Bitcoin buying is extremely confusing right now. Some day, someone will figure out how to buy and sell Bitcoins and all the other cybercoins in a simple, straight forward process, but until then, it's messy! I'll take you through my quest for the elusive coins (better described as tokens now) and maybe it'll help you in your search.
First of all, it's a blockchain! All cybercoins, including Bitcoin are based on blockchain technology which is essentially a ledger that records transactions in a very unique way. Instead of this ledger being kept by a trusted individual or corporation (like an accountant or an accounting firm) it's distributed through the Internet to hundreds or thousands of computers instantly. (This means you don't need the middleman and the extra cost that goes with that!)
Because it appears in so many places, it can be verified easily and it should be hard to alter. (They believe virtually impossible at this point in time.) So, trust is built through duplication.
It's wayyy more complicated then that, but maybe that will give you a basis for an understanding of the computer protocol that is used.
So, Bitcoin comes from a blockchain, as do hundreds of other coins. But the blockchain protocol is being used for other things as well. It's being used to simplify banking transactions and money transfers for example. Some start-up companies are using it for contract writing, real estate agreements, supply chain management (warehouses), etc. More uses are being discovered and developed daily it seems.
And, all these new companies can set up their own "token" if they want, which then functions like a stock. It gains value as the company grows and you gain with it if you bought their token. The difference between a stock and a token, however, is that a stock is regulated and a token is not! (Yet.)
So, it's "The Wild West" all over again when you're buying tokens. A lot of these start-up companies won't make it and in fact some are being set up just to get your initial investment and really didn't have much of a chance to succeed from the start. So, where do you start?
Here are a few I've looked at:
Ethereum - Simplified the initial blockchain and gives it free to other developers. (It's probably the second best known cybercoin.)
Maidsafe - Stores data in a "cloud" so it is more secure.
Ripple - Develops banking blockchains
Litecoin - Has a better global payment system
Zcash - Extra security on transactions
Monero - Untraceable transactions
IOTA - Uses blockchain to improve The Internet Of Things
Propthereum - Cuts out the middleman on property renting and leasing
DMG - Supply chain management
These are just examples of what these new companies are claiming to try to do. Research your own and find one or some that you can believe in.
First, you have to find an exchange that lists the tokens that you want to buy. (There are hundreds of them.) Then you have to register with them and arrange how you're going to get your cash to them. (I picked Coinbase to start with because they're well known and they sell both BitCoin and Ethereum, which I'll probably start with.
(In fact, if you join them through this link, and buy $100 worth of BitCoin, both you and I get US$10! https://www.coinbase.com/join/5a1371c0a4d66702e9e3ed65 It worked for me.)
Different exchanges deal with different tokens and so, you may have to join more than one to find the transaction you want. Some won't deal with certain countries or states however, so before you get into the registration process check out any restrictions they may have.
Once you've exchanged cash for tokens, you're in business and can then trade in tokens for other ones.
However, it is highly recommended that you don't store your tokens on the exchange for any length of time, better to find a "wallet" for that!
A wallet stores your coins more safely apparently so it's a recommended part of the process. (Now do you see why not many people are involved in trading cybercoins?)
I'll probably put my coins on Mycylium. After much research, it looks safe and has a track record. Jaxx is another possibility. Again, there are hundreds to choose from. Be careful.
Greed! A couple of years ago, you could buy a BitCoin for a few hundred dollars. Today it's over $7,000 and no one knows where it will eventually go to. Many cybercoins are worth pennies today as the companies start their projects and sometimes grow by hundreds or thousands of percent in a short period of time. Pick the right ones and you might be the next billionaire!
That's enough for now, I'll add to this page as my journey continues.
If you have any comments or questions, ask away (below). I'll try and respond to all legit entries.