With the recent skyrocketing price climbs and peaks in the valuation of Bitcoin, its no surprise that people are asking the question “Where can I buy Bitcoin?”
Where can I buy Bitcoin and how much is it worth?
Most typically, new Bitcoin users enter the market by signing up to a Bitcoin Exchange. These Bitcoin Exchanges act much like existing stock and foreign currency exchanges; only they trade solely in Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies. Using a Bitcoin Exchange, a user can buy a quantity of Bitcoin for a set price in £GBP, $USD, €EUR or other fiat currency of their choice.
Once signed up to a Bitcoin exchange such as Coinbase, Binance, Liquid, or CEX.io; users have to deposit cash into their online ‘wallet’ to then have a fund with which they can trade. They are then free to make trades and purchase Bitcoin. They can either make an instant buy at the current market rate, or by placing a ‘buy order’ on the exchange itself.
Each exchange will have different fees for depositing your money (transferring £GBP from your bank account, credit or debit card, into their bank), and then also for transactions. Each time you make a purchase, an exchange might typically charge anything up to 5% in fees. However if you’re clever and make use of exchange tools and methods such as ‘limit stops’. These can allow you to avoid transaction fees by ‘making’ the trade (setting the price in advance) rather than just accepting the going market rate.
You will always get a better price if you place an order on the exchange market itself, rather than just clicking the ‘instant buy’ button. An instant buy will always take the current market price at that time by default.
How do I know which Bitcoin Exchange to trust and use?
In the early days of Bitcoin, exchanges were setup in haste to provide early adopters a quick and easy way to buy in. Many exchanges quickly had to smarten up and professionalise, to avoid becoming targets for hackers and exploitation.
Perhaps the biggest and most publicised early Bitcoin Exchange hack was that of the Japan based Mt. Gox back around 2014.
Launched in 2010, Mt. Gox was an early giant in the Bitcoin ecosystem. It quickly became the largest Bitcoin Exchange, handling over 70% of all Bitcoin transactions worldwide around 2013-14. However it failed to keep up with the pace of security required as its usage increased.
Ultimately Mt. Gox ceased trading in February 2014, after announcing that it had ‘lost’ approx. 850,000 Bitcoins (owned by itself and customers). At the time, those coins were worth an estimated $450 million. It later became clear that Mt. Gox had become victim to theft, whereby hackers had targeted their ‘hot wallet’ over a number of years.
In the aftermath, the price of Bitcoin crashed, and with it – a lot of peoples trust and faith in the system and its major players.
Fast forward 3-4 years and the landscape of Bitcoin Exchanges has seen significant change and improvement. Large venture backed Exchanges such as the likes of Coinbase and Binance have sprung up. These outfits are well organised, professionalised and backed by successful venture capital firms from Silicon Valley and similar. With this has come a new level of professionalism, a higher level of consumer product, customer service and security.
The Bitcoin ecosystem is still in it’s infancy. However as more money and more established players arrive, we can expect a continuation in the recent improvements seen across customer service, ease of fiat-to-crypto transfer, and security.
Where else can I get my first Bitcoins?
There are currently a number of options when it comes to dipping your toe into Bitcoin and getting your first Bitcoins:
- Win free Bitcoins from Free Bitcoin Faucets, through competitions or similar promotions
- Free Bitcoin Earner is a great place to get started with Bitcoin Faucets
- Set up a Bitcoin Wallet, and then have a friend or family member send you some of their Bitcoin
- Earn Bitcoin in exchange for running the Bitcoin software on their computer(s) or servers – this is called Bitcoin Mining
- Sign up to a reputable Bitcoin exchange (good examples being Binance, Coinbase, or CEX.io), and then buy Bitcoin through them
How much is Bitcoin worth?
Welcome to the roller coaster…
The value of Bitcoin has fluctuated wildly since its introduction in 2008. Like most other currencies and assets, its current market price is determined by just how much people are willing to pay for it. In recent times, that price has seen huge highs and lows as people speculate as to the long-term value and price point it should command. Bitcoin speculation is heavily influenced by market swings, the volume of new entrants, and consumer sentiment.
Consumer awareness and sentiment towards Bitcoin has seen huge uptake in the last year or so. As more and more mainstream press outlets have reported on Bitcoin and brought it into the public spotlight – the mainstream public have started to buy in. This has been a major cause of recent price spikes. Understandably, everyone quickly wants in when they see the multiples on return, which Bitcoin has offered to date.
A speculative bubble?
Outside commentators, representatives from governments and established financial firms regularly discredit Bitcoin and call it a ‘bubble’. Indeed, Bitcoin has already experienced many ‘bubble’ moments in its short lifespan already.
There have been a handful of particularly significant price hikes followed by crashes, for Bitcoin. One of the largest was in the fallout and aftermath of the Mt. Gox hacking scandal in 2014. Indeed most recently, the price rocketed up to an all time high of just over $19,000USD back on December 16th 2017, before then crashing back down to less than $7,000USD during the opening months of 2018.
Is there any perspective, or a benchmark?
Even with the uncertainty and rollercoaster ride that is Bitcoins price to date; it’s still worth putting all of this into perspective. It is hard to benchmark Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market against anything that has gone before it.
However it is worth nothing that most traditional assets appreciate and depreciate in value over cyclical periods (long term ‘bubbles’ if you like). History is littered with examples of this across Gold, Silver, and other precious metals, even the housing markets. We might struggle to judge Bitcoin against a backdrop of these markets, since they have in most cases been established for centuries.
The significance of the ’Dot-com’ bubble
So perhaps the most recent technological breakthrough which we have observed, and which demonstrated similar ‘bubble-like’ behaviour, was the ‘Dot-com’ boom and bust.
Just before the turn of the century the Internet was the new thing and everyone wanted a piece of it. Dot-com businesses were springing up at a crazy rate and everyone wanted a piece of the action. Venture Capitalists and stock markets jumped to put money in and back whichever dot-com firm they thought might be a winner. All in the hope of seeing their returns multiply.
And then, at the end of 2000 and start of 2001 – the whole thing burst! Internet stocks tanked and were estimated to have lost approximately 75% of their value nearly overnight. That translated to approx. $1.755 trillion, wiped out in one fell swoop.
Bitcoin – “the next Internet”
Now we all know that this wasn’t the end for the Internet. The Internet and dot-com businesses across the board all recovered and went on to become the biggest sensation and technological shift of recent times. Many speculate that Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies are now poised to be the next Internet.