I heard that buying Bitcoin is pretty hard, but figured I could figure it out. I happen to cover blockchain, and am up to speed on some of the newest blockchain and cryptocurrency happenings, so it should be a piece of cake for me. Boy was I wrong. In only a few minutes, I realized how hard securely purchasing bitcoin is. Hours turned into days, and things got more unbelievable. I was shocked with how difficult it is to securely transfer fiat currency to Bitcoin. I knew I could've gone the soft wallet route, like storing my coins on an exchange, but I tried to avoid that at all costs. Online exchanges lack the security I want for a substantial Bitcoin purchase. Unfortunately, I found linking an offline Bitcoin wallet to an exchange a confusing and near impossible task. I learned about paper wallets, journeyed to the bitcoin subreddit, and had my phone number compromised on a Bitcoin exchange. Sounds like a typical bitcoin experience to me.
Sunday11:00 am: Off to the local mall to buy a USB stick to hold my bitcoin wallet. I’ve read and written way too much about online accounts getting hacked, so I want to avoid having my bitcoins online as much as possible. The plan is to hold my bitcoin wallet on my USB drive, taking my wallet "offline". It's the equivalent of a safety deposit box. 11:15 am: Back at my desk. Apparently, I bought the wrong type of USB stick. I need to buy a special encrypted USB to execute my plan. 11:20 am: Looking up a guide on how to encrypt my cute little SanDisk storage stick. It takes only 15 easy steps, including taking out my computer battery and disconnecting from the internet. 11:30 am: The more I read, the more I frustrated I get. If I want to keep my wallet on my computer or regular USB drive, I need to download the ENTIRE bitcoin blockchain before any transaction, which can take DAYS. 11:40 am: I’m a journalist covering bitcoin and blockchain and am currently using a WikiHow article with cartoons as my guide. 11:45 am: Tradestreaming editor, Zack sees my plight and suggests getting a wallet from Ripple, the well known blockchain company. I’m hopeful. My hopes are immediately squashed when I’m greeted with this beauty. 11:50 am: From an article on secure wallets: “To a new bitcoin user, this information might seem daunting. You might have heard of bitcoin losses due to hacks, malware, or perhaps simply human error. We suggest keeping most of your bitcoins in either paper or hardware wallets (or if you have the space, in Bitcoin Core). If you must keep bitcoins in online bitcoins in online or mobile wallets, spread them around in a few reputable websites as recommended above.” 12:15 pm: Just spent the past 25 minutes trying to figure out what a paper wallet is. Here are two answers to the question of "what is a paper wallet," one is made up:
- A piece of paper folded into an origami envelope that holds bitcoins offline.
- A piece of paper with a QR code that serves as a bitcoin wallet or something like that.