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Bitcoin and other crypto services

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Bitcoin and other crypto services: Where to buy bitcoin and how to hold it.

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Crypto books

There are some good books on the subject, such as The Bitcoin StandardThe Bullish Case for BitcoinLearn Bitcoin, or Inventing Bitcoin. If you want to get into deeper technical details, check out Mastering Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Standard

Author Saifedean Ammous takes the reader on a journey through the history of technologies performing the functions of money, from primitive systems of trading limestones and seashells to metals, coins, the gold standard, and modern government debt. Exploring what gave these technologies their monetary role, and how most lost it, provides the reader with an idea of what makes for sound money, and sets the stage for an economic discussion of its consequences for individual and societal future orientation, capital accumulation, trade, peace, culture, and art.

With this background in place, the book moves on to explain the operation of Bitcoin in a functional way. Ammous’ grasp of the technological possibilities as well as the historical realities of monetary evolution provides for an intriguing exploration of the ramifications of voluntary free-market money. As it challenges the most sacred of government monopolies, Bitcoin shifts the pendulum of sovereignty away from governments in favor of individuals, (theoretically) offering us the tantalizing possibility of a world where money is fully extricated from politics and unrestrained by borders.

The Bullish Case for Bitcoin

The Bullish Case for Bitcoin, first published as a long-form article, represents an intellectual tour de force delivered by a polymath well-versed in mathematics, computer science, economics, philosophy, politics, and engineering. Boyapati presents a theory of money, the anatomy of Bitcoin, his reasons it may be superior to the gold and fiat standards that came before it, and the promise that it offers to human civilization. He describes path dependence and the trajectory of a newly monetizing asset, and he addresses the concerns that arise trying to comprehend the essence and significance of this first digital monetary network.

Learn Bitcoin

(L)earn Bitcoin is a guide to deciding why and how you should enter the world of Bitcoin. It presents Bitcoin in different facets from technical, economical, political, and social implications to how it relates to the current monetary landscape. It provides a step-by-step roadmap to navigate this new financial world and sets the reader up with concrete recommendations on how to possibly acquire, earn and store bitcoin.

Inventing Bitcoin

The book deals with the technology behind the first truly scarce and decentralized money.

Buying Bitcoin

There are plenty of places to buy bitcoin and other digital assets, including the major exchanges. Our recommended method of buying is through bitcoin-only services.

Buying through exchanges is fine, but they make most of their revenue from folks actively trading bitcoin, as well as from trading various altcoins that investors often lose money on. Given the current macro-economic environment there is also an increased default risk associated with most exchanges.

Here’s a list of the top Bitcoin invest­ment websites that are “Bitcoin-only” and currently avail­able in 2022.

1. Swan Bitcoin

Avail­ability: Swan is avail­able in all 50 US states as well as most inter­na­tional countries.

About Swan Bitcoin: Swan is Bitcoin investing made easy. Connect any major US bank account, set an amount, and Swan’s daily, weekly, or monthly savings options steadily convert your dollars to Bitcoin savings. You can also choose to buy additional Bitcoin whenever you’d like with the “buy instantly” button.

Swan’s goal is to be the easiest and most user-friendly way to acquire Bitcoin. The team is also focused on educating Bitcoiners of all experi­ence levels. Swan’s mission is to onboard the next million Bitcoin users. 

Features: 

  • Automatic Recur­ring Buys
    Users can easily set up automatic recur­ring Bitcoin buys. Swan believes dollar cost averaging is the most effec­tive way to accumu­late Bitcoin. Select daily, weekly, or monthly recur­ring buys. 
  • Educa­tional Content
    Swan focuses on creating educa­tional content to improve the entire Bitcoin ecosystem. You can read the latest articles from the Swan team and their friends at Swan Signal.
  • Instant Buys
    Buy Bitcoin instantly and be billed for it after­ward via ACH.
  • Referral Program
    Swan is currently offering a referral program. When you refer a friend to Swan Bitcoin, they receive $10 and you receive 25% of their fees
  • Auto-withdrawals
    Users can schedule periodic Bitcoin withdrawals to move a certain amount of Bitcoin to a wallet of their choice.

2. Amber (Australia)

Avail­ability: Amber is currently only avail­able in Australia with plans to expand to Europe soon. 

About Amber: Amber is an app focused on making easy recur­ring buys of Bitcoin. Currently avail­able for both Android and iOS. Amber focuses on clean design and providing a simple way to acquire Bitcoin. 

Features:

  • Mobile App
    Amber is avail­able on both Android and iOS
  • Automatic recur­ring buys
    Users can set up recur­ring buys every day, week, or month. $5 AUD minimum purchase. Users can also make one-time purchases as they desire. 
  • Educa­tion
    The Amber team, led by Aleks Svetski, produces high-quality Bitcoin content that’s avail­able to the public. We recom­mend checking out Bitcoin Times

3. Bull Bitcoin (Canada)

Avail­ability: Bull Bitcoin is a top-tier bitcoin invest­ment platform but it’s only avail­able in Canada.

About Bull Bitcoin: Bull Bitcoin is a fixed rate Bitcoin exchange that enables Canadians to buy, sell, and spend Bitcoins online. Bull Bitcoin is run by self-proclaimed Cypher­punks and Bitcoin Maximal­ists and it shows. As one of the top bitcoin invest­ment sites, they focus on privacy, security, and enabling users to maintain full custody of their Bitcoin. 

The Bull Bitcoin team also devel­oped Cyphernode.io which is a modular Bitcoin full-node microser­vices API server archi­tec­ture and utili­ties toolkit to build scalable, secure apps/services without reliance on trusted third parties. 

Features:

  • Non-custo­dial
    Bull Bitcoin never takes control of users’ Bitcoin. Instead, users are fully sover­eign over their Bitcoin at all times. 
  • Bylls integra­tion
    A service that enables users to pay their Canadian bills by converting Bitcoins to Canadian Dollars. Part of the circular Bitcoin economy. 
  • Automated Dollar Cost Averaging
    Users can schedule recur­ring buys at the frequency they desire (daily, weekly, etc). 

4. Cash App (USA)

Avail­ability: USA

About Cash App: Cash App is an iOS/Android app that offers a Venmo/PayPal experi­ence as well as offering users to buy stocks and Bitcoin. It was created by Square/Twitter which makes it one of the most trusted Bitcoin invest­ment sites. Not to mention, Cash App is one of the most popular finan­cial apps in the app store.

Cash App has a great UX and buying Bitcoin is very fast on it. Square is the first publicly-traded company to sell Bitcoin. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square/Twitter, is very bullish on Bitcoin-only. 

Features:

  • Buy/Sell Bitcoin
    Users can buy and sell Bitcoin through Cash App. $10k weekly purchase limit. 
  • Purchase Stocks
    Users can acquire as little as $1 worth of a US stock.
  • Direct Deposit Paychecks
    Users can elect to have their paychecks direct deposited into Cash App.
  • Cash Card
    Users can receive a Visa debit card attached to their Cash App account. 
  • Inter­na­tional payments
    Users can now send payments between the US and the UK. 

5. Coinfloor (UK)

Avail­ability: Coinfloor is a top BTC invest­ment site, but it’s only avail­able in the UK.

About Coinfloor: Coinfloor is the longest-running Bitcoin invest­ment site in the UK. They started by offering many different cryptocur­ren­cies and then later realized that it was a better business decision to focus on Bitcoin only. In early 2020 they removed support for all assets besides Bitcoin. 

Inter­est­ingly, Coinfloor is the only exchange in the world to provide Bitcoin audits (aka Proof of Reserves) which makes them one of the most trusted bitcoin sites. According to the Coinfloor websites, their services are specif­i­cally designed to serve corpo­rate and insti­tu­tional investors, sophis­ti­cated investors, and profes­sional traders. The minimum deposit was recently reduced from $1,300 to $300. Coinfloor supports just two trading pairs, BTC/GBP and BTC/EUR.

Features: 

  • Proof of Reserves
    Coinfloor publishes a weekly audit of its Bitcoin reserves, hopefully lending some legit­i­macy. Theoret­i­cally, this reduces the risk of finan­cial insti­tu­tions running a deficit without customers being aware.  
  • Automatic Recur­ring buys (coming soon)
    Coinfloor antic­i­pates releasing Automatic Recur­ring buys soon. 
  • OTC trading desk
    Users get access to buy/sell through Coin Floor’s OTC desk. 
  • Bitcoin multi-sig custody
    They take advan­tage of Bitcoin’s native multi-sig capabil­i­ties which can be used to improve security. 

6. River Financial (USA)

Avail­ability: Currently River is avail­able in 8 US states (CA, TX, MA, PA, MD, WY, MT, WI). River intends to be avail­able in 40 US states by the end of 2022. Monitor avail­ability here.

About River Finan­cial: River is focused on finan­cial services for Bitcoin holders. Similar to a Fidelity brokerage account but for Bitcoin. River is looking to differ­en­tiate by offering users access to more advanced Bitcoin technolo­gies including Partially Signed Bitcoin Trans­ac­tions (PSBTs), native multi-sig, and a language called Script Descrip­tors. Being Bitcoin-only enables more resources to be allocated to native Bitcoin features.

Why such limited avail­ability? As a brokerage, River must apply for a Money Trans­mitter License in the US which is done on a state by state basis. The team has invested heavily in this area and they plan on contin­u­ally rolling out new states over time. 

Features: 

  • Recur­ring Buy Orders
    This feature allows users to set up an automatic purchase order of BTC at prede­ter­mined inter­vals. Users who sign up for automatic buys unlock a 20% discount on River fees.
  • Perfor­mance Tracking
    River provides users with some tools to track how well your Bitcoin invest­ments are performing.
  • Deposits and Withdrawals
    Users can add Bitcoin to their River wallet as well as move Bitcoin from River to another wallet. 
  • Insti­tu­tional Accounts
    Enables finan­cial insti­tu­tions to buy, sell, and use Bitcoin. 

Storing Bitcoin

It’s fine to hold a small amount of bitcoin on exchanges, but if your stack starts to grow, it’s a good idea to take self-custody of it or at least some of it.

If you have a few thousand dollars worth of bitcoin, check out software wallets, which are apps you can download on your phone. Our favorite is Muun Wallet, but there are plenty of good ones. The advantage of Muun is that it integrates both Bitcoin and the secondary Lightning layer, and is self-custodial. Any software wallet does take a learning curve.

If you hold five figures of bitcoin or more, it is ideally held in personal cold storage on a hardware wallet, which gives you complete control and avoids counterparty risk. However, you should read up and understand how to do it properly, including backing up a seed phrase, to ensure you don’t lose your coins by mistake via device failure or other issues.

For hardware wallets, Trezor T and Cold Card are good ones, depending on your level of technical interest. Trezor T is a good all-purpose one, while Cold Card is more advanced. For very large allocations, you may want to consider a multi-signature solution like Casa as well.

Casa helps folks hold their bitcoin securely while eliminating single points of failure (such as the risk of losing a hardware wallet or getting hacked on an exchange). They have options for people holding anywhere from a small amount of bitcoin to very large allocations. Their product uses multi-sig, so multiple keys protect your bitcoin, eliminating the risk of loss from simple mistakes. Casa is well known for helping high-net-worth individuals secure their bitcoin. As an alternative, you can also check out Unchained Capital.

It’s also fine to use a trusted custodian if you prefer not to take on the technical responsibility of managing your own private keys.

If money can’t buy your love, maybe bitcoin will do? Copyright: Imago Images

Other cryptos

we are currently preparing the section on other cryptos.

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