The number one thing to know is probably that it’s too late to be an amazing BitCoin speculator unless you have a knack for that kind of thing.
I do not have a knack for gambling.
I panic in casinos and feel overwhelmed by sadness when I watch others gamble. Then I try to run away until I’m invariably reminded by the person I’m with that drinks are cheap and there’s a dancefloor where people who have already been drinking for hours are dancing to a Prince cover band.
Nothing in this world is better than people drunkenly dancing to a Prince cover band. Nothing.
I have been pretty skeeved out about gambling since way back when I’d whine and ask if I could just keep the money my grandmother gave me instead of having to play the games at the carnival. She would say, “Take a chance!” and I would tell her (again) about my horrible fear that there was no possible way to win. (Later, I found out this was true, as many carnival games are rigged.)
Of course there is an exception to my anti-gambling (for me, I don’t care if you gamble) stance. Back when the economy crashed in ’08 I had a couple bucks lying around and when the auto industry was in a shambles I picked my pony and bought some Ford stock. I tripled my money and my only regret was not putting everything we owned into it at the time.
When it comes to gambling (which the stock market IS) I am the master of hindsight and could-have would-have should-have. Another prime reason why I don’t gamble – I’m a really sore loser, even when I’m winning. Then I took my $500 in winnings and – you’re going to love this – I bought Facebook stock during the IPO. I know, see, now you understand why I don’t gamble! I sold before I lost too much of my profit and, overall, came out $300 ahead between the two transactions and the taxes on my capital gains. Which is good, because we later needed this money to survive.
(This is where I wanted to insert a picture of Marge Simpson pulling the emergency fund jar out of her hair, but I went on Google Images trying to search for that and for the first time ever I seriously considered turning safe search on. I had no idea there was so much Simpsons porn on the Internet.)
The worst part? This experience will totally not keep me from being surprised the next time I look up something TOTALLY INNOCENT on the Internet.
So, do me a favor and pretend you remember the one episode of The Simpsons where Marge pulls out this huge jar filled with money from her hair. Thank you. Now we can all be on the same analogy page. That example illustrates pretty much exactly how I hoard money in my PayPal account for emergencies. PayPal is like my very own Marge Simpson rainy day fund. Also, I’m reflecting on how much time it took to make that point.
Okay, moving forward.
This guy on Reddit bought $30,000 in BitCoin when it was worth $14 a coin. There are several updates to the original post and it’s really interesting. He sold some when the market went higher to pay off the debt of the credit card, etc.
See, that’s the kind of thing that makes me armchair quarterback my decisions and think, “Maybe gambling isn’t so bad. Plus, I can live on the stuff in the meantime because it’s money, right?” Well…maybe if I lived in San Francisco where Kashmir Hill lived on BitCoin for a week. Here in the Chicagoland area, well, here is a list of the places in Chicago you can shop at with your BitCoin (Updated June 13, 2013).
You might starve, but you can wear your band tshirt while printing out fliers for your band before you collapse from not being able to buy sustenance! It’s an interesting concept, and if there was one place on earth that I could actually shop at with BitCoin, I might buy one just to see what happens with it. The prices, however, fluctuate wildly and it’s really far closer to a wild speculation than an investment at this point. As I’m pretty sure I’ve demonstrated copiously in this article, I’m risk-averse, so I’ll be staying away from it for now. That being said, if I can find a retailer that accepts it…it just might be worth a small risk.
If you are interested in the buying and selling of bitcoins, there is a multi-part article on ZDNet that explains how to do exactly that. You can find Part 1 of How to Buy and Sell BitCoins right here. Part 1 is the theory of buying and selling and then in Part 2 the author covers how the theory actually works in real life.
What is your opinion of BitCoin? Would you buy it? Have you bought it? Had you even heard of it? Do you think it’s the currency of the future?
I need to add here that during the writing of this article, Mr. Brickie kept yelling from the other room, “BitCoin is illegal, it is not a real currency! The Feds are going to crack down on that so don’t you dare buy any!” Because he cares enough to want to keep me out of prison. So romantic!