How to buy, sell and store Bitcoin

How to buy, sell and store your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Be sure to read my other articles before this one, as this one is more advanced.

The Bitcoin Bubble
Cryptocurrency & Bitcoin – Here’s What You Need To Know

Some perspective on the matter

With over 5 million worldwide monthly searches, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies (crypto) are fast becoming the hot new money-making topic. We’ve seen the price of Bitcoin shoot up from US$1,000 at the start of the year to over US$19,000 at the time of writing this article, as the demand for the crypto fast outpaces supply. Alternative cryptocurrencies, “altcoins”, such as Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and a multitude of others have all experienced phenomenal growth (some up to 10,000%) as the hype of crypto spreads around the world. The #1 app in the iOS app store is currently Coinbase, a crypto brokerage app.

 Fun fact, an early Bitcoin user once purchased 2 pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins, which at the time was about $40 USD. The value of that pizza is now US$188 million!

Fun fact, an early Bitcoin user once purchased 2 pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins, which at the time was about $40 USD. The value of that pizza is now US$188 million!

Even though everyone is talking about Bitcoin, there are over 1,500 other cryptos. It’s probably worth saying that that over 95% of these are rubbish – or 100% if you’re not a believer. However, there are some coins which may impact finance and economics forever, including Bitcoin.

That being said, for people looking to get onto the crypto train it can seem extremely confusing from an outside perspective on how to get started. In this post, I’ll look at 5 different websites to buy and sell cryptocurrency, and also provide some information on how to safely store your digital funds.

Where does one buy?

To get started in crypto you’ll need to buy some with your “real money” at what’s known as a broker, a third party that facilitates the buying and selling of the digital coins. When comparing brokerage websites to buy and sell crypto there are a few variables to weigh up.

  • What is the buy price?
  • What is the sell price?
  • Where are they located?
  • Can you actually sell your crypto there?
  • How long have they been around?
  • What is the liquidity or volume available?
  • Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) available for added security?

Using a simple method of weighing up the variables we can quite easily determine trusted and reliable places to buy and sell crypto. Most brokers and exchanges have a somewhat tedious signup process. Usually this involves verifying your identification using your licence, passport or other type of identification card. This is done for good reason, as reputable brokers are required to Know Your Customer which helps prevent scams, theft and money laundering. If you find a broker that doesn’t ask for this, be wary.

What is Two-Factor Authentication or 2FA?

It’s worth a mention the importance of  2FA. All reputable brokers will offer 2FA which is essentially another layer of security where the user has to provide another piece of information to access their account apart from their username and password. This could be a code sent to your phone via SMS or through the use of an app such as Google Authenticator. You should ALWAYS use 2FA when available.

5 popular exchanges

Coinbase (I use this)

  • Established in 2012
  • US based
  • Currently operates in 32 countries worldwide.
  • Largest and most popular broker
  • Limited to only Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin
  • Does not yet allow selling of crypto for AUD (I will address this)
  • Usually has the lowest purchase rates
  • Fee of 3.99% per purchase
  • Can only purchase with credit/debit card

 

CoinSpot (I also use this - do your research though as there as been some issues with transactions & ASIC in the past)

  • Founded in 2013
  • Australian based
  • Massive selection of cryptos to choose from including Bitcoin
  • Allows buying and selling
  • Spread (different in the buy/sell cost to you) is more expensive than Coinbase
  • Fees range from 2% to 3% depending on the coin purchased
  • Multiple payment methods including POLI, BPAY or cash

 

CoinJar (I do not have a CoinJar account)

  • Founded in 2013
  • UK based with large presence in Australia
  • Allows buying and selling
  • Limited to only Bitcoin
  • Spread is more expensive than Coinbase
  • Fees up to 2.5% depending on payment method
  • Payment options include BPAY, POLI, Blueshyft
  • Has associated EFTPOS card for spending Bitcoin at any EFTPOS terminal

 

BTC Markets (I do not have a BTC Markets account)

  • Founded in 2013
  • Australian based
  • Allows buying and selling of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Bcash
  • Spread is more expensive than Coinbase
  • Variable trading fee up to 0.85% + $3.30 depending on deposit method and volume
  • Payment options include BPAY and POLI

 

 

CoinTree (I do not have a CoinTree account)

  • Founded in 2014
  • Australian based
  • Only allows buying of Bitcoin
  • Allows exchanging of Bitcoin to large selection of altcoins
  • Allows buying and selling
  • Spread is often up to 4% more expensive than Coinbase
  • Bitcoin buying fee of 3%
  • Payment options include POLI or cash transfer

All of these brokers, apart from Coinbase, allow the buying and selling of crypto with your Australian Dollars. Coinbase, although offering the lowest price to purchase crypto, do not support cashing out said crypto for Australian Dollars. This is mainly because they are US based and do not meet the Australian regulations regarding money laundering. This does add a small inconvenience but this is not really an issue considering the lower price you’ll pay.

I personally only use Coinbase and Coinspot.

How to store cyrptocurrency?

glen james how to store currency

When you purchase crypto via a broker you are storing it in the brokers crypto “wallet”. Essentially you are allowing the broker to hold your funds in a wallet they control and trusting that they will give you continual access to that wallet. We can assume to some extent that any large broker is trustworthy, but you are still taking on unnecessary risk leaving your digitals coins there. Luckily there is a simple way to avoid this – moving your funds to a wallet you control entirely.

Any and all crypto is stored in what’s known as a digital wallet. A wallet is simply a place used to store, send and receive cryptocurrency. A wallet consists of a public key, which is also known as the wallet address, and a private key which is essentially the password to access said wallet. To try explain this in simpler terms. Your wallet is an unbreakable and secure mailbox, it has its own address that people can send stuff to. You have one key that allows you to access the stuff that’s inside and also allows you to send stuff from it.

Each wallet will have its own unique private key, you lose the key, you lose access to the wallet and any funds that were in the wallet. In fact, some early adopters of Bitcoin have lost access to wallets that have millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin stored in them.

There are numerous Bitcoin and/or crypto wallets available that allow you to control your public and private keys. So how do you actually get a wallet, and how do you know the right one to pick? Firstly, there are different types of wallets.

Types of cryptocurrency wallets

Hot Wallet

exodus crypto glen james

A hot wallet refers to a wallet that is online and connected in some way to the internet. Usually this is a piece of software or app that you run on your phone or computer. This is the easiest way to store your crypto but also the riskiest (apart from brokers and exchanges) due to being exposed to the internet. You could get a virus or have your device compromised in some way. Therefore, it is not recommended to keep large amounts of crypto in a hot wallet, only a smaller percentage that you may want there for easy access.

Some hot wallets available are:

Exodus: https://www.exodus.io/

Electrum: https://electrum.org/#home

Jaxx: https://jaxx.io/

 

Hardware Wallet

trezor glen james

A hardware wallet is a special type of wallet which stores the user's private keys in a secure device. It is an actual separate device that is not always physically connected to your phone or computer, you only connect it when you want to access it. This means your funds are protected by a physical barrier and are immune to viruses that can potentially compromise other devices.

Some hardware available are:

https://shop.trezor.io/

https://www.ledgerwallet.com/

https://www.keepkey.com/

 

Cold Storage

Cold storage refers to keeping a reserve of crypto completely offline. This is often a necessary security precaution, and is akin to stashing your money in a safety deposit box. Common methods of cold storage include keeping crypto:

  • On a USB drive or other data storage device locked away in a safe place.
  • On a paper wallet stored in a secure place.
    • A paper wallet involves printing or writing the crypto address and private key on a physical piece of paper.

How you store your crypto will probably be a mixture of the above methods. For example, storing some offline for the long term, leaving some in a hot wallet for faster access, and perhaps some on an exchange for trading.

Cashing out

When it comes to cashing out your crypto into dollars it is just a matter of transferring the funds to a broker of choice. For example, say you purchased Bitcoin on Coinbase last month and now you ready to cash out (remember Coinbase don’t allow selling into Australian dollars), you can transfer the Bitcoin to another broker such as CoinSpot and cash out there.

5 things to remember when dealing with Bitcoin or any other crypto currency:

Do your own research. Don’t take any one person’s advice or opinions
  • Do your own research. Don’t take any one person’s advice or opinions, even this article (use this in conjunction with other information). Cast your net wide and do your research.
  • Don’t buy any form of crypto (or any investment product for that matter) if you can’t explain what it is and how it works. There are hundreds of different types of cryptos, if you are buying into one you should know what it is.
  • Do not put in money that you cannot comfortably afford to lose. Crypto markets are EXTREMELY volatile and you could lose all your money in a matter of minutes.
  • Never buy out of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). If you rush and make emotionally charged decisions it will usually end badly.
  • At the point, I would like to compare it to gambling and not investing. If you want to invest wealth and get rich slowly like I do – there are many other ways.

GJ

Thanks to guest & co-blogger Jason from Healthy Wealth who has researched this article and provided the leg work. Search HealthyWealthAU on the usual social media. Click here for Facey and Insta.

 Glen James Sort Your Money Out

Glen James
Sort Your Money Out

 Jason Smith Healthy Wealth

Jason Smith
Healthy Wealth

Note from Glen James: I am not telling you which digital coins that you should purchase nor stating you should purchase any. The above is for information purposes only and if you do decide to purchase, I want you to be informed. I am purely giving you some examples of places you can purchase and which exchanges I use. If you are after some personal financial advice regarding your personal situation (not related to cryptocurrency) you can contact me through the form on the homepage.