The conversation around Bitcoin has been brewing for years but it exploded in 2017 when the stock reached $19,000. It dipped back down for a few more years until it surged in 2020 and reached new peaks in 2021.
In the past, Bitcoin and other digital currencies were seen as extremely volatile, reserved for investors with extensive knowledge of the market and the world of crypto. Today, that idea has been relaxed a bit, as more governments and institutions recognize it.
Today, the number of retail investors who want to get their hands on this valuable cryptocurrency is growing. In fact, a 2021 survey by the University of Chicago revealed that 14% of Americans invested in cryptocurrency in the past 12 months.
So let’s learn all about where you can get it and when it’s the right time to invest.
How Do You Get Bitcoins?
There are four main ways to get Bitcoins: 1) Purchase on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase or payment service like CashApp, 2) Sign up for an investment brokerage like Robinhood, 3) Find a cryptocurrency ATM or store, and 4) Use a crypto faucet to receive Bitcoins in exchange for completing tasks.
Once you have your cryptocurrency, you need to store it in a Bitcoin wallet. Every wallet comes with private keys and addresses used to access the wallet, which can be internet-based or hardware-based.
- A hot wallet is one that is connected to the internet, which makes it easy for investors to access their Bitcoin. However, it does pose a security risk, as you are susceptible to hacking and theft.
- A cold wallet is one that isn’t connected to the internet, making it the safest way to store your currency. In this case, you print your private keys and addresses and store them somewhere, like a safe or safety deposit box. You can also store that information on a USB or hard drive.
Without your private keys and addresses, it’s impossible to access your Bitcoin. So, it’s imperative that you are careful about where you store this information.
Where to Get Bitcoins
How to Get Bitcoins Fast
These days, you can quickly and easily buy Bitcoins online or offline. It’s just a matter of choosing the right purchasing option for you.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are marketplaces where sellers trade cryptocurrencies in exchange for fiat money (i.e. government-issued currency like the euro) or other digital currencies.
Most exchanges accept bank transfers or credit card payments, and some even accept Paypal payments. They’ll also charge you a transaction fee for every trade you make.
You can choose from hundreds of crypto exchanges, but the most popular and reputable exchanges include Coinbase, Gemini, Binance.US, and Kraken.
Investment Brokerage Firms
An investment brokerage firm is a platform that allows investors to buy and sell stocks and cryptocurrencies.
Companies like Robinhood allow retail investors to trade and invest commission-free, making them highly popular. All you need to get started is an account and the money to buy and you’re good to go.
Recently, payment services like CashApp, Venmo, and Paypal have introduced new features to their online platforms that allow users to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.
For instance, CashApp now has an entire tab dedicated to Bitcoin.
The platform also offers Bitcoin Boost, an opportunity to earn Bitcoin on purchases made with the CashApp card. Think cashback, except crypto.
So, there’s more than just one way to get Bitcoin on these platforms.
Bitcoin ATMs, Stores, and Merchants
If you’d rather buy Bitcoins in person, you have several options to choose from:
- Bitcoin ATMs, which work very similarly to a regular cash-based ATM. You can find one near you through Coin ATM Radar.
- Retail stores, which sell and buy Bitcoin. Visit LibertyX and CoinMap to find ones in your region.
- Peer-to-peer, if you’re interested in buying Bitcoin directly from another person. Websites like LocalBitcoins can help you find people who are willing to exchange Bitcoin for cash.
Currently, there are very few banks that allow the trade and storage of cryptocurrency, including online-only banks Ally and USAA.
How to Get Bitcoins for Free
The examples outlined below are all examples of Bitcoin faucets, which are platforms that offer small amounts of Bitcoin in exchange for completing a task.
While they won’t get you a ton of bitcoins quickly, you can accumulate some over time and use them as a way to learn more about the cryptocurrency.
1. Play Mobile or Online Games to Earn Bitcoins
One of the most entertaining and fun ways to earn free Bitcoins is by playing mobile or online games. That’s right – you can play games on your phone or computer and actually get paid in Bitcoin.
Some serve a lot of advertisements to their users. So, to avoid the ads, you can join a Bitcoin casino, where you bet your own money or Bitcoin on traditional casino games, sports matches, and lotteries to potentially win a higher payout in Bitcoin.
2. Do Odd Jobs Online to Earn Bitcoins
Another way to earn free Bitcoins is by completing tasks on websites. Some companies will pay you in Bitcoin to test their websites, take their surveys, retweet their posts, and complete other small tasks.
There are also websites that let people offer small Bitcoin rewards to the person who can give them the best answer to one of their questions.
You can find odd jobs that pay you in Bitcoin on Cointiply.
3. Write About Cryptocurrency to Earn Bitcoins
Certain cryptocurrency blogs, news outlets, and forums will pay you in Bitcoin to contribute your insights and write for them if you have a lot of knowledge about the industry.
Popular cryptocurrency forums, like Publish0x, reward users for reading and writing articles relating to Bitcoin.
On this site, users can earn Bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies. They can also give tips to authors they enjoy.
Is now the time to invest in Bitcoin?
This answer to this question will vary greatly depending on your financial goals and your risk level.
For instance, younger people tend to take on riskier investments as they have more time to wait out the market while older investors tend to be more conservative.
Cryptocurrencies are still considered volatile in the market, which has led financial advisors to call it a speculative asset – i.e., one that is very risky but can have a huge return on investment. That’s why they recommend only allocating a small portion of your portfolio to Bitcoin.
With any financial decision, consult an advisor who can offer tailored advice and guide you on the best moves to make.
One thing that’s clear is that Bitcoin is more popular than ever and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.