About two months ago, I began to notice a trend in my Facebook news feed:
More and more people were talking about getting on board the Bitcoin train, sharing resources, experiences, asking questions.
After seeing about the third post in a week, I decided that this was something I wanted to look into myself.
So far, I had been skeptical.
Even though I liked the idea of a currency that isn’t controlled by the banks and that could very well be the foundation of a new, freedom-based economy, when I first heard about Bitcoin back in 2012, I wasn’t sure whether this was really going to work as a means of trade for the masses in the long run.
Now, people all around me were talking about how they had decided to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a while ago, and how they were seeing great returns.
No doubt, looking at the statistics, the value of Bitcoin has increased pretty steadily since its creation in 2009, and rather dramatically since a whole lot more people began to invest at the beginning of this year.
So finally, I decided to put out my own “How do I get started?” post on Facebook the other weekend, received lots of helpful resources, and officially joined Coinbase this past weekend.
Ever since I began sharing my Bitcoin journey on Facebook, I’ve been getting lots of questions from friends who are interested in getting started as well, so I thought I’d write a quick blog to share what I’ve learned so far.
1. What Is Cryptocurrency?
As I already explained above, the idea behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is to provide a means of monetary trade that isn’t controlled by the banking system.
Cryptocurrencies are digital and decentralized, which means they are exchanged directly between users with no middleman, and aren’t limited to specific countries, but meant to be a worldwide means of exchange accessible to everyone.
Bitcoin is the original and most popular cryptocurrency. Some of the newer ones include Ethereum and Litecoin. Both of these have also increased in value significantly this year.
Ethereum is said to be the cryptocurrency with the most long-term potential by some (see resources below).
2. Where and How Do I Get Started?
One of the reasons I hesitated to invest in Bitcoin was that it all seemed really complicated to me and I had no idea how to get started.
There are lots of different exchange platforms and companies, and I wasn’t sure where to sign up.
What I know now is that it’s actually a lot more simple than I thought.
What’s important to know though is that not all companies are trustworthy, so it makes sense to do your research (ideally ask someone you know who already has some experience).
After getting some recommendations from friends who started investing in cryptocurrency a while ago, I decided to sign up with Coinbase, which is one of the most popular platforms to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
Opening an account was super easy, and so was transferring my first $50 from my bank account to my Bitcoin wallet.
The only issue I have with Coinbase so far is that the option to sell isn’t available in my country (Canada), so I can only buy at this time. Therefore, I’m planning on doing some more research to see what alternative options there are for Canadians.
(One promising resource I’ve found so far: List of Canadian Bitcoin Exchanges.)
If you’re not in Canada or Australia, Coinbase should work just fine for you.
3. Why Invest in Cryptocurrency?
There are quite a few reasons why people choose to invest in cryptocurrency.
First of all, many people (including myself) like the idea of having a worldwide currency that’s essentially made for people by people, not controlled by any institution.
With the value of cryptocurrencies rising, many are currently also investing for profit.
Since the evolution of cryptocurrencies isn’t entirely predictable, there is some risk involved. However, there’s certainly also a lot of potential. (If I had invested my first $50 back in 2011, I’d have $343,840.32 CAD worth of cryptocurrency sitting in my Bitcoin wallet today.)
Many people believe that cryptocurrencies will dramatically change or even replace the current banking system in the future.
Even if the numbers are somewhat volatile in the short term, it seems evident that cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more mainstream. People are looking for freedom from traditional systems, not just for profit, so it makes sense that digital currencies like Bitcoin will continue to gain popularity in the the long run.
If you want to look into this some more, here’s a great article I just found: What Is Cryptocurrency and Why Should You Invest in It?
- Coin Mastery
- Bitcoin: How Cryptocurrencies Work
- Coinbase Blog
- Bitcoin and Ethereum Beginner’s Guide
- 10 Ways Cryptocurrenycy Will Change the World
Have you invested in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency? What has your experience been so far? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!