Last updated: 8 Dec 2017
I’ve had multiple friends ask me how to get into Bitcoin, so here’s a quick post on a few different ways that I have used / are currently using.
It’s not just for giant farms in Mongolia or highly trafficked shady websites. If you have a decent graphics card, a well-ventilated space, and not super expensive electricity, you can set your PC to mine various PoW blockchains (not just Bitcoin). I recently built a gaming PC, and when I am not using it, I set it to mine using a distributed pooling software called NiceHash which farms out work to your machine based on what is worth mining at the time and what computations your graphics card is good at. Taking into account electricity costs (but not graphics card depreciation) I can get up to $5 per day or $150 per month with my GTX 1080. You can check your profitability using WhatToMine, making sure to put in your GPU number (eg. "1" in "1080" for me) and your "Cost" for $/kWh. To actually mine, I am currently using Awesome Miner with MiningPoolHub.
2. Answer Questions
Earn.com (formerly 21.co) wants to use “labor” as the gateway to get people into cryptocurrency. They give you a message inbox and let people send paid messages, tasks, and surveys, with payment in Bitcoin. It’s like your Linkedin inbox and InMail, except you get paid for responding. Recent messages I’ve gotten are signing up for Blockstack’s new blockchain browser ($4) and some ICO marketing newsletters ($1-4). For responding to private messages I charge $5 but sadly no one has sent me a private message yet.
You don’t need to be financially invested in order to “get into” Bitcoin (and cryptocurrency in general). Ethereum, the second most popular crypto in the zeitgeist, is a platform for decentralized applications — meaning you can actually build stuff that takes advantage of blockchain technology. Read up on their site, check out existing DApps, maybe get paid in ETH when you start doing work.
4. Just Buy It
Or you can, you know, just buy into it with USD. There are a few ways you can do it, make sure to do your own research [disclaimer: my referral links]:
- Coinbase — Most popular in the US, easy interface, can have high fees especially if you use credit card. Only lets you buy into the big three (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin)
- Changelly — Even easier interface, gives you a wider variety of coins you can buy like Monero, Dash, Ripple
- LocalBitcoins — Anonymous way to buy. You transact p2p so only you and the other person knows. Can use their escrow service for more security
The best place to store your new Bitcoins are in a private wallet for which you control the keys. I recommend an open source and lightweight wallet called Electrum that works on any platform.
For those who are lazy, you can leave them on your most trusted exchange (eg. Coinbase) and pray that they don't get hacked or go out of business!
If you bought on Coinbase, you can use their exchange called GDAX to trade in and out of other coins that they support like ETH and LTC.
For a wider range of coins to trade, there are many exchanges to choose from. My favorite is Binance (disclaimer: my referral link) — it has a slick ui, fast executions, and you get 50% discount in trading fees if you own some of their own BNB coins (see my writeup on BNB here).
Like with anything related to crypto, do anything at your own risk. Everything in this space is still highly volatile and largely unregulated. Questions? Let's hear 'em in the comments.