Recently, the bitcoins began to appear in the news again. For example, the creators of the WannaCry virus promised to restore access to the blocked files, after receiving a ransom in Bitcoins equivalent to $300. However, even the modest inquiries did not allow them to enrich themselves: only 302 transfers totaling $116,000 were transferred to the bitcoin purse of the hackers.
How to Buy Bitcoins
All the ways are reduced to the search for an exchange service that will take your bank money from you and give the bitcoins (BTC). Even if you already have an experience of payments on the Internet, get ready for the first feature: most of these services will not offer you anything except semi-legal and semi-familiar methods of replenishment. The explanation is simple: both Visa and MasterCard, and the national financial authorities perceive Bitcoin as an unreliable currency and they did not give direct approval of this activity.
The second feature: all these exchange services do not have any financial licenses and even permanent bank accounts. So, do not be surprised that such services often close with a lot of noise from deceived customers. In a long list, there are Mt.Gox, Bitcurex, Flexcoin, and the biggest crash took $700 millions of customer’s money.
How to Store Bitcoins?
Do not believe any person who advertises to you a safe tool for storing bitcoins. These are electronic cash, and in the world of this cash, there is neither the Central Bank nor the investigation and police. You can only choose one of the Bitcoin applications, which is equipped with an up-to-date set of anti-hacking tools.
The classic bitcoin wallet (Bitcoin Core) is protected only by login and password. Here you know for sure that there are no more vulnerable links between your wallet and the bitcoin world. However, it requires the entire BTC database to be constantly pumped to the local disk of your computer, which is more than 120 Gb.
Is It Safe?
The last problem was solved by hundreds of mobile and cloud applications that store the database on their servers or in the cloud. More importantly, they store your cryptographic keys on their servers. Without these keys you are not the owner of the bitcoins.
This is an additional risk factor, the same as in the case of traditional money: your cash under the pillow is the subject of relations only between you and the state in the person of the Central Bank. If your money is in your account in a commercial bank, then they are all right only until your commercial bank is free of fraud.
In some cloud apps you can configure any security options at any level up to the paranoid: log in with one-time passwords or with the help of a special password generator, a ban on entering the wallet from other computers and mobile phones, limits on consumption, identity verification, IP-blocking, and so on.
Where to Spend Them?
It is unlikely that a person who has become accustomed to online shopping or walks through offline shopping centers will benefit from bitcoins. Still, it is still not so fast, and not so simple as electronic wallets or bank cards. A normal delay of the confirmation of a BTC transaction was within an hour. Right now the situation in the BTC network is such that 15% of transactions are not executed even during the day. So, the commission for getting through without a queue has increased. There are a number of world brands like Dell, Steam, Virgin, Expedia, which announced the reception of bitcoins.
Assessing the number of owners of bitcoins is not just difficult, it is impossible. This is based on the characteristics of the cryptocurrency: decentralization, the lack of control over state regulators, and anonymity. The anonymity does not allow getting correct statistical data. The number of registered bitcoin-wallets also does not help, since one person can have the unlimited number of them.
Freelance writers, for example, may earn in BTC. Would be logical if content-writing services accepted them, so if you have spare bitcoins try asking “Write my essay for me” – that might make them consider accepting BTC.
How Profitable Is It to Invest in Them?
Bitcoin grows because the public trust around it is growing too. However, the public confidence until 2008 was also around structured mortgage bonds in the US, even among experienced and professional investors. Then it evaporated during the month of the crisis along with the money. Of course, Bitcoin has successfully passed several tests for viability. Its current rapid growth is due to the fact that the community around it found the strength to find a consensus. However, the crisis may happen tomorrow or at any other stage of development of the cryptocurrency. Therefore, bitcoin investors should not forget the words of Warren Buffett: “Never invest in assets that you do not understand.”
Nowadays, the cryptocurrency reached the highest price on the market and it is predicted to become more expensive. However, the situation may change in a few hours. Thus, you need to analyze all pros and cons of investing in bitcoins.