Bitcoin was the world’s first cryptographic currency, and it is still the most popular by far. Newer and more advanced alternatives like Ethereum and Litecoin have their advantages, but Bitcoin remains the gold standard.
As a result, many people who decide to experiment with cryptocurrencies rightly decide to get started with the one that started the whole movement. When buying Bitcoin online, there are a few simple things that it always pays to be aware of.
Bitcoin Beginners Should Understand a Few Simple Principles
Somewhere around $175 million in Bitcoin changes hands worldwide on the average day at this point, making for an impressively active global market. There are quite a few different ways to obtain an initial supply of Bitcoin, each of which comes with its own benefits.
For most, though, buying some Bitcoin online using conventional currency will prove to be the simplest and most convenient option. When doing so, it is always important to realize that:
- Payment methods vary. Bitcoin is very much an unconventional type of currency, and that means the most familiar and established financial tools are not always applicable. Particular Bitcoin exchanges and vendors almost always have their own rules about what types of payments will be accepted. Some are flexible and accommodating enough to make purchasing bitcoin with a credit card easy and straightforward. Many others are a lot more restrictive and demanding, which can be disappointing to learn.
- Obtaining Bitcoin can take some time. Most Bitcoin-based transactions today get confirmed and logged on the blockchain in a little over ten minutes. Turning conventional currency into Bitcoin, however, can easily take quite a bit longer. Once again, the details tend to depend on the nature and approach of the seller in question. Some established exchanges force their clients to wait several days before handing over Bitcoin in exchange for fiat currency. Others have set up systems that are a lot faster and more responsive.
- Storage really matters. Bitcoin is a virtual, decentralized currency that exists firmly in the digital realm. Being able to spend a particular Bitcoin or part of one only requires having access to a set of cryptographically backed credentials. Bitcoin can be stored in a number of different ways, each of which features certain advantages and drawbacks. Some exchanges hold Bitcoin in their own wallets for users, making for easy access but a point of significant vulnerability. Bitcoin owners can just as well maintain their own digital wallets and assume responsibility for keeping them secure and accessible.
- The markets move quickly. Above all else, Bitcoin beginners should realize that volatility and flux are still very much the norm. Compared to conventional currencies issued by any but the most tumultuous of countries, Bitcoin’s value can change quite quickly. That, in fact, is a reason for the cryptocurrency appeal to many of its fans. Still, it will always be best to be prepared to face and account for some significant Bitcoin price fluctuations.
Getting Started With an Innovative, Exciting Type of Currency
Basic issues like these are important to understand but should be easy enough for just about anyone interested in Bitcoin to come to terms with. Being appropriately prepared will help make any first experience with Bitcoin that much more positive and rewarding.