How to Acquire Bitcoin
There are a few different ways to acquire Bitcoin. However, for the purposes of this article, we’ll presume that you’re not planning on mining it, and that you don’t earn in Bitcoin. To keep things straightforward, we’ve outlined a couple of ways to get hold of some in exchange for cash.
How you go about buying some Bitcoin will depend on the purpose for which you want to use it. If you have no preference for anonymity, just sign up to a service like CoinBase, and register an account with them. They have various options for funding an account and their user-interface makes the process quick and easy. First time buyers are recommended to try out buying a small amount, and get used to sending it to a private wallet. More on this shortly.
If anonymity is a concern, then it’s best to find a peer-to-peer trading option. Platforms like LocalBitcoins offer such services. Be careful when signing up, you want to create an entirely new email address that doesn’t use your details when registering. You’ll also probably want to use a VPN for all your activity concerning Bitcoin. Many sellers will agree to meet you and swap cash for Bitcoin without requiring any form of ID. There’ll likely be a premium to pay for the privilege of keeping yourself from leaving a digital paper trail.
It’s important to remember your own safety when meeting someone off the internet to buy or sell something. There have been incidents in the past of muggings, and extortion when making Bitcoin exchanges. Try to arrange somewhere open and public to make your purchase. Do it in open view of other people and don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with.
Once you have decided which method to use, it’s important to set up a wallet. Do this before you actually buy any cryptocurrency. This means you’ll be able to get it secured immediately. Don’t just rely on an exchange to keep your funds safe. By doing so, you just rendered the biggest selling point of cryptocurrency entirely useless. Bitcoin’s inventor, the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, designed their protocol to allow users to transact without permission or trust. If you leave your funds with CoinBase, or whichever exchange, then you’re no longer the master of your own value and you’re essentially continuing to trust a centralised institution with far less regulation than a central bank.
How to Cash in Your Bitcoin
To exchange Bitcoin back to government-issued, “fiat” money, you’ll most likely use the same service that you used to buy it. If you used a centralised exchange, you’ll send your funds to that platform, and set up a sell order. When this has gone through, you’ll receive whichever currency that your account is in (usually US dollars). This can then be sent back to the bank account which you used to fund your initial purchase.
If you were more concerned about anonymity, you can set up a peer-to-peer trade. The process will be the same as buying Bitcoin from the likes of LocalBitcoins. You find someone who wants to buy Bitcoin for cash in your local area, meet up with them, receive your payment, and transfer them the BTC. Once confirmed by the network, you’re all done. It’s that easy!
Bitcoin Casinos are often Provably Fair
Some Bitcoin casinos claim to be provably fair. Of course, this sounds amazing from the perspective of an online gambler. Using cryptographic hash functions, casinos can prove that the outcome of an event was indeed random, and there was always the possibility that a different event could occur. It’s quite confusing and each game and site will use a different method. Let’s look at an example of how a lot of simple Bitcoin dice sites calculate their outcomes:
- A secret, random seed is created by the server.
- This is hashed and sent to the player.
- Player provides their own random seed.
- These seeds are used to calculate the result of the roll.
- The original seed is revealed. This allows the player the opportunity to check that it matches the hash.
If a Bitcoin casino claims to be provably fair, it’s important to check their methodology for yourself. They will have it listed somewhere, and you can use your client seed, and the server hash, along with the outcome of the event to check it works. Since it sounds so positive, and is an alien concept to many, casinos might say they’re provably fair when they’re just using the buzzword to get your custom. Learn how to check for yourself and you’ll be sure to be getting a genuinely legitimate casino experience. It’s akin to being able to check a deck of cards for fairness in a brick-and-mortar casino.