Bitcoin is becoming a universally accepted currency, both online and in physical stores. It’s easy to transport, extremely safe and secure, and overall a very convenient way to pay for things. But before you start spending, you have to buy in.

For most users of bitcoin, it’s a simple process – download a mobile app or computer program, get a virtual wallet, and begin sending and receiving Bitcoin. Other users monitor and approve transactions, and your wallet updates every time you open the app.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to quickly purchase your first bitcoin.

Four Steps to Your First Bitcoin

  1. First, do your research. Without a solid, foundational understanding of what Bitcoin is, you are an easy target for hackers or aggressive traders. If you’re familiar with currencies and trading, it will be a quick study; if you’re new to the trading game, check out some classics like Market Wizards by Jack Schwager or Forex Trading by Jim Brown.
  2. Second, find a wallet. Your wallet is a digital place where you store your bitcoin, so choose carefully! There are some with mobile apps, and some without; some are known for outstanding privacy and security, while others leave something to be desired. There are a couple well-established, major players out there, so if you’re new to Bitcoin, please go to our exchanges page to find reputable exchanges.
  3. Third, select an exchange where you will trade dollars, euros, or other types of currency for bitcoin. This is an easier decision, as you don’t need to stick with one exchange. There are a couple different criteria to consider when selecting an exchange:

Payment methods – Certain exchanges only accept specific methods of payment, including credit or debit, MoneyGram, wire transfer, and more. Make sure your exchange is compatible with your preferred method.

Speed of purchase – Sometimes time is of the essence. If you are in a ransomware or other time-sensitive situation, there are exchanges where new users can receive their bitcoin almost immediately

Exchange rate – Just as you would in traditional currency trading, look for the best rate

Fees – Fees vary greatly among exchanges, both in percentage and what action incurs a fee. Think about how you’ll be using your Bitcoin to select the right exchange for you

  1. Finally, purchase your Bitcoin! You may be limited to a certain number of coin or value, but don’t worry; like a credit card, the more established you become, the more you will be allowed to buy.

Of course, there are other ways to receive Bitcoin. You can receive it as payment from someone else, earn it through competitive mining, or exchange bitcoin with someone near you.

How do you know if it’s a good time to buy?

So, you’ve missed the boat on $2 bitcoins. But don’t worry, your window of opportunity to join the community is still open! Now, with the value of bitcoin fluctuating between $1500-$2500, when should you buy?

The short answer is, now. Sure, you may get a good deal buying on Tuesday before the price jumps up on Wednesday, but it will likely fall again on Friday and really, it doesn’t matter much. Cryptocurrency has been on the upswing since its inception, and the value of coins will likely continue to rise, even (or, especially) after all 21,000,000 coins have been mined. Now is as good of a time as any, so get to it!