Buying my first coin. Its not as easy as it seems.
I have been really interested in buying bitcoin lately. The hype around it has been exceptional for the past few weeks. After discussing with friends the idea of buying these coins now seemed like an awesome idea. I had heard of friends day trading coin and even an acquaintance that bought a new porsche off his sale of bitcoin. I’m pretty conservative when it comes to money and I don’t have a fabulous bankroll to just dump into risky or spur of the moment investments. I have a normal desk job and I haven’t done any investment other than my 401k at work. What I do have is about 3,000 dollars in my PayPal account that I have collected from selling old car parts and computer equipment on ebay. My intent has been to save for a fun weekend style project car. I figure I can risk some of that to play with bitcoin and maybe upgrade from a project car to a sweet porsche. I am really treating this whole experience like a trip to Vegas. I’m not going to stake my entire nest egg on the gamble, but if bitcoin takes a huge dive and I loose my 1,000 dollar investment, I won’t be eating ramen for a month.
So now I am committed and I have 1000 bucks ready to blow but I am still hesitant and want to do research. I looked at sites like howtobuybitcoin.com and reddit. What I learned quickly is that its not that easy to just jump in a buy some coins. It’s much more like trading stocks than just going down to the money exchange and swapping out Dollars for Euros. According to the research it seemed like the best place to start was coinbase. They are one of the cheapest and have a pretty good interface. My next step was to add money to a coinbase account. Coinbase has 2 options for linking your bank account. The first being to give Coinbase your username and password to your online account and they would verify it that way. That seemed super shady and I definitely was not going that route. The other option was that Coinbase will drop 2 small deposits into your account and then you would have to verify those amounts. This is standard practice with paypal so it seemed legit but it takes 2-3 days. I did this and got my account up. The problem with Coinbase is that it is insanely popular and they have a limit on how much coin can be bought in a day. With the high demand I wouldn’t be able to get a coin for almost a week. This doesn’t fit my timeline so I gave up and tried a different route.
I then got pointed in the direction of bitfloor. Instead of linking a bank account with bitfloor you send them money to put in their account. This seems a little shaky as well but I am in for the risk. They also have 2 options 1 being wiring them money and another which involves depositing money directly into their account using a service called opentill. Opentill will let you depost funds into their account by going to a Bank Of America branch and depositing cash directly there. Since this is modern day the thought of physically going to a bank to buy a digital coin seemed backwards to me. I went the wire route not only because I can do it at home but I’ve always seen millionaires in movies “wire” vast sums of money to people so that sounded much cooler. I use Chase’s online banking system and it was easy to setup the wire to bitfloor’s account online. I did this at around 10pm and Chase said they would need to verify the recipient which seemed normal to me since it was off business hours. This is where my worst fears would come true. I would have to go into the bank and deal with a person. Chase red flagged my account and only told me I needed to show up to a branch with 2 forms of ID to unlock.
So I drag myself to the bank to get my account fixed so I can do things like pay bills again. I end up having to sit down with a bank manager and they have to call the fraud department. I start to freakout a bit. Bitcoin is a little shady and the anonymity of it is appealing to criminals so I am not sure whats going to happen. The bank manager makes several phone calls and types on his computer. I’m sitting there not knowing if he’s just going to re-open my account or if a bunch of cops are going to kick down the door. Twenty minutes later my account is free and the manager explains to me that the wire request I made was to an account that was well known for fraud and they assumed my bank account had been hacked. While walking out of the bank, I see a tweet from Bitfloor saying that Bitfloor is having it’s US bank account closed and they are shutting down. I guess Chase helped me dodge a bullet, but I still have my goal of getting some coin.
After researching for another day, it seems that camp.bx is the way to go. Other than their cheesy logo, they seem to be pretty good. The interface is good, they offer 2 factor authentication, and they accept dwolla for deposits. They are also located in the United States, so that is comforting as well. It took a couple of days but since my Dwolla account got linked to Camp.bx it was very easy to place my order. I started out with just buying one coin, but I got it immediately which was awesome!
Now that I have one coin I feel I need to collect them all. The process to becoming a bitcoin millionaire is much harder than originally thought. Just getting into the system takes a lot of time and frustrations. I still have a lot to learn and have a lot of concerns about security. I now have this invisible thing that I paid over 100 dollars for and I want to learn more.