Bitcoin, the first crypto-currency, allows you to pay for purchases online. What is a virtual currency and how to buy it? What ways are there to keep bitcoins safe? Follow our practical advice to buy virtual money without taking risks. We tell you everything about how to buy cryptocurrency and the different existing wallets to put it in a safe place.
Features of bitcoin
Created in 2009, bitcoin is the best known cryptocurrency. Accepted by many online shops, this electronic money makes it easy to pay for purchases. It is quite possible to issue or receive payments online with bitcoin. And this, at no cost! Nevertheless, this cryptocurrency also has some disadvantages. Among them is its highly volatile exchange rate. Its number is also limited. In the world, there cannot be more than 21 million bitcoins. Will this crypto-currency be able to demonstrate longevity? Economists are cautious while specialists are already comparing its value to that of precious metals.
Buy bitcoins: how to do ?
Cryptocurrency trading is unique. There are two types of platforms to buy bitcoins:
- shopping platforms make it possible to acquire crypto-currencies from euros (or other currencies such as the dollar). It is also possible to sell bitcoins against a currency.
- trading platforms allow you to exchange bitcoin for another virtual currency such as Golem or Safex, for example. On the other hand, it is impossible to exchange electronic money for a currency such as the euro or the dollar.
Bitcoin buying platforms
There are about ten different platforms to buy cryptocurrency. Among them, Coinbase, Bittrex, Kraken, CoinMama, Bitstamp, Gemini, Bitfinex or Paymium. None of them is a reference in the field of cryptomania. If Bittrex, Kraken or Bistamp are platforms rather reserved for experienced investors, Coinbase is ideal for beginners.
In general, to select a virtual currency purchasing platform, here are the criteria to take into account:
- the reputation of the platform: browse the specialized forums and check the opinions posted on the dedicated sites;
- the means of payment accepted (credit card, bank transfer, etc.). The purchase by credit card is made almost instantaneously. However, the costs turn out to be higher than with another means of payment. By using bank transfer, the most economical solution, it takes more than a day to transfer funds. Some platforms like Coinbase require the registration of the new creditor with the traditional bank;
- the price of bitcoin because from one platform to another, there can be significant differences. The price is calculated on an average of the transactions carried out internally. This explains the variations between platforms;
- the amount of the fees;
- securing the platform;
- the responsiveness of customer service in the event of a problem;
- the speed of identity verification…
Note, before investing money on a platform for buying and selling cryptocurrency, it is strongly recommended to inquire.
Wallets, keep your bitcoins safe
To “store” your virtual currency, you need a Bitcoin wallet. It is actually a key for buying and selling cryptocurrency. There are several with various means of security:
- the online wallet proves to be very convenient for occasional buyers. It can be used online and on smartphones. With this virtual wallet, easily access your bitcoins without fear. Coinbase, for example, is an online wallet and mobile app. Very easy to use, it simplifies purchases and sales of cryptocurrency. Two other mobile wallets are also very secure. These are Airbitz and Mycelium;
- the hardware wallet is a safe way to keep your bitcoins, especially if you plan to keep them as an investment. On the other hand, the hardware wallet is more expensive than a virtual wallet. In the market you will find wallets such as Trezor or Ledger Wallet;
- the software wallet showed security flaws. Your bitcoins can be stolen in case of hacking. Among the most popular are Copay, Jaxx or Electrum.
- the paper wallet. This system of conservation of bitcoins turns out to be rather judicious. It is actually just a piece of paper. The public and private keys are printed there. The risk is to lose the paper wallet or to damage it involuntarily.
Carrying out transactions with bitcoins is within everyone’s reach. However, some precautions should be taken when choosing the trading platform and the portfolio. Choose the systems best suited to your personal situation. If you are new to cryptomania, always do your research before using your bitcoins.
Also read: Why invest in bitcoin?