the coins are based on is amazing. I am a big believer in it, and love transacting with crypto currencies. I won't bore you with the technical details. If you want to chat about it, give me a call.
This is written for people who are not technically minded and don't know the difference between a blockchain and a neckchain. If you already have a great understanding of Bitcoin, you won't learn anything new here.
What not to do.
DO NOT sign up for a company called USITech or USI-Tech. They are a scam. It's a very obvious ponzi scheme. They make claims that they're engaging in bitcoin mining, trading, etc. But no evidence exists of any such activity. One of the founders has already been banned from running businesses in Portugal, and the company is based in Dubai, with a Chinese phone number that doesn't get answered. As long as they keep signing up new people, they'll be able to pay people who signed up sooner. But there are HEAPS of scammers out there taking advantage of people who say "bitcoin" on the news, and want to get in, but don't understand it. Some people will make money, but the ones left holding the bag will suffer. It's very easy just to buy some bitcoin yourself if you want to be exposed to it.
There are many others that are running around trying to get your money right now too. Be very careful. If you're unsure, you should probably stick to simply buying Bitcoin yourself (see below).
What TO do.
So you want to buy some bitcoin. Maybe just a few hundred bucks to see what happens.
Sign up for a service called Coinbase. Here's a link that will give you a bonus $10 once you've traded. https://www.coinbase.com/join/5333c19737f789f98a000d71
I will also get $10.
This company is very reputable. And they are insured.
You can only buy with a credit card.
Australians can't sell their Bitcoins on Coinbase. So when you decide you don't want your bitcoins (BTC) any more, you will want to transfer them to another platform. See below.
Coinbase will set a small limit on how much you can buy each week. This is because it's easy to make a credit card purchase, transfer out your bitcoins, then cancel the transaction, leaving them screwed. They will also charge 4% (or higher for tiny amounts). 4% is well worth it, as their price is substantially cheaper, often, than the Australian exchanges.
You'll need your ID handy, and they'll also put two tiny charges to your credit card to verify your card is legit.
If you want to buy a lot more than what Coinbase will allow you, you need to sign up for one of these two platforms as well (you still want Coinbase as they're so much cheaper to buy from). I have found them both to be reliable. They are Australian based and owned.
These services do not sell you bitcoin the way Coinbase does. They are exchanges. Which means you're buying and selling Bitcoin (and other currencies) with other people directly, and just paying these sites a small commission. This means the price may be different on each platform, and certainly different to Coinbase.
Take a look at their fees, and familiarise yourself with their platforms to make sure you're comfortable with what you're doing.
Some things to remember.
You don't have to buy a full bitcoin. You can buy $2 worth if you want.
Bitcoin is not a company. No-one owns it as such. It is a way of communicating value, with a network that registers each transaction to prevent fraud. You can store your bitcoins in what is called a wallet offline, or if you trust Coinbase, you can leave them there. (Coinbase are insured for what it's worth.) Spend some time on Google, Reddit, and talk to people you trust, if you want more of a technical understanding of what it is. The nightly news is not a great place to learn about it.
The world is going nuts over Bitcoin right now. Coinbase is absolutely swamped with people signing up. So be patient if you need to contact their customer support.