Pretty sure I blogged late last year on my plans to buy Bitcoin. I finally got around to doing that a couple of weeks ago. I don’t care to start conducting transactions with virtual currencies. This story is the best of many I’ve read that details exactly why virtual currencies aren’t really a thing yet, and won’t be for some time. Perhaps not until quantum computing becomes pervasive. I’m doing this for the experience. To be able to relate accurate details in my next novel. I referenced a bitcoin transaction in my last book but I glossed over the details. One can’t write a tech thriller on cyberwar without speaking to virtual currencies.
I won’t go into too much detail here on my experience. I think I’ll mostly provide links to some of the best stories I’ve discovered, and you can click on them if you’re interested. I actually repeated a number of stories from my ten years of blogs in my last novel, and I will again. So writing this post is more about building my reference library of content for book two than anything else. Some of this will be useful to you if you are considering purchasing a virtual currency.
Since my goal isn’t becoming rich, I only purchased $100 of Bitcoin. I wanted to invest just $5, and that’s an option, but there are transaction charges, and it occurred to me it’s more easy to do the math on $100. It’s quick for me to understand the $2.99 cost of buying my $100 of Bitcoin is basically 3%. I’ll incur similar future transaction charges and they would all be much more from a percentage perspective for only $5.
My first step was to read the Internet to understand how to begin trading Bitcoin. I discovered I needed to register at an Exchange. I settled on Gemini because it seemed the most professional to me. It’s run by those Winklevoss twins whom successfully sued Mark Zuckerberg for a substantial share of Facebook. After registering nearly two months ago, the Winklevoss twins still have not completed verification of my identity. They did contact me once to inform me that my drivers license photo was too blurry and that I should resend it. I did. Nothing but chirping crickets since. Seeing this as a red flag for future customer service interactions, I signed up with Coinbase – which is probably the most popular exchange. Took a couple of days for verification, mostly because I did it over the weekend. Go with Coinbase.
My research indicated that one should not leave their virtual currency sitting with an online exchange, given the history of these places having their reserves constantly hacked. North Korea’s Icarus has made attacking exchanges their specialty of late. Icarus is the modern day Bonnie and Clyde.
So I purchased a digital wallet. I think I blogged on this already too. I received the Nano Ledger S as a Christmas gift. It’s pretty cool. Cost about $79. Another reason why purchasing only $5 would have been stupid. The idea is one can transfer their Bitcoin from an exchange onto the digital wallet to avoid being hacked. It’s mostly offline and connects to your computer via USB when you use it. Transferring Bitcoin is essentially a copy/paste process. Very easy to understand YouTube video here on how to do that between the Nano and Coinbase.
If I’m honest, using digital currencies is fairly complex. But for a techie, sort of fun. I created an account for myself at Bitsane too because I want to trade my Bitcoin for Ripple – another virtual currency that banks are starting to use. Even more complexity as one cannot directly buy it. Rather, you have to exchange Bitcoin for Ripple. Yet more complexity.
There is nothing simple about trading Bitcoin. It’s not something one can easily do from their 401K account. But I’m a writer and my genre of tech thriller encumbers me to actually know what I’m talking about. Fiction allows me to take some liberties, but readers of tech are interested in detail like this.
My Bitcoin stash is currently worth $130, after a single week. $10 of that came from purchasing it from a recommendation, which you can do too from this link. It will give you a quick 10% return on $100 transaction. You and I will both get $10. Seems like a better business model than actually trading Bitcoin.