How to Get Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies
The most common ways to obtain cryptocurrency can be organised into the following methods;
Buy with FIAT, receive it for goods or services, earn it by “mining”, lend or trade it on exchanges, and alternative blockchain uses.
Free Online Cryptocurrency CourseLearn about cryptocurrency at your own pace! We took a more conversational approach to explaining cryptocurrency, pointing out tools and resources as we go along, in context of real-world situations.
The articles below are listed in the order of our own learning experience, moving through the different layers of cryptocurrency adoption from understanding criticisms and myths to the wide range of technologies that underpin it.
We've continuously updated and expanded on each article over time to ensure relevance. The last content review was February, 2020.
1. Buy with FIAT Cash
Purchasing cryptocurrency can be facilitated with specific online wallets, exchanges and ATM machines.
Online wallet examples; Binance (International), Quadriga CX (Canada), Coins.ph (Philippines).
Exchange examples; Bittrex, LedgerX, Bitfinex.
ATM machines; As of August 1, 2017 there are documented ATM machines for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, Dash, and Dogecoins. You can view locations of cryptocurrency ATMs all over the world at Coin ATM Radar.
2. Receive for Goods or Services
Receiving cryptocurrency for goods or services (or gifts and donations) is as easy as providing a cryptocurrency wallet holder with your public key or a unique QR code generated by your own wallet.
3. Earn it by “Mining”
Because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized, all transactions take place on a distributed network of computers called “miners”. Every computer system used for mining retains an up-to-date copy of a given cryptocurrency ledger for redundancy and to ensure counterfeit value cannot be added to the system.
Miners are rewarded with cryptocurrency for every transaction they complete for the network.
Mining Software for Beginners
I’ve been given mining a go recently, with a focus on Monero. Minergate is a great crypto mining software for beginners to get their feet wet (it works on just about any laptop, personal computer, etc).
For intermediate or advanced users, I recommend xmr-stak.
It is possible to start mining on a laptop that doesn’t have any standalone GPU, but you’re looking at about $2 per month if you bother. If you’ve got a gaming PC, perhaps you might be able to make enough to cover your internet bill every month.
I hear that adding graphics cards is addictive, so if you have a big tower and live with your parents (don’t pay for electricity) you might want to start evaluating new hardware options.
In either case –seeing how it all works will really demystify the process for you, and make putting together a nice rig in the future much more approachable.
It’s easier than you think.
4. Lend and Trade on Exchanges
It is possible to lend cryptocurrency on exchanges for a modest interest margin or trade them just like you might trade a stock on the stock market.
Bitcoin lending rates have skyrocketed in recent months; in early August of 2017 the average lending rate in USD was .0669% per day, compared to .02% – .04% per day a year ago.
5. Alternative Blockchain Uses
Bitcoin has opened the door to widespread use of blockchain technology, however it needn’t only be used for financial services.
Blockchain technology can be used to buy and sell idle computer processing power with micropayments, track and sell electricity generated by users on the grid, or even run a website like Airbnb. We have only scraped the surface of what business use-cases are possible on a blockchain.
Ready to buy your first cryptocurrency? Sign up for Binance.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention “become a contract killer” or “sell illegal drugs online” as ways to earn Bitcoin –and that’s because the notion that cryptocurrency users are a criminal majority is silly.
What do you think? Did I leave anything out that you think should be included? Have any advice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments at the bottom of the page.