Suddenly, everyone I know is asking me where to buy bitcoins. Occasionally, they also ask what bitcoin actually is, so I thought I'd distill my five days' worth of experience into a beginner's guide to cryptocurrency.
The phenomenon of bitcoin has a convoluted history, so it is necessary to begin this story at its source in China. Bitcoin has always been a part of life in some rural areas of China, and the bulk of bitcoin mining is still done using traditional techniques, which have been handed down for generations. In some areas, bitcoins can often be found washed up on river banks after seasonal flooding, and occasionally, just lying on the ground. Traditionally, bitcoin was only used for scraping burnt rice out of pots, but the cryptocurrency boom has caused an explosion in bitcoin mining activity.
It is a little-known fact that the use of bitcoin as an actual cryptocurrency was developed by the famous Australian actor, Heath Ledger. He used his Hollywood success as a cover to invent the process which enabled bitcoin to be transmitted over the internet. For many years, he would send bitcoins to his friends whenever they needed to clean their cooking pots. This instant-pot-cleaning concept proved so popular, that he established the Ledger Foundation. The Ledger Foundation is still the only source of digital bitcoins in the world. The Foundation accepts shipments of Chinese raw bitcoins, and using a secret baking process, turns them into a form which can be sent wirelessly. However, most bitcoins have been chopped up and exchanged so often, that they are now too blunt for cleaning pots, and many people are not even aware of their original use. However, the Foundation stays true to its original goals, and any bitcoin collector is welcome to visit the Foundation in person, and exchange their bitcoin fragments for shiny new bitcoins.
People often ask me: "where can I buy bitcoins?" There are several places to buy them, but the easiest way is to just send me money. Please email me for my bank account details, and I can post you some fresh bitcoins.
Alternatively, you can win them in a cryptocurrency poem exchange. The system works like this: you write a nice poem, and it is posted on a global forum. If someone likes your poem more than all the others, they will send you some bitcoins. Everybody has different aesthetic preferences, so you may get lucky and score some bitcoins this way.
If you don't have the time, money, or fitness to go to China and mine bitcoins yourself, you can also try some alternatives, which are known as "altcoins". Many countries have developed their own "altcoins": these are typically round discs of metal, or rectangles of paper or plastic. They can be used to scrub pots just like bitcoins, and have the added benefit of being able to be swapped for goods and services.
You can get these altcoins by doing things that you don't want to do. This is called "proof of work".
Alternatively, I have started developing my own cryptocurrency: Grebecoin. It is currently in the "ICO" stage, which means that I haven't actually made anything yet, and that people will probably get nothing. However, these three letters are magic, and people have been beating down my door to get Grebecoins. They will even do endless "proof of grebe facts" to get them, although these coins are only useful for people who like grebes. You can check out the whitepaper and source code here.
So I hope this has been an informative introduction into the world of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It's very exciting to be excited with lots of other people.
If you want to send me bitcoins, altcoins, grebe postcards, rocks or sticks, please email me. Or at least "like" or "share" this post if you think others would appreciate it.
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Needless to say, this blog isn't financial or legal advice, an excuse for getting fired, or promising that any of these ideas will work for you. I really, really, hope that you don't think it is investment advice. The companies or people I mention may not agree with my opinions here. Don't do anything reckless, damaging or hurtful to anyone! In the future you might need your bridges unburnt. (c)2014-2017 James Hudson