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.
If this is your first visit to this page, then skip this paragraph and read on. If you've come back for updates, then click here and it will take you to the updates.
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 $15,000 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.
Here's what's happened since I first posted this page:
I started buying coins through Coinbase because it allowed me to use my credit card to buy them and I could get started right away. It's major drawback was that it limited me to $50 per week maximum! However, for 3 or 4 weeks it was my major "in" to the cybercoin world.
Then suddenly about 2 weeks ago, it wouldn't let me "fund" my account any more without more "Authentication". I had initially sent them 1) a selfie with my drivers licence 2) A copy of my drivers licence 3) A copy of my passport and 4) a copy of my bank statement. I took these pictures with my iPhone 4 and sent them through my desktop.
Now they wanted me to do it again, using a webcam (which I hadn't used for 3 or 4 years). So, I hooked it up and did it again - only to be continually refused because it wasn't "clear enough". They suggested I do it through their iPhone app, but it requires a higher operating system than my phone (and it can't be upgraded) so, I now need to buy a new phone to use it!
Sooo, to make a long story short, I don't use them anymore.
Meanwhile, because I'm Canadian I wanted an exchange based in Canada so that I could use C$ and move money in and out of my bank directly. I found 2 right in my hometown of Vancouver! I sent one called Quadrigacx $400 through an Interact transaction and it took a month to get it cleared and be able to use it! During that time, I looked up their address on Google Maps and it turns out to be a UPS store! Hmmm.
The other company is called Einstein and they have a real office and real people answering the phone, so I feel better about that. The only problem for me was that I somehow managed to register twice with them using 2 different email addresses and "verification" got delayed a couple of weeks while we figured out what was wrong. (Of course, it didn't help that right at this time Exchanges all over the world stopped taking on more clients because they were overwhelmed by the volume of business that they were required to do and simply didn't have the manpower and systems to cope. Einstein was having the same problems.
Eventually we got it all worked out and that is my "home" exchange now.
There's more but you get the picture of what I've been through. Oh, by the way, my $800 investment has more than doubled during this time - even with the problems!
Managed to get back on Coinbase! (Used a magnifying glass to give my web cam enough clarity!)
However, now the market is in the middle of a big correction, so I'm no longer buying any more coins. I'll wait until another "bull market" returns and then get back in. I'll be looking at coins that are already successful in their stated goals. (LISK might be one to look at.)
A month later, I'm still waiting for the Bull market to return!
If you have any comments or questions, ask away (below). I'll try and respond to all legit entries.