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It feels like all I’ve done this year is complain about the weather and talk about cryptocurrency. In this weird pandemic world, I am just grateful that we have had something to talk about and keep us busy. But what do you do if you decide that you want to buy bitcoin?
First up, a disclaimer. This is not financial advice. I’m not telling you to buy bitcoin. This is educational, so if you’ve made the decision you know where to go to do exactly that. Secondly, all crypto is highly volatile. This means it goes up and down a lot. You could lose all the money you put in, so exercise extreme catution.
Now if reading blog posts isn’t your thing and you’d rather watch the video. Then I’ve got you. Check out my YouTube video on this topic, complete with a demonstration of the app, I’ll talk about later.
What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money. It is best described as digital cash. Although, most of our money exchanges these days are done via cards and managed online, they still require a lot of infrastructure to make these transactions take place.
This is typically done through banks. You need a bank account with a card, and the person or organisation you want to pay needs a bank and an account in which to receive the money. This is where cryptocurrency is a little different. You don’t need the bank. Or the account. It is like handing someone cash. It goes straight to them rather than through this complicated system.
What this means is that it makes it very easy to exchange money worldwide because you don’t need to worry about different banks accepting different currencies and having the capabilities to process them. If I want to send you 1 bitcoin (not happening btw), I can send it straight to you.
What is blockchain technology?
Now I’m not going to pretend that I completely understand this, but my husband told me that it has the potential to change the world in the same way that the internet did. So I’m doing my best to pay attention.
Essentially, it is a digital record. It records all the transactions or the history of that item and it is nearly impossible to change. If anyone tries to hack or change that record, then it will be immediately apparent that this has happened. This makes it really secure and has a whole world of real-life applications.
Cryptocurrency is the first example of its use. It means that as coins change hands a record is stored of who owns it and who has owned it in the past. Therefore, your crypto currencies will be linked to you until you decide to pass them on. Pretty safe right?
The History of Bitcoin
Bitcoin was made in 2009 by someone that goes by the name Satoshi Nakamoto although this is consider to be a pseudonym. There are 21 million butcoins available, but to date only around 19 million of them have been mined.
The total market cap (meaning total value of all the bitcoin) peaked at over $1 trillion in 2021 with each worth over $60,000. The price has varied a lot since then, but it is still one of the top ten most valuable assets in the world. Overtaking Facebook and Tesla.
It is largely considered to be the first cryptocurrency and the first use of blockchain technology. This is a significant contributor to its success.
Where can you use Bitcoin?
Tesla is probably the most talked about in this regard. Famously accepting payment for their cars in bitcoin, and then deciding that they wouldn’t anymore. But there are other companies that continue to accept Bitcoin as payment:
Via a company called BitPay, you can use bitcoin to pay for gift cards for a whole range of high street shops and restaurants, including Tesco, Asda, Foot Locker, Wagamama’s and Caffe Nero.
How to use Coinbase to buy bitcoin
First up, you need to sign up to Coinbase. If you use this link, you will get an additional £7 ish of bitcoin when you buy or sell approximately £70 of any cryptocurrency. From here, you will have to complete the sign up process which is simple enough. This will include entering your personal details, and passing some ID checks.
In order to invest in bitcoin, or any cryptocurrency on the platform, you will need to connect a payment card and make your first deposit. This can be as little as £10. From there, you can follow the steps below:
- From the home page, you should be able to select bitcoin from the watchlist. (For other assets press the blue button to choose from a list.)
2. This will take you to the main bitcoin page. It will give you some information about the current price and any bitcoin you currently have. Click the trade button, select buy, and enter the amount you want.
3. Finally, you will have a chance to review your order, before clicking buy now.
Other platforms where you can buy Bitcoin
There are lots of other platforms out there that allow you to buy bitcoin. I’ll do reviews on these in time too I’m sure. For now, you might want to check out the following, if you fancy an alternative to Coinbase:
- Coinbase Pro| – for those that are more experienced in the world of trading and cryptocurrencies.
- eToro – get if you already have an account with them. They also have access to the stock market for investing in stocks and funds too.
- Zumo – a UK based crypto wallet and payments platform
- Binance – another popular choice amongst those investing in cryptocurrencies.