Step 1: get a Bitcoin wallet
Before you buy bitcoins, you’ll need to set up a Bitcoin “wallet”. A Bitcoin “wallet” is just a virtual storage center, just like your physical wallet is what holds your cash and debit and credit cards.
There are a few options when it comes to these wallets:
A “wallet” made from software that’s stored on your computer’s hard drive.An online wallet offered by companies like Coinbase and Ledger.An offline option that acts like a vault. These use special “keys” that only you have access to, which adds an extra layer of protection for your crypto (this is also called “cold storage,” which I’ll discuss more below).
If you’re an everyday user, online services are your best option, as long as you don’t need complete anonymity and don’t mind the long setup procedures. However, some people believe that this erases the point of Bitcoin and its anonymity.
If you’re an investor, any of these platforms will work since you likely won’t be regularly spending from your wallet.
Now that you understand what a Bitcoin wallet is, you’re probably wondering how you actually find the wallet that’s best for you. Here are some of the most secure wallets:
Coinbase is the most widely used online Bitcoin wallet. It’s free, and comes with an easy-to-use app! You can also buy, sell, exchange, and trade bitcoin on Coinbase – making it one of the most user-friendly Bitcoin sites. However, there are a lot of risks with keeping bitcoin on the same site where you buy it, and Coinbase (as well as any other online wallet server) has had a poor track record in the past. But they do offer a more secure option, known as “vault”.
Electrum is a popular, free storage option in the Bitcoin community, and is one of the most, if not the most, well-respected desktop storage apps out there.
Based on Electrum’s site, this holds true. This one is probably one of the best storage options for investors, since it is software-based, rather than online- providing an extra layer of security.
Step 2: choose a Bitcoin exchange
After you have a wallet, you’ll need to register with a ‘fiat-to-crypto’ exchange. This means a company that accepts regular money in exchange for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. In crypto parlance, ‘fiat’ currency is any government-issued money like U.S. Dollars, Euros, or Sterling.
When you buy bitcoin from a fiat-to-crypto exchange, the company sells you cryptocurrency from their own reserves. This means that they can set the price and charge a fee for their service. For this reason, fiat-to-crypto exchanges are sometimes referred to as ‘broker exchanges.’
Some examples of reliable trusted, and secure exchanges include:
Binance Coinbase Coinmama CEX.io Paybis