Why you might want to own some bitcoin (and how to do it responsibly)

A curriculum developer’s guide to learning Bitcoin in 2021

You can store bitcoin on this lil guy.
  • Skin in the game & off the exchange
  • What is money?
  • Choose your own adventure
  • I’m still having doubts
  • Improve your self-custody setup
  • Practice with testnet
  • Buy more bitcoin
  • Upgrade your opsec
  • Join the community
  • Next steps
  • Internet connection
  • Email address
  • Bank account
  • A few days/weeks to determine if you want to buy more
  • A few days/weeks to improve your bitcoin security
  • I fell down the Bitcoin rabbit hole last year.
  • I’ve been giving tailored Bitcoin Q&A sessions to interested friends and family.
  • It’s more engaging to use tools before reading a detailed explanation
  • Control your bitcoin when you’re ready (learn non-custodial tools)
  • Stay focused and avoid altcoins (use bitcoin-only tools & services)

Introduction to Bitcoin

I like starting with a general introduction. Watch this video to learn what bitcoin is, why it’s different from current systems you already know (like banking), and how it might affect all of us in the future.

Skin in the game & off the exchange

The best way to learn is by doing. First, you’ll buy a small amount of bitcoin through an exchange service. Then you’ll withdraw that bitcoin to a wallet on your mobile device.

A reminder of the basics (5 minutes)

Get a wallet (15 minutes)

You’ll start with the Casa Wallet — a bitcoin-only software wallet that you can download on your mobile device. It’s a good option for first-time Bitcoiners and for securing smaller balances.

  • Sign up for a Casa account. (Consider signing up pseudonymously. These sections of the post are relevant for this guide: “Use a pseudonym or alias,” “Use an email that isn’t tied to your identity,” and “Use a VPN.”)
  • Set up your wallet. Follow the instructions in this support article.

Buy some bitcoin and withdraw it to your wallet (30 minutes)

In this section, you’ll sign up for an exchange service, buy some bitcoin on the exchange, then send that bitcoin from the exchange to your wallet.

  • Buy bitcoin on the exchange service. Again, a small amount.
  • Withdraw the bitcoin to your Casa Wallet. Find and click the exchange service’s Withdraw Bitcoin button. Open your Casa App. Click Receive. Copy the address shown and paste it into the address field the exchange provided. Click to request a withdrawal. The exchange will send bitcoin to your Casa Wallet, which usually takes ten minutes to an hour depending on the exchange service and the activity on the Bitcoin network.
The Receive button displayed in the Casa Wallet.

What is money?

Dive deeper into the question at the core of Bitcoin.

What is money? Magic Internet Money answers that question in the context of Bitcoin as it relates to cryptography, economics, finance, governance, and more.

Choose your own adventure

Bitcoin is different things to different people.

The goal of this section is to determine if you want to buy more bitcoin. Pick and choose from the topics (technology, finance, society, etc.) that interest you most.

  • Finance
  • Economics
  • Price projections
  • Society
  • Law & Politics

Technology

Finance

Economics

Price projections

Society

Law & Politics

I’m still having doubts

There are usually two kinds of doubts at this stage: not convinced to buy more and/or not confident about storing a larger amount.

I’m not sure if I want to buy more bitcoin

These resources clear up common misconceptions about Bitcoin.

I want more bitcoin, but I’m not confident I can store it safely

That’s normal —Bitcoin has a learning curve. Read the rest of this guide to see if you’re up for learning how to self-custody a meaningful amount of bitcoin. If you’re still not confident, do not proceed to the next step. Buy some custodial bitcoin, then learn more. Some custodial options:

  • Buy a bitcoin investment vehicle: the world’s first Bitcoin ETF is BTCC, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. GBTC is a popular option in the United States. Watch out for their premiums.
  • Buy bitcoin on CashApp or PayPal.

Improve your self-custody setup

If you want to own a meaningful amount of bitcoin, you’ll likely want to upgrade your self-custody setup. First, review your current self-custody setup. Then learn about possible upgrades to that setup.

Practice with testnet

Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, so it’s wise to practice using your wallet before you self-custody a meaningful amount of bitcoin. Fortunately, an alternative Bitcoin blockchain called testnet exists for learners and developers to experiment. Testnet coins (TBTC) are separate and distinct from actual bitcoins (BTC) and do not have real value as an asset.

How you’ll feel the instant you send your first meaningful amount of BTC without practicing.

Buy more bitcoin

First, decide how much of your portfolio you want to allocate to bitcoin. The following is evergreen investment content from Lyn Alden (in tweet form, in audio form):

I tell my clients to do their own homework (from my research and others) and risk manage their position size relative to their level of conviction and unique financial needs/goals.

A 1%-5% allocation has become increasingly mainstream in this macroeconomic environment. You limit your risk while still having exposure to bitcoin’s massive upside.

Upgrade your opsec

If you haven’t already, upgrading your online operational security (“opsec”) is a good next move.

Join the community

Twitter is one place where the Bitcoin community gathers. hive.one provides an algorithmically ranked list of accounts to follow. I also compiled a list of the people in this guide.

Next steps

This is where I’m at right now. I don’t have any personal experience learning or teaching next steps to form an opinion, so I’ll point you towards bitcoin-intro.com. Here’s what I’m experimenting with next:

Curating the internet’s best data science program.

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