Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Experience Buying Bitcoin

We researched. We read. We watched. We discussed. We figured that this was as good of a time as any to get our foot in the door. So, my husband and I bought some Bitcoin over the weekend. Only $100 worth to get our feet wet and learn the ropes of this brave new world.

An interesting thing happened when we started the process, because yes, it’s a process to buy this digital currency that works outside of the financial institutions that we know. 

There are a number of ways to acquire Bitcoin. First you have to create a wallet and it can be stored online or on a device. Once we had a wallet, my husband’s first attempt to fill our wallet was to ask our friends via facebook to send us a small amount, pennies even, just so we could test out using our wallet and transferring Bitcoins. No go.  

Second attempt, my husband was a gamer in his younger years, so he decided to try buying Bitcoins through a game broker. I doubt this is what they’re actually called because I don’t understand how this option works, but he seemed to think it was going to be easy enough. It wasn’t.

Third attempt, buy through a Bitcoin broker that requires a bank account number and credit card attached to our wallet. Not our first choice because of security concerns. But it was the easiest, or at least the most straightforward. 

So, we addressed our main security concern (really the only one we can do anything about) by opening a bank account that is just for buying Bitcoin; it has little to no money in it and it isn’t connected to anything else. 

We were ready. Or so we thought. Right as we're about to hit the button that started the verification process of attaching our bank account to our Bitcoin wallet, my husband says “Wait!” Which was a surprise considering that 1) he’s been the main driver on us buying some Bitcoins and 2) we were so close to finally buying some Bitcoins after trying for more almost two weeks. 

He was having second thoughts because it’s new to us and it’s entirely digital, which leads to greater security concerns. Even though we had taken some precautions, he was still concerned. Which is justified, considering that 70 million Target customers were affected by the recent security breach. But on the other hand, the Target breach proves that nothing is safe. 

So, we took the conversation to the place of no regrets. Under what circumstances would we regret our decision when we’re 70?

  1. If Bitcoin goes through roof like the experts predict, then yes, we would regret not getting in when we could. So, we should BUY.
  2. If Bitcoin tanks and disappears, will we regret spending $100 on Bitcoin to try it out? No. So, we should BUY.  
Both scenarios point to buying a small amount of Bitcoins. No regrets!

My husband and I were reminded of one of our core life principles: we have to continuously push ourselves and do things that are new and slightly scary, so that 1) we don’t become obsolete and 2) we don’t end up 70 years old wishing we would’ve done things differently.

Living life with no regrets!

-Leah Schonlank

Finance Gym offers personal finance coaching in professionally facilitated peer-advisory groups. 
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