Satoshi Nakamoto started a monetary revolution when the pseudonymous person published their whitepaper in October 2008. This gave birth to the first digital currency the world has seen, forever changing how we view money, currency, and the things we can buy with it.
Bitcoin is a form of decentralized digital currency that can be bought and exchanged through the Internet, is validated by miners and stored in the form of a decentralized public ledger called the blockchain.
It’s a modern alternative to the current monetary system where Fiat money is used to buy services or goods. Unlike the monetary system that’s in place now, no government or central bank has control over the flow of distribution and the record of transactions of Bitcoins. Instead, everyone who participates in the system gets to keep a copy of the ledger.
Bitcoins are not issued, distributed or made by any central bank. It doesn’t have a physical body. There’s no actual bitcoin that you can touch because these coins are made through a computer-generated process called mining. When you say that you own bitcoins, what you really have is the right to access a specific bitcoin address record in the ledger called blockchain and send funds from it to another.
There are several ways that you can buy bitcoin. Their website simplifies it by giving three options: through bitcoin exchange sites, browsing a peer-to-peer or P2P directory, and using a Bitcoin ATM. Each one offers different levels of convenience and speed so you can check them out and pick which one suits your preference.
Exchange sites lets you buy bitcoins with your bank accounts or debit and credit cards. It’s as easy as inputting your financial details and clicking a magic button. When you use your bank account, it can take a few days before you receive your bitcoins because of the confirmation process and whatnot.
If you opt to buy using your debit and credit cards, you will receive your purchase faster in a matter of a few minutes for a price. The fee is higher for this method but you get it instantly without waiting for days. It’s best to take note of this since the price of bitcoin swings every day and can change drastically. So chances are, by the time you receive the bitcoins you purchased 5 days earlier, they might not have the same price they had when you bought them. If you want to buy your bitcoins quickly because the price is low then you might want to consider this factor.
One exchange site you should check out is BTCXE. Aside from letting you buy bitcoins, it also acts as a BTC to Fiat currency calculator. It lets you know instantly how much bitcoins are worth in 21 major currencies including Euros, Indian Rupee, and Japanese Yen. Additionally, you can save your conversion/rate anytime so when you come back to make another transaction, you won’t have to input the same information.
You can search and go over various sellers of bitcoin in Peer-to-Peer or P2P directories and choose who to buy from. Sites like Bisq and BitQuick offers an open-source platform for cryptocurrency buyers and sellers to interact and make transactions with each other.
Of course, this entails a certain level of trust since you’re making exchanges with a person and not through a certified medium. Fortunately, seller reviews and feedback scores can help you in making a decision. The plus side of P2P directories is that the transaction happens instantaneously and usually for a lower transaction fee compared to exchanges.
Just like your local bank ATM, bitcoin ATMs are terminals where you can buy bitcoins with cash. Instead of using cards and bank accounts, all you need is the QR code of your wallet where your purchase will be transferred to. After the machine scans your code, you can then insert the amount of cash you want to exchange for bitcoins.
You can also use this machine to sell your bitcoin and receive cash in return. Here’s how it works: Choose the amount of cash you want to receive in exchange for some bitcoins. The machine prints out a QR code containing the amount you want to sell and the address where to transfer your bitcoin to. After confirming the transaction with your wallet, you’ll get a message saying your bitcoin is arriving at the machine. Scan the code to receive your cash. Sites like Coin ATM Radar lets you find the nearest bitcoin ATM that you can use for your convenience.
What makes bitcoin ATMs different from online exchange sites is that you won’t be required to give any personal details or bring out an ID. There’s also no bank involved. So if you don’t want your details stored in online exchanges then physical terminals are perfect for you.
So after purchasing your bitcoins, what do you do with them? Is it like the money you have in your bank account that you can use to buy stuff online? Can you use it to pay your morning coffee or late-night snack? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes.
Though bitcoin is yet to enter the mainstream mode of payment in the global playing field, it certainly has made itself known in the world of cryptocurrencies. Countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States have physical stores that accept payments with bitcoin. You can buy your next Subway sandwich just by scanning a QR code and hitting the send button.
So what can you do exactly with bitcoins? What makes it so special? Faster transfer is one answer. A different way of viewing bitcoin aside from a cryptocurrency is looking at it as a peer-to-peer payment system. Peer-to-peer means sharing one file or data from one peer to another through the use of the Internet. Since it does not have a physical form, all transactions made with bitcoins have to be processed digitally. This translates to cashless payments that happen in a matter of seconds. This is one edge bitcoin has over traditional methods of payment such as bank transfers, which take several business days to be verified.
In the case of cryptocurrencies, all transfers that happen between two users happen in cyberspace because of their entirely digital nature. Unlike bank transfers that takes five to seven business days, transferring funds with bitcoin only takes seconds. What makes this possible is the magic of the Internet. Banks existed way before the Internet was established and their process tends to be a little dated.
Aside from transferring money within seconds, bitcoin also lets you use it as payment in buying goods and services. Microsoft, for example, now lets you redeem bitcoin and deposit funds to your Microsoft account. In that way, you can use bitcoin to buy their products. Other huge retailers that accept bitcoin as payment include Starbucks and Whole Foods.
But what makes bitcoin shine like the golden coin that it is, is its way of making online transactions easier and cheaper. Without the need for middlemen, the cost of items is cut and in some shopping sites, you even get a bitcoin cashback for every purchase you make. Other ways include bitcoin mining, doing micro-tasks with micro-earnings, visiting bitcoin faucet sites, investing and trading in the bitcoin market, and offering your skills in exchange for bitcoin.
1. Bitcoin Mining
Mining bitcoin is the process of creating bitcoins that requires extensive knowledge of hashing and a specialized equipment called Bitcoin miner. This computer hardware supplies the computing power you need to mine and it performs the mathematical operations which in turn creates bitcoins.
Mining for Bitcoins is the most profitable of all options since you’re guaranteed to receive bitcoins after contributing to the blockchain. It does require a lot of time, some expensive specialized equipment, and a lot of money to pay off your skyrocketing electric bill.
This method is comparably smaller in scale in terms of effort compared to bitcoin mining. For micro-earnings, all you need to do is complete a bunch of micro-tasks such as viewing ads on sites, answering surveys, playing games, etc. The payoff is smaller, but this is probably the most secure way of adding some numbers to your bitcoins.
Plenty of apps and sites offer this kind of exchange and one of the most popular is FeaturePoints. Earn points by answering surveys, downloading apps, etc. then you can claim rewards with those points including bitcoins.
Storm is another similar app where you complete tasks such as watching ads and playing games to receive bitcoins in your wallet. Another platform where you can earn bitcoins is Lolli. This bitcoin rewards application lets you earn bitcoins when you shop online by giving you cashback with every purchase.
3. Bitcoin Faucets
Bitcoin faucets are websites that reward you with satoshis in exchange for your time in viewing their sites. Satoshi is 0.00000001 bitcoin, which translates to one-hundredth of a millionth bitcoin. Those who own faucets sell on-site advertisements and these are what often greets you when opening a bitcoin faucet site.
In some sites, you can claim your rewards for set intervals such as every five minutes. In FreeBitcoin, one of the well-known faucets, you can drop by every hour and claim your bitcoin after playing a simple game. Moon Bitcoin gives you more freedom in collecting your rewards. You can leave your faucet for as long as you want and let the amount stack up before you come back and claim a relatively larger amount.
4. Bitcoin Investments and Trading
Probably the most famous way of increasing your bitcoin is by investing and trading it. You can hold onto your bitcoins and watch its price rise as the market grows. When the price skyrockets to a point that its value becomes substantial, you can then sell it and receive huge payouts in return.
It’s important to note that the volatility of this method is extremely high since the market can rise or drop any day. The prices of cryptocurrencies in the market remains unstable, with numbers fluctuating every minute or so.
If you’re into investing long-term then you can just leave your bitcoins be and watch how the market moves throughout a couple of days or years. If you want to trade and buy other cryptocurrencies available in the market, you’ll have to exchange them in sites such as BTCXE.
5. Working for Bitcoins
Another way of earning more bitcoins is promoting them via affiliate programs. Affiliates are those who promote certain websites for free and later on receive a commission after bringing in paying customers. Lots of bitcoin exchanges, products, and services have affiliate programs where you can enrol. As an affiliate, you’ll have your own unique link that you can share and promote to other people who could be viable clients.
It’s up to your own marketing style on how to promote the site’s products or services. You can reach out in social media platforms and post the links along with your own content. Youtube content creators often do this and put their affiliate links in their video descriptions.
Another way of earning bitcoin that leans more on the traditional side is by working for them. You can offer your skills and services to people who are looking to hire people just like you.
There are a lot of sites available on the Internet where you can scour for jobs and freelance work that pays in bitcoin. Check out Cointiply or the popular subreddit Jobs4Bitcoins for different job postings. So if you’re willing to do work in graphic design, proofreading, web design, video production and such in exchange for bitcoins, you know where to go.
As cryptocurrency enters the mainstream method of payment, ways of earning bitcoins only increases by the minute. It’s best to always be mindful of the risks that come with these money-making opportunities. Since bitcoin is still relatively new, these new ways of earning income can take a turn for the good or bad.