Bitcoin may have gone mainstream in 2017, but not everyone who is going to buy Bitcoin did so two years ago. If you look at the generally accepted five stages of technology adoption, that is Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards, cryptocurrency adoption entered the early majority phase in 2017 and is still there. The staying power of crypto has been proven in recent months, as Bitcoin dipped for most of 2018 and into early 2019, before starting an impressive rally at the beginning of April. For people who didn’t buy Bitcoin in the first spike, this rally may be all that’s needed to get a toe or a foot in the door of cryptocurrency.
But for cryptocurrency newbies, Blockchain is still a bit of a Wild Wild West. If you’re looking to join the early majority and buy Bitcoin online for the first time, here are five things you should know:
Any reputable online cryptocurrency vendor will verify your identity
Think back to when you opened your bank account. You most likely had to do so in person, provide a government-issued identity card such as a driver’s license or passport, enter your Social Security or national ID number, and fill out and sign a number of forms. In other words, you had to show your intent in opening the account, and prove you were who you said you were. Cryptocurrency vendors such as AccuBITZ allow you to buy Bitcoin with credit or debit cards, aren’t banks, but they’re still providing a financial service, and as such they need to verify your identity.
What does verification look like? Unlike banks, which almost always require you to open an account in person, if you buy cryptocurrency online, you’re, well, online. You can’t simply walk into the website and show your ID card. So how do you prove you’re really you, and that you want to buy Bitcoin online? In addition to requiring a government-issued ID card, many crypto vendors will also ask to see a photograph of you holding that ID card. That way the vendor knows that the person in the ID matches the person opening the account. Some vendors will also ask for a “declaration of intent” or a form that declares you really do mean to open the account.
You need a special wallet
Most people new to cryptocurrency don’t realize that they need a place to store it. Unlike fiat currency (that’s Dollars, Euros, Yens, and other government backed currency), which is stored in your bank account—or under your mattress—cryptocurrency is not only virtual, it’s also decentralized, meaning it lives outside of the bank system. So how do you keep your cryptocurrency? In a wallet that’s intended just for crypto. Cryptocurrency wallets come in different forms; they can live online, on your desktop, as a mobile app, on a thumb drive, or even on paper. Whichever wallet you choose for your crypto, you’ll be given both a wallet address, which is a string of letters and numbers that you can use to receive cryptocurrency, as well as a secret code, or private keys, which will allow you to access your cryptocurrency holdings and to sell or trade them (more on that in a second).
Cryptocurrency isn’t all Bitcoin
Most people who think cryptocurrency automatically think Bitcoin. In reality, there are over 2000 cryptocurrencies currently in existence. Some of them are niche coins attached to particular projects which will never take off and probably aren’t worth a second look. However, at the top of the rankings are several altcoins that may sound familiar, including Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. These coins are more affordable than Bitcoin, and while they don’t have the same market share, they can provide a legitimate alternative entry point into cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency brokers allow you to buy Ethereum with credit card or bank transfer, as well as seven additional altcoins.
Buying Bitcoin isn’t hard
We’ve come a long way since the early days of Bitcoin, when getting your hands on Bitcoin could be a complicated challenge. These days, there are plenty of ways to buy Bitcoin, including through Bitcoin ATMs, or on peer-to-peer networks. Perhaps the easiest way to buy Bitcoin for the first time is with a credit card. Once you’ve set up your cryptocurrency wallet, it’s no different than any other online shopping you would do. Most exchanges let users buy Bitcoin with credit cards or debit cards for up to $5000 at a time. Simply sign up, verify your account, and start buying.