How Do You Get Started With Bitcoin?

How to get started using Bitcoin

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I was at an event in London last week after being invited as part of the UK Bitcoin Pioneer initiative to get Brits into Bitcoin. A great chance to meet and put faces to names from the Telegram group, gift people £10 worth of Bitcoin and do a bit of shameless TBM shilling!

What struck me as I spoke to more people though was that about half either didn’t know about Bitcoin or they just jumped straight past it into DeFi, NFTs, chasing moonshots and well… shitcoining basically!

With Bitcoin’s latest Taproot upgrade on 14th November 2021, it got me thinking about the mindset and journey people go on when they start their first few months.

When you’ve been around the block for a few years, you don’t want people to fall in to the same mistakes you did but at the same time, they also need to make their own journey.

However, if I was to do it all again and start my Bitcoin journey from scratch, I’d do it this way. Yes, this process may take longer than just FOMOing in to some pumping shitcoin but be patient! If you sharpen your tools first, your future self will thank you.

Step 1 – Learn What Fiat Money Is First

The fundamental thing to learn about first and foremost is what fiat money is and how it works.

This is something we probably never really give much thought about as we don’t get taught about it at school unless you studied economics or business. For the majority though, your experience with money would probably be limited as a kid.

You get to 16 or 18 years old, then you’re thrust in to the world to find a job and earn this “money” thing from your productivity so you can pay bills and do stuff with if you’re lucky!

This entry in to the “real world” is quite a transformation in mindset but that is where the buck stops for many with regards to understanding money. You work, some numbers come in to your bank account, you spend it, then sleep and repeat.

We do our best here on TBM to help you learn and J-Ryze wrote an excellent easy-to-read article that went through the history of money which we’d recommend reading to help get you started.

This shouldn’t be the only thing you read to help you learn but hopefully it will give you some pointers and you can expand your knowledge further. As we always say, DYOR!

Step 2 – Understand Why Bitcoin Was Invented

Once you have a grasp of where fiat money comes from, how it works and the effects of inflation on your purchasing power, the next thing that will naturally follow with your learning is a high level view of why Bitcoin was invented.

The creation of Bitcoin actually came from decades of previous research in to a peer-to-peer cash system with a permanent, transparent record of all transactions contained within it.

It wasn’t until Satoshi Nakamoto discovered a way to solve the double-spend problem that there was finally a solution for a new money system that was rolled out in January 2009. This solution was Bitcoin.

What Bitcoin does is remove the need for any 3rd party to send money anywhere in the world and allows you to transfer your wealth to another country, just by remembering the password to your Bitcoin wallet.

With all transactions being on a publicly shared ledger, there can be no “funny business” of tampering with records or mismatching transactions as it’s there for all to see, whilst having no need for personal identities.

In addition to that, the money issuance or inflation rate is always known and cannot be changed which offers certainty in what is one of the most uncertain times in recent years.

Step 3 – Learn The Different Facets of Bitcoin

Since it was launched, the Bitcoin money system alone has seen over $1 trillion (that’s 1 with 12 zeroes after it!) of fiat money flow in to it and there is a whole industry now with many facets. There is a LOT to learn and it really does depend on how far you want to go with it.

Some just want to buy Bitcoin, store it safely and wait for a later date. Others want to go the whole hog and learn about the Bitcoin mining industry, set up a node to monitor transactions, post memes, earn Bitcoin rewards… the list really goes on.

As more development and upgrades are happening on Bitcoin, there’s enough to keep you interested for many months and you will learn as you go along.

Step 4 – Play The Long Game

The more you go down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, the more you realise that it is a long term play and I personally take the approach of it being a long term savings account.

I’m aware of the volatility of it in terms of fiat pricing but I’m fine with that if it means an average of ~180% increase over the last 12 years. Although past success isn’t necessary a predictor of future results.

I am also fine with knowing that the way Bitcoin works has been exactly the same for nearly 13 years.

Almost every other cryptocurrency that has come in to existence to try and “be the next Bitcoin” can and has done drastic changes to the way it works and are nowhere near as secure in my opinion.

It’s because of these changes that can be so easily decided by those with the most of that token that I’m not willing to get involved with buying them.

The reason I am so focused on Bitcoin is because it’s monetary system is already set in stone and is known. It’s predictable and changes can’t just be made out of the blue. The majority of the network has to decide on implementing a proposal to the changes and that’s why it has been 4 years since the latest upgrade.

Getting caught up chasing get-rich-quick schemes outside of Bitcoin and listening to too much hype from moonboys is just bad news all around. I’d know, I’ve experienced it and got caught up in the whirlwind myself.

After realising that the long term play is the best with Bitcoin, I don’t want my hard earned money to be lost to some shitcoin that can be changed on a whim. I also don’t want my purchasing power eroded away over time due to fiat inflation so that leaves only one choice for me.

When you know and understand all of this, then this is how I’d start, and finish, with Bitcoin.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide any investment advice. It is for educational and entertainment purposes only. As of the time posting, the writers may or may not have holdings in some of the coins or tokens they cover. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency, as all investments contain risk. All opinions expressed in these articles are my own and are in no way a reflection of the opinions of The Bitcoin Manual

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