Personal Experience: Part 4 – Bitcoin

3 minute read

Posted by: Joseph Meehan October 14, 2014

This a post in series of posts describing a personal experience from learning about the DNM’s to becoming a vendor – all the parts of this series will be available to here: ExperienceTag

Bitcoin (BTC) is a decentralized digital currency used to make digital and physical purchases. There are a wide variety of goods and services offered in exchange for Bitcoin. More and more vendors have begun to accept Bitcoin as payment. ATMs where BTC can be purchased and sold have cropped up in major cities around the world. There are a few major advantages Bitcoin has over traditional currencies:

  • BTC uses P2P Transactions. This means no banks, governments or middlemen have to participate in transactions.
  • BTC is a global currency. It can be used to pay anyone for anything in any part of the world
  • BTC has no prerequisites or arbitrary limits.

Bitcoin uses strong encryption methods similar to the ones governments use to encrypt their sensitive information. Some of the terms and jargon that come with the BTC territory can be intimidating to a user just starting out, but with some experience and research Bitcoin becomes more and more clear. For example, when wondering whether or not to capitalize Bitcoin, I found that Bitcoin can refer to a protocol and the actual currency. The former is always Bitcoin, while individual units of currency are bitcoins.

There are a few key factors to consider when choosing a BTC wallet. As a beginner it was hard at first to know what wallet to choose. With some due diligence I was able to choose a variety of wallets that was right for me and that would give me the highest amount of security and privacy.

I ended up with three wallets, which sounded like a lot to me at first. But the three wallets all have their functions. One, called a cold storage wallet, will be offline and function as a secure savings account. The second wallet will be on my laptop and function as a main account where I hold a small amount of readily accessible funds. The third will be on my mobile device and will act as a regular wallet to hold a small amount of BTC similar to the physical wallet I carry in my pocket with USD cash in it. The wallets were simple to set up but it took a little bit of digging to figure out exactly how to transfer funds between them, especially the cold storage. The name wallet conflicts slightly with what the wallet actually is, implying some kind of physical object while in reality it is simply an address similar to an email address.

I met up with my friend Grandi on a Saturday morning to exchange some USD for BTC. When I asked he said this was the most common way he does BTC transactions, in person, face-to-face. We made the transaction and it was really easy. No problems and the process was easy to understand when I was actually doing it. Having a friend I trusted was a huge help, and he guided me through choosing a wallet and purchasing my first BTC. I’m now the proud owner of a small amount of BTC, the bulk of which I managed to transfer to my cold storage without any problems.

With some minimal research it was easy for me to get started with bitcoin. Next I’ll be diving into the Darknet Marketplaces and giving some thought to how to represent my freelance writing on the Darknet. I’ll also be exploring some of the marketplaces where you can advertise services for which you’ll take bitcoin as payment on the Internet.

Over at Reddit they have an active community that revolves around discussion of Bitcoin. Make sure to check it out, as it’s an amazing resource for people new to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Updated: 2014-10-14