A simple, comprehensive guide for those interested in quickly acquiring bitcoins
I've been following bitcoin for a few years. Investing in BTC has a learning curve, but hopefully this guide will help you. I'll try to keep it as simple as possible. And please, if you have any questions post them, the bitcoin community is very helpful and I'm sure someone will be able to help. One more thing before I get started, I'd like to remind everyone that bitcoin isn't a get rich quick scheme. Think of it as a way to eliminate the middle men of money, the people that get rich off of manipulating fiat currencies at the cost of the societies and the world. Believe in bitcoin, not just for personal gain, but for positive effect it could have on the world. Check out this guy's great post: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1bhhjg/any_bitcoin_millionaires_here_on_reddit_if_so/c96rn3p This method uses 'Mt. Gox' in conjunction with 'Bitinstant' which are both trusted sites. Double check that the Mt. Gox site you use has the https:// in the address bar. Quickest method, using cash (you will own BTC in a few hours):
Go to 'Funding Options' on the left and choose 'Bitinstant'.
Copy the 'Exchange Account' number.
Click on the 'Bitinstant' link on the bottom of the page.
On the 'Bitinstant' page, there will be a drop down box where you can choose a location to make a cash deposit that will go into your Mt. Gox account. There are numerous places you can make cash deposits including: Walmart, CVS, Jewel/Osco, and Albertsons.
After choosing the location to make a cash deposit, fill out the rest of the Bitinstant page, including a test or two to prove you are a human.
Click next and after accepting the terms and conditions on the next page there will be a receipt that you need to print out and take to the store where you're making the cash deposit.
Go to store, deposit, funds will pop up in your Mt. Gox account and you are free to trade! Yay!!
Slower method, setting up Dwolla for use with Mt. Gox (takes about 7 days to buy BTC):
Sign up for dwolla at https://www.dwolla.com. Add you bank account information so that you can add funds to your account.
It will take 2-4 business days to verify your bank account (Dwolla will deposit small transactions into your bank account and you will need to show how much they were), in the meantime sign up for a Mt. Gox account at https://www.mtgox.com
Once your bank account is verified, you should fund your dwolla account, which will take about 3-4 business days for the funds to clear.
Once they're cleared, go to Mt. Gox and click 'fund your account'.
Follow steps '3' and '4' above.
On the 'Bitinstant' site, choose 'dwolla' as the funding source.
Follow the instructions on 'Bitinstant' and you will have money in your Mt. Gox account within minutes and are free to trade. Yay!!
Hopefully this guide has helped guide you through the process of buying bitcoin. It definitely has a bit of a learning curve, but I hope I could help. Now, for the long term, you'd want to verify your information on Mt. Gox so that you can make bank account deposits and without the percentage fee that Bitinstant charges, but that process can take a while, especially now that Bitcoin has increased in popularity. Also, once you have bitcoin, it is important to find a safe 'wallet' that you can keep your bitcoins in. There isn't a bank to protect your money for you, you have to be smart and responsible. There are always a lot of posts about good wallet services in /Bitcoin, make sure to choose one that is trusted.
We could use a few more Spartans. Here's what you can do to help Bitcoin today!
BTC is being tossed around like a sex slave by traders lately. This is a guide to quickly investing in a small long position in BTC on Mt. Gox. This essentially raises the ante for the players. If you believe in BTC bu don't have any, this is how to put your money where your mouth is, and now is as good a time as any. On e person with deep pockets is nowhere near as powerful as a multitude of little people in this scenario, and the market is on an enforced pause. If you have Bitcoin but don't want to sell them(or even open your wallet), this method will also work for you. If you have Bitcoin and do want to sell them, it doesn't surprise me that you are reading a wall of text that.....well, what can i say. First the disclaimers. First, there are some who believe that BTC dropping in value could be the best thing for it. I see why that is a possibility, but my counter is that i don't care about the price, i care about stability. Increased stability will lead to more adoption on all fronts (anyone want to do a merchant guide?) and increased likelihood of success. I am not encouraging day trading, i am explaining how to take a long position (a long term bet that BTC will go up vs. $USD). We are just trying to build a decentralized 'floor' to ease the sharp drops. Second, i am not a financial or legal expert. I have read the so called 'guidance' and am very sure that this method is well within the law. I am just describing what has worked best for me so that you can hopefully avoid some of the many missteps i have made along my bitcoin journey. YMMV. Third, yes i know that Mt Gox is having trouble lately, and not the best place to put your money. However, like it or not, Mt Gox is currently the public face of BTC value and where the battle for public opinion is being fought. That's where we nee d the Spartans the most. Last, please post how long this process took you in the comments so that we can get a solid estimate on how fast Spartans can be added to the line in the future. You will need: Pen & paper, cell phone, computer(not smartphone), two hours of time and a little money that you are willing to lose. DO NOT make a bigger bet than you can afford to lose. This is NOT A SURE THING, but every extra Spartan helps, especially right now. Step 1. Go to Mt. Gox and create an account. It's been a while since i made mine, so i don't know how long this takes these days. Don't bother with verification or anything you don't have to. The object is to acquire a Mt. Gox account number. It will be in the form of M********X, where *=numeral. Step 2. Move some money in to the account. If you live outside the control of the US gov't, just do what any normal person would do and move the money into an exchange with a debit or credit card. Enjoy your freedom. Otherwise...... This is the pain in the ass part where you will start to understand what 'freedom' really means. Some will disagree with me, but IMO right now BitInstant->Moneygram->Zipzap->Mtgox is the quickest way. It is the difference between 2 hours (24/7) and two business days. If you want to use a different method, more power to you. Go to bitinstant.com, select your country, and select 'Cash Deposit' on the left. The drop down menu will list Moneygram vendors (CVS, Jewel/Osco, 7/11,Stater Bros, WalMart, etc). Select a vendor that is convenient. The right side should be defaulted to 'Mt Gox',which is what we want. Call the Moneygram vendor to A) ensure that they are open B) ensure that they have a dedicated RED PHONE at their Moneygram station. If they have a kiosk instead of a phone, you're gonna have a bad time, so select another vendor and try again. Grocery stores seem to be the best. While you are on the phone you can continue with the dat entry. Enter your information. They will ask for your Mt Gox account #, your legal name, a contact e-mail, and your date of birth. Don't lie, it's important to follow the law to the letter in a public environment. If you are looking for anonymity, this is not for you. Enter the amount you wish to move. Low numbers are easy, big numbers are problematic. The butter zone seems to be $500. Anything higher and you are likely to get rejected further down the line, and have to start the process all over. The transaction limit seems to be 2/day. The truth is that there has been a lot of 'variance' in people's experience with this transfer, and there i no rhyme or reason to it. I am trying to show you what has worked for me. At $500 your transaction fees will end up at 4.75%, at other amounts it will vary because of the $3.95 fixed fee per transaction. If you have a better deal than 4.75% that can be done in less than 2 days, i would love to hear about it. Play the little game to prove you are human by clicking and dragging the objects around. Vote for your favorites in the comments; i just got 'Put the animals on the ground' which i hereby down vote. There are much better ones. Once you are certain that you Moneygram vendor will meet your needs (RED PHONE!), click the send funds button to move onto the next screen, which redisplays the info and gives you some transaction codes. Take a screenshot or copy the info(or not) and click 'Go' to move to the next screen. Now we are at ZipZap. Enter your phone number and your area code and hit search. You will see a google maps style interface displaying Moneygram vendors. If you select any vendor other than the one you selected back at Bitinstant, you're gonna have a bad time. If your vendor is not available on the list, take note of the ones that are and go back to Step 1. Click 'Pay Here' next to your vendor and then click 'Create Payment Slip'. The two most important numbers are the AMOUNT ($503.95 in my example) and the ACCOUNT NUMBER OF BILL TO PAY, the 9 digit number. If your 9 digit number contains any letters, stop and go back to Step 1. You will not be charged any money if you stop now, but if you try to use letter in the account number you're gonna have a bad time. The 4 digit RECEIVE CODE is also important, but it is a constant 9611. Go to the Moneygram vendor. Tell the cashier you are there to pay for a money order, and ask if they are going to need a manager to complete the transaction, i.e. make sure they have their shit together BEFORE you pick up the red phone, otherwise your gonna have a bad time. If the transaction times out because they aren't ready to take your money, congratulations, you get to go back to Step 1 (tens timeouts seem to be getting longer, around 10 mins, but again, YMMV. My budget is 5 mins, just to be sure. the fine print is something ridiculous like 120 seconds or something). Pick up the red phone and get ready to take the red pill. Follow the prompts with the keypad to enter all your information. This will include your phone number, the amount, the receive code (9611) and the 9 digit acct #. Most likely that will not be good enough (you may get lucky, but definitely not your first time) and so you will be connected to a live Moneygram operator. They will repeat all the info you just entered back to you verbatim and ask you to confirm it. They will also ask for your address. They are looking to check against the address your driver's license (your tax dollars hard at work, the irony is delicious) before the send the money on to Ukraine, who will send it to Japan. They will also ask if you iive in a house or an apartment, IDK why but they do. Once they are satisfied, they will tell you to pay the cashier. Pay the cashier. Cash, debit or a combination of the two. Credit cards may work, too, but idk for sure. Go back to the Mt Gox website. Log in and click on Settings. The second menu item will allow you to be notified every time a trade is completed, which is what you want. Wait for the money. IME it has been 10 to 30 minutes. If you missed ANY detail in the previous steps (i.e. omitted a middle initial in you name as it appears on your debit card, incorrect address spelling, etc...) you're gonna have a really bad time. You will get your money eventually, but you are going to end up in the customer service queue, and they are a wee bit busy at the moment due to this complicated process. You will be waiting a while, and your money will be trapped in transit. Step 4. Set the position. I don't want to get into the details of trading or Mt Gox, i just want to keep it simple. Feel free to expand the discussion below. Here is the gist: you are going to buy low and sell high. Novel concept, i know. Set your floor. This is the crux move. The floor is the price below which BTC will not drop, no matter what, its minimal market value. We want that to increase so that the volatility that just shut down Mt Gox goes away, and sane people start to consider entering the market. Your floor price is your floor price, and every individual person is different, but we can floor $100 if 1,000 follow these steps. Last time the floor was $5. It could get really ugly. That is what we are trying to prevent. So, using my $500 example, i immediately spilt the position, meaning i buy $250 in bitcoin. I know it sounds crazy, but the price doesn't matter. You can duke that out in the comments, but it is true. Now i have $250 in bit coin and $250 in cash, and i'm going withdraw the bitcoin out of mt gox to somewhere else (newbs seem to like blockchain.info). Now i have a minimal (but not zero) investment in bitcoin that is not on mt box. Using my example again, i am going to bid(try to buy) 2 bitcoins at $100. If i am successful, i will still have $50 left, and therefore some cash in reserve. Now it doesn't really matter whether i buy a bitcoin or not at this point, because i have succeeded in establishing the THREAT of buying at $100, which the speculators can see. If enough people do this (and there are already a ton, maybe even enough, but it is too close to call, hence the volatility and the market shutdown) they won't even try to push that low, and we have established a floor. Pick your own floor number. Seriously, you have to pick the number that you really believe in for this to work, that way everybody's floor number is a bit different from everyone else. Now instead of a hard floor at $100 (speculators push price to $101 and then allow growth again) we have a soft floor that is more difficult to see and react to. It is the advantage of being decentralized, which we must continue to use. The last piece of the puzzle is to ask to sell 10 bitcoins. You have none to sell, but mt gox will let you place to order all the same. Don't be greedy here! $60 is plenty of reward for your effort. If you try to take $100 out each time right now, you're gonna have a bad time. The last important point is that every time you get an email that says a trade has been completed on Mt Gox, go back and reset the EXACT SAME trade, even if you lack the funds. So, in my example, i have a bid of 2 coins at $100 and an ask of 10 coins at $140, and $250 cash and 0 BTC in my account, along with some BTC in reserve. Let's run through all the possible scenarios. PRICE goes DOWN and STAYS DOWN. I end up buying 2 BTC. PRICE goes DOWN and then UP. I buy two coins at 100, then sell them at 140. I pocket the $80. If the price goes down again, we can do it again. PRICE goes UP and STAYS UP. We win. There are more fights ahead but they are of a different nature. Cross that bridge when we get there. PRICE goes UP and then DOWN. I end up buying 2 BTC. PRICE dosn't move. This is what we want most. As long as they keep manipulating the price, you keep pocketing $80. This is how the tool that is BTC works. You can't stop them from manipulating price, but they can't stop you from extracting money from them when they do. The less stable the market, the more WARNINGS!!!! Here are the best ways to fuck this up! 1. Getting greedy. If you don't sell at 140 and try to hold on, you risk not having the funds to maintain your floor. don't be greedy. 2. Forgetting to reset the trades. Once a trade is made, you have to reset it to have it available again. 3. ????? Am i missing something? Let us know??? OK, my head hurts form typing, but that't the gist of it. I am sure i missed some details, particularly about Mt. Gox, cuz it's really not my thing, and i appreciate any clarifications y'all may have. Also, i'm not going back and proofreading this, so i am sure the grammar police will visit, and i thank them in advance. If 1,000 do this in the next 8 hours we can start to be taken seriously as a currency, and we will surpass silver in terms of fixed value. Once BTC are worth more than silver, it's only one more step to being worth more than gold.
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