How to Buy Bitcoins
Bitcoin can be bought at online bitcoin exchanges or directly from other users at bitcoin marketplaces either online or in person. You may use debit or credit cards to buy bitcoins as well as by wire transfer or even by using other types of cryptocurrencies. There are bitcoin ATMs in 3 cities in the UK and the projection for 2018 is that there will be many more to come in a number of other locations around the Country. Read on to learn more how to buy bitcoins, how to safely store, trade and mine bitcoins, how bitcoin may look in the future and what other types of cryptocurrencies are available.
How do I Buy Bitcoin?
Bitcoins are not currently as easy to get hold of as traditional currencies, but get hold of them you can, if you know where to look. They can be bought from online bitcoin brokers, exchanges and from private individual. There are also bitcoin 'meetups' announced online in which cryptocurrency fans meet to discuss matters related to bitcoin as well as buy and sell bitcoin.
The general advice for any meetup would be to meet in a public space such as a town square, perhaps under the glare of nearby security cameras, never meet at an individual's own home and always take the same precautions as you would when carrying money.
Storing your Bitcoins E-wallets, Cloud and Vaults
If we take bitcoin as analogous with traditional currencies, such as the pound, how we store our money is often dependent on how much of it we have. For example, ready cash is normally a smaller amount which we would not like to lose but probably would not make us cry if we did, is held in our wallets or purses, larger amounts are held in a current account, safe from being lost or stolen with significantly larger sums, if we are fortunate enough to have them, held in an account which has more restrictions on access to afford it greater security. With this in mind, there are three main tiers for holding bitcoin, as follows: Ewallet - an e-wallet is software downloaded to your device which then stores bitcoin. You might do well by carrying out regular backups in case the hard drive becomes corrupted. Bitcoin cloud - you may decide to hold your bitcoin in the cloud for safekeeping. Vault - for higher levels of protection, a 'vault' is a physical location in which your bitcoin can be held and kept offline until it is needed. The strategy here is to avoid the threat of cyber hacking by removing the connection hackers need to get at your bitcoin. Which method you use will depend upon the number of bitcoins you wish to hold and the level of security you wish to protect them.
A Word of Warning
Bitcoin exchanges do not provide the same level of protection as banks. There is often no liability on part of the exchange should the exchange be the victim of hacking. It may be difficult to recover your funds if you forget or lose your password, a scenario which may be considered analogous to losing traditional money; these things do happen. Large exchanges have replaced stolen funds when the exchanges themself have been subject to cyber hacking, although the law as it stands today places no obligation on these companies to do so, though not doing so would naturally result in a huge loss of confidence in that particular exchange. It is hoped that the law will develop in line with the rise of these companies but has not, as yet, done so. Many banks are still uncertain as to how to handle cryptocurrencies while others are actively trying to adapt to this relatively new phenomenon. A quick internet search of bitcoin friendly banks might reveal which banks are likely to assist you in bitcoin transaction, but always confirm with the bank itself that this is the case.
Local Bitcoin Traders
In large cities there may be a local trade in bitcoin. Again, an internet search by city and 'local bitcoins' should present a number of options as to where and when face-to face events take place. And here we would like to add a cautionary note, when meeting traders in person, always meet in a public place, preferably during daylight and in the full glare of security cameras, never go to an individual's private home and take the same precautions you would ordinarily take when carrying around large sums of money. If you are reluctant to carry out such trades, then there are also bitcoin meetups which are social events where traders and buyers meet up to exchange and even talk about all things bitcoin. It is also worth checking with the local authorities that such trades are legal in the area in which the meetup is taking place.
Bitcoin Mining: Can you mine your own bitcoins?
There were a little over 4 million bitcoins left to be mined at the beginning of 2018, approximately 80% of the total 21 million that will ever be issued are now in circulation. There are a number of companies which are dedicated to bitcoin mining which requires specific and costly hardware to carry out bitcoin mining (as well as producing a huge electricity bill). So, unless you are planning to set up a business dedicated to mining bitcoin, this will not be the option for you, certainly not with a home computer or comparable device of similar processing power. However, you may like to consider 'cloud mining'.
Cloud mining companies allow you to use their services to mine bitcoin on your behalf. They invest in the hardware and pay the utility bills and you pay for the bitcoins they mine for you. Once again, the internet should produce a list of cloud mining companies that can provide this service for you.
There are currently over a dozen Bitcoin ATMs in London and they are also present in Bristol and Coventry and it is likely that there will be more to come in the future up and down the country. You can pay in cash at these machines in exchange for bitcoins with a commission being charged on the initial transaction.
The Future of Bitcoin?
Although bitcoin has been subject to volatile fluctuations in value, this may stabilize in future as the markets and the law adapt to its relatively new and novedus presence and use. Further stability may come once the last bitcoin is mined exhausting all further supply of this currency. There are, now, many other cryptocurrencies available but bitcoin is perhaps the most well known and comparatively well established. There are proposals, too, for bitcoin debit cards, and bitcoin 'coins' with an inbuilt hard drive with your bitcoins inside it.
The legislature is, some commentators feel, waiting to see which way the wind blows before enacting law. Cryptocurrencies have no legal status nor legal protection. Will banks decide to go with the flow and join the revolution or rebel against it. Will governments decide to back the banks by refusing to regulate the fledgling industry or allow the market to continue to develop on its own. Many bitcoin users, which include many people who hold cryptocurrencies with almost religious reverence, would prefer governments not to legislate and some conservative thinkers, too, believe that a freer market will produce better results and services overall. The jury is still out on many of these issues, but what does seem certain is that bitcoin is here and is here to stay.
There are a number of other cryptocurrencies on the market today currently trading at a fraction of the price of bitcoin. Bitcoin competes with Ripple, Iota and many others. Nowadays many online casinos allow bitcoin deposits and withdrawals.
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