How To Buy Bitcoin—Advice From Your Trusted Financial Adviser

December 25, 2017, 8:00 AM UTC
Digital Cryptocurrency Bitcoin : Illustration
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Hello, 21st century investor! As you wandered among office holiday parties this season you may have heard some people discussing “Bitcoin.” You want to get in on it, but you don’t know how. Well I’m happy to help. As a well-informed commerce-haver and informal financial adviser who recently spent the past couple of days performing top-level Internet research on so-called crypt-o-currency at my local library, I can walk you through everything you need to know about Bitcoin and how to get rich.

Step 1: Buy a computer

Bitcoin is a complicated digital currency that many people don’t fully understand, not even me, which is why you’re going to need a computer with Internet access so you can do lots of Google searches for things like “what is Bitcoin” and “how do I buy Bitcoin” and “who do I sue if I lose all my money to Bitcoin.” But, you’ll also need a computer to buy the Bitcoin, through something called a currency exchange. So you need a computer to do it, and a computer to help you figure out how to do it. This is called a Catch-22. I think. I would look up what that means but I don’t own a computer at the moment.

Step 2: Have a lot of money

One Bitcoin is worth about $19,000. That’s about 19 times what I charge for an hour of professional financial advice. (Don’t worry, I’m not charging you to read this! Only if you get all the way to the end.) So what do you do if you don’t have $19,000 but you still want to buy Bitcoin? This is a question I get all the time, and the answer is surprisingly simple: ask your family for money. The holidays are a great time to do this, because people are in good spirits and usually drunk, and they’re willing to say yes to all sorts of things. I save all my big asks for Christmas Day. Plan on waking up early so you can pick off your family members one by one as they wake up, rather than doing some sort of awkward group-ask that would let them confer and decide it’s a bad idea. If it helps, tell them “it’s an investment.” If they ask what that means, give them my number. (Don’t tell them my rate, I bring that up at the end of the first session.)

Step 3: Woah, did you know there are other crypt-o-currencies out there?

A couple of guys in suits at the industrial park where I’m writing this advice column on the back of a Subway sandwich napkin just walked past me talking about something called “Ethereum,” and the first guy said it was “the next Bitcoin,” and the second guy said he had a friend who bought some of it recently and made a lot of money. Then the first guy—sorry this is sloppy, trying to write it down before I forget what they said—said there was another one called “Lite Coin,” and it was approaching a “hard fork” (I may have misheard), and the second guy nodded and then they walked to their cars, and they were newer models, I think one was an Acura. Their suits were really nice, one had pinstripes.

Step 4: Mitigate the risk of volatility by diversifying, while employing price-fluctuation-avoidance tactics like “buy and hold” to withstand financial pitfalls of the “hype cycle”

Not sure what this means, I copied it down from a story I saw on

Step 5: Believe

In the end, these new currencies are only as strong as the people who trust them and believe in their stability. It’s like Santa Claus—if nobody believed in Santa, he would disappear, like in the movie “Elf.” But then the Zooey Deschanel character gets everyone in Central Park to sing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and Santa’s sleigh become powered by their beliefs, and he flies away and gives everyone their presents. This is the basic model of Bitcoin and is the main reason it’s reliable: everybody believes in it, forever. I know that sounds a little crazy, but the power of collective belief can get you through anything, not just digital currency. In fact it’s that very same source of belief that gives me strength in my personal religion. It’s a new religion, called Ripple, but it has the same basic tenets as all the good religions out there. I recently found out about it from another pair of guys in suits talking in this very same industrial park, and they had me convinced as soon as they said the words “frictionless enterprise blockchain.”

I hope this has been helpful to you, and by reading to the end you have tacitly acknowledged that I have provided useful financial advice at my usual rate. You can pay me using Venmo, which is the name of a guy who thinks he’s from the future and wanders through here every now and then. If you see him just give him the money and tell him it’s for me. You can trust him—he’s also my financial adviser.

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