The Beginner's Guide To Bitcoin: How To Buy and Why You Should
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The Beginner's Guide To Bitcoin: How To Buy and Why You Should

Topic
Bitcoin

I own Bitcoin and plan to keep owning it for years to come.

I believe Bitcoin is the future of stored wealth, maybe the future of money. It's here to stay one way or another.

This article represents my basic thoughts on bitcoin and why I believe every human should own some.

I'm not a crypto expert, but I've read a lot about cryptocurrency.

I have what I consider a basic understanding of decentralization and blockchain and how crypto works in general. I've read a few books on each and listened to a handful of podcasts.

Yet I still consider myself a crypto noob. There are a few reasons why being a crypto noob might be a good thing, but more on that later.

I'm here to lay out a case for why everyone should own some cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin.

The perspective I'm writing from is as a 35-year-old male that has lived in the United States my entire life. I own guns, and I've generally been wary of government most of my life for reasons not pertinent to today's discussion.

I recently bought a few 50lb bags of rice when the 2020 virus came around. I also stocked up on ammo for my small gun collection. I like to go to the range, and I like owning guns, but that's about it. I'm not the tactical type nor a hardcore gun enthusiast. I hope I never have to fire my weapon at another human.

I tell you this to paint a picture so that maybe my perspective here will resonate with you if you're in a similar boat as me.

This article is hoping to help you develop the mindset conducive to long term cryptocurrency holding. This is not investing advice.

Personally, I don't consider owning cryptocurrency investing, similar to gold in that way. I believe it a store of wealth and a tool. The reality is that the way things are going, it will probably become one of the best investments you and I will ever make. I think of that as a bonus.

I'm going to give you the case for crypto and bitcoin and why I believe everyone should own some. I will focus mostly on the security benefits you get from storing wealth in cryptocurrency.

The Case for Bitcoin for the average person

Principle #1: Fiat Dollars Are Not Sustainable

First, we need to establish a fact of our monetary system: the fiat dollar system propping up our economy is not sustainable.

This system will eventually crash and reset. There is no way around this. Understand this is outside of my expertise and purview, so do your research as to why this is the case.

This should be one of your first principles of bitcoin ownership. Since I aim to make all my decisions based on first principles, crypto has become a must-have in my portfolio.

I recommend you research until you can form first principles for yourself. That will strengthen your ability to hold bitcoin for the long run.

In a fiat dollar system, inflation is constant. As inflation increases, bitcoin is likely to strengthen in value relative to the dollar's decreasing value.

If we get runaway inflation in our future, bitcoin will likely skyrocket as millions jump into bitcoin and gold. No one can predict when this will happen, but bitcoin and physical gold are the most likely safe havens for those frantically exiting the dollar.

Hint: you don't want to be one of those frantic souls.

Owning bitcoin is your first defense strategy in protecting your wealth. Think of your Bitcoin holdings as a rainy day fund and an emergency fund while also having a small chance of becoming one of the best investments you've ever made.

Yes, bitcoin could go to zero.

Your cryptocurrency holdings could go to zero, but so could the dollars in your bank account.

The entire world may blow up before either of these happen.

There is risk in everything.

The problem most humans make—and most investors—is they think they can control more than they can. So they buy and sell too often because they believe they can make "good" decisions.

Your defense against an overactive strategy is to do the opposite: avoid doing anything until it's absolutely necessary.

Most financial mistakes happen when selling emotionally (you can make buying mistakes as well, obviously). So focus on buying and avoid selling if at all possible.

Generating wealth is about acquiring assets over time. It's not about buying and selling, which is trading, and is not a path to wealth unless you are a professional trader.

The key to growing wealth is acquiring more assets over time.

The wealthy buy assets and hold them forever. Think like the wealthy, do like the wealthy.

A few years back, I sold some Amazon stock. The stock was around $350 a share at the time I let it go. I made a small profit. Today the stock is worth $2500.

Sure, I made some money on the trade—and generated a tax bill—and probably thought myself smart. In 2020, it doesn't seem smart. And it will probably be less smart into the future as Amazon gobbles up the world and their stock price reflects that. If I held, I'd be along for the ride. Instead, the few thousand dollars I pocketed at the time are poof, gone.

Avoid investing mistakes like this by creating an acquiring mindset.

Become obsessed with owning assets, not just buying and selling them.

This is the mindset you want for wealth creation. And as it relates to bitcoin, this is what you want to be a long term beneficiary of bitcoin's future.

So after you do your research and feel confident about your decision, you can buy and then put your mind at ease.

You won't need to check the market or the news. You don't need to keep studying blockchain technology nor look into whatever ICO nonsense is getting attention.

Just buy on the dips and hold for the long term and before you know it you'll have real wealth.

This is how I think about bitcoin, and my advice is for you to do the same; buy and hold. (This is not investing advice. This is purely entertainment.)

Principle #2: A store of wealth: something to hold, not trade

I'm more interested in the opportunity for bitcoin to be worth $250,000 rather than making some profit by trading on an upswing.

When I buy and hold, I give myself a massive upside potential while maintaining the benefits of owning bitcoin—security, flexibility, and privacy.

This is why my bitcoin strategy is buying and rarely selling.

Assets

I want to purchase assets and own them for life.

Warren Buffet recommends this, yet very few people do this.

Most people foolishly try to time the market and end up making emotional decisions that cost them money. They use a haphazard strategy, or none at all, and respond to the whims of the market. This is why most active investors fail.

Only in a desperate situation should you consider unloading your hard-earned assets.

If you do your research, you can mostly ignore what's going on in the financial news. If things get really bad, you'll hear about it. And even then, you should probably just ride it out. So do your best to ignore the daily price ticker, and the "sky is falling" pundits that profit off the hysteria.

Ignoring the news and market price is how you become a confident buy and hold investor of bitcoin.

How do you buy and hold bitcoin? And how do you know when to buy cryptocurrency?

You don't know. I don't know. No one knows.

This is why I try to keep it as simple as possible and focus on buying.

If you believe the price of an asset you want to buy will be higher in 10 years than it is now, then buy with confidence.

After you do your research and you feel confident in your allocation, buy all at once or dollar cost average in.

Dollar cost average means to buy over time regardless of where the market is.

The theory is if you buy consistently, you'll end up buying higher some days and lower other days, which should then, theoretically, even out over time. I'm not an expert here, but it seems like a reasonable strategy. Of course, if an asset you are targeting is at an all-time low, then maybe you decide you want to buy all at once for simplification.

The key is to avoid trying to time market. So if the current price fits your investing thesis, then buy and forget about whether it goes up or down tomorrow or the next day or the day after that.

This is probably the best strategy for the beginner. You really want to keep things as simple as possible.

It shouldn't matter if you buy a bit higher or lower on any given day since, as a buy and hold investor, you're buying for what will happen 10+ years from now. As long as your investment thesis is sound, you'll do just fine.

Time in the market is what matters so focus on getting in the market in a good spot rather than a perfect spot.

The true case for Bitcoin: if things go haywire

Another bonus of holding bitcoin is the massive upside it has if things go haywire in the economy.

When we hit our next financial crisis, it is likely to be worse than the last one, as they tend to be. And this is going to keep happening for as long as the FED keeps printing fiat dollars and the government keeps going into debt.

This weighs heavily in the positive column for the long term prospects of bitcoin.

Bitcoin has a chance of becoming massively valuable as a result of one of these financial crashes. Then if there is ever a complete financial meltdown—which someday is a certainty at this point—then bitcoin is likely to skyrocket.

Principle #3: Long term mindset

Now that we've covered some of the general principles for owning bitcoin, let's talk about what it takes to be a long term holder.

Don't look at the market.

You'll end up peaking at it from time to time, but do everything you can to avoid it.

If you're the type to get excited or afraid in response to market news, DO NOT LOOK AT THE MARKET PRICES since it will lead you to making rash decisions.

Bitcoin is highly volatile and is going to be for a while. Even the stock market is more volatile than some people can stand.

For the non-professional investor, the way you succeed in investing is to avoid paying attention to the market as much as possible. Set things up to auto-invest so it dollar cost averages in for you. The tools available today are insanely useful, so use them. Then set it and forget it.

‍When the price goes up or down, do you earn or lose money?

You don't; not unless you sell.

This is a common misconception people have when looking at the market.

You hear people often talk about how they "lost money" when the market went down. The reality is, they didn't lose anything unless they sold their shares and realized the loss.

On the flip side, they also didn't "make money" whenever the market went up unless they sold their shares and realized the gain.

This is a fatal flaw in how people think about stocks, and it leads people to making truly dumb decisions.

You don't lose anything or gain anything unless you SELL. Only when you sell your asset do you realize a gain or a loss.

As an example, let's consider the 2009 financial crises that tanked the market. If you had $500,000 in your retirement account before it happened, you might have ended up with $200,000 or less after the "crash."

What you did in response to the market going down is integral to answering whether you actually lost anything.

If you sold during the decline, you would have realized a loss by subtracting what you initially invested from what you received from selling.

If you ended up negative, then yes, you did lose money, but that's not because the market tanked; it's because you sold while the market was tanking.

If you did nothing during the crash and kept your portfolio as is, by 2019, your portfolio would probably have been higher than it was in 2009 (granted you didn't own any of the companies that defaulted and had a mixed diversified portfolio).

Most people that sold in a panic realized a loss yet had they done nothing they would have most likely "earned" back all of those paper losses.

But did most people do this in 2009?

Obviously not.

Many small investors panicked and sold because they had an irrational fear that their account would go to zero. Most should have done nothing.

Yes, some companies went bankrupt. Most did not. Most recovered just fine. And if you had your money in an index fund or other diversified portfolio strategy, your best action was probably no action.

The price the market is willing to pay for an asset has nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the asset.

I rarely check my stock or crypto portfolios.

At the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, my stock account had lost around 35% of its value. What did I do? I bought more. Three months later, it was back up to a higher level than before.

In the future, it will undoubtedly go up and down multiple times. When this happens, am I happy or sad? Well, surprisingly, I'm usually happy when this happens because I buy more.

When it comes to owning assets, ask yourself one question: will this company or asset be more or less valuable in 10 years? If the answer is more valuable, invest. If the answer is less valuable, sell and find something else.

If you don't have the confidence that this asset is something you want to own in ten years, then do more research until you can find something that you can.

The Benefits of owning Bitcoin

This itself could be an article. Let's keep it simple.

1. Mobility

You can go anywhere in the world, and no one can take your cryptocurrency from you. You also don't need to transport anything physically.

2. Privacy

No government can take your crypto away as long as you have it in a private wallet—I'll cover the dangers of keeping your crypto in a public wallet like Coinbase later.

3. Fungibility

Fungibility means every bitcoin has the same value. Your bitcoins won't be worth more or less than someone else's. This is integral to having a stable and trusted money supply.

4. Huge upside potential

There could be a point in the future where Bitcoin is valued at $250,000 or more per coin. (It could also be worth $0.)

5. Bitcoin has the most trust thus far

Right now, Bitcoin has the most trust and branding. It is also “out in the wild” and cannot be stopped or controlled. For another coin to do this seems extremely unlikely to happen. Bitcoin might end up being one of those freak events like the Big Bang.

Just the branding alone makes it the most likely to win in the long run compared to other coins.

Why 2020 changed my mind about Bitcoin

Bitcoin is in a class of its own + Why I no longer recommend alt-coins

I've been pro-cryptocurrency and pro-Bitcoin since I first got into them a few years ago.

Then 2020 happened, and my good opinion of Bitcoin solidified into a must-have first principle for life.

The political and civil turmoil our country is experiencing as I write this in June 2020 made me view Bitcoin in an entirely new light.

It happened when I started considering having a backup plan for leaving the country. As I started contemplating the importance of becoming a global citizen, and after the FED printed 7 trillion dollars in a week, I became a diehard Bitcoin convert.

As I started visualizing myself leaving the country at the first sign of trouble, I thought about taking gold on that journey, or worse, silver. Getting these heavy metals in or out of a different country without anyone noticing does not seem easy.

Then I thought about Bitcoin. I could fly anywhere and have immediate access to my crypto holdings to be used as I see fit, and no one could take it from me or even know I had it. I've always known this was a benefit of crypto, but it wasn't until I visualized myself having to take drastic action that it fully clicked.

The portability, privacy, and security of Bitcoin are why I believe Bitcoin is here to stay. Dollars and precious metals have NOTHING on cryptocurrency in this regard.

Bitcoin vs. Gold

You could own a bit of gold if you want. I sold most of mine. I actually own a bit of silver and little gold and mostly Bitcoin. Here's my article covering my gold buying and owning strategy.

Your allocation strategy will depend on your risk tolerance and how comfortable you feel with each asset. The problem with gold is custodianship—who stores your gold and whether you can trust them in a worst-case scenario.

If a vault holds your gold and the world crumbles, the company will have no incentive to send you your holdings. Maybe the government that controls the jurisdiction of your holdings declares a state of emergency and raids the vault. (The American government did this with the gold act of 1933, so this kind of thing can happen anytime.)

Bitcoin is 1000 times better than gold, maybe infinitely better.

How to buy Bitcoin in 2021

There are many ways to buy and store Bitcoin and many guides for doing so. Do your research.

Here is my strategy for owning cryptocurrency in 2020.

I don't feel comfortable leaving more than a few thousand dollars on Coinbase, a US-based company. The government could outlaw crypto overnight, forcing Coinbase to freeze all of its customer's assets. While this is a low likelihood event, these kinds of things have happened throughout history, and I'm sure the citizens didn't see it coming before it did.

Here is my strategy:

Swan Bitcoin and Coinbase Pro to buy then move to a Trezor.

1. Trezor

This is the gold standard for holding crypto in a private wallet.

2. Use Coinbase pro or Swan to buy Bitocin then immediately transfer it to Trezor (Use Swan to buy daily is the best strategy then auto-fund your trezor.)

3. Split key phrases for ledger and keep in separate places (Not together and not in a place that can be hacked or locked down like a bank vault).

Keep records of where you have your holdings (Trezor, or other wallet) and how to access it.

Keep this in a separate place from your passphrase. You don't want to forget where things are and how to retrieve them. That could be a very costly mistake.

Should you buy altcoins?

No.

I don't like them at all.

I used to own some, but then I dug more into what Bitcoin actually is how altcoins can’t compare no matter how hard they try. Since then, I’ve sold all my altcoins and moved everything into BTC.

I do not believe anyone should own altcoins if trying to store wealth. If you want to gamble, go ahead.

Best cryptocurrency to buy in 2020

This one's easy: Bitcoin.

Nothing comes close.

Nothing can be Bitcoin. Bitcoin took on a life of its own. It is now alive and cannot be shut down or censored or controlled.

It may be one of man's greatest creations.

Buying Cryptocurrency For Dummies

If we summarized this entire piece, it would go like this:

1. Buy Bitcoin a bit at a time. Move large amounts off any exchanges to remove exchange risk and store them on a private wallet.

2. Do not pay attention to the current price. Maybe check once or twice a year.

3. Auto-invest or set up a google calendar to buy a bit each month. Set it and forget it to the best of your ability.

4. Optional: Buy a few of the popular altcoins if you want to add a long-shot opportunity to your portfolio. If you do, be prepared for these to be worth nothing and slowly lose their value over time.

5. Never sell unless it is an emergency and you need the funds.

6. Do as much research as you need to feel confident buying and holding forever.

7. Be a buy and hold investor, not a trader.