My First Bitcoin

first bitcoin
17 aug 2015

My First Bitcoin

By Jean Christofferson

I just bought my first bitcoin but it feels anticlimatic and unsatisfying. I can't touch it. I don't even have it yet as it is pending. It doesn't seem right that it won't be in my digital wallet for 5 business days. With all the speed of the internet why is it taking so long? I can order something from Amazon and have it on my doorstep the next day. Online transactions of all types occur instantaneously. I have come to expect instant gratification.

I always planned that RelevantBlue would accept bitcoin but actual implmentation was stuck in the backlog of features yet to make the current sprint. One of RelevantBlue's beta customers is the Internet Archive and their very first mailing was an invitation to a premier of "Life of Bitcoin." Inspired by Austin & Becky Craig, I set off on my own bitcoin journey.

So just what are bitcoins? "Bitcoin Explained" from Duncan Elms answers some questions:

Another good article is "Why Bitcoin Matters" by Marc Andreessen, posted on the New York Times DealBook.

But are bitcoins all hype and speculation? The value of bitcoins has fluctuated widely and they are not yet commonly accepted as a standard currency. "Will Bitcoin Ever Rebound?" on CNN Money enumerates the issues with using bitcoin for daily transactions.

New York is now requiring a BitLicense resulting in an "exodus" of bitcoin startups from New York. Is regulation a sign of acceptance or will it drive bitcoin to extinction?

But I don't want to just buy lunch with bitcoins: I want to accept payment in bitcoins while respecting the privacy of RelevantBlue account owners.

So time to get started. First I need a digital wallet. The CEX.IO blog "Top 5 Bitcoin Wallets in 2014" offers a short list with the pros and cons of each. Since my goal is to accept transactions and I am still new to bitcoin, I choose San Francisco Coinbase for my first digital wallet.

Signing up was easy. The verification of my email address and cell phone number were standard, but some of the steps of the onboarding process surprised me. I was asked to login to my bank account to link my accounts. To prove my identify one option was to take a picture of my drivers license or passport. I did not need to enter a social security number or other tax information.

After my account was setup it was easy to purchase my first bitcoin. Although I read about how the block chain works and understand some of the delay I was shocked that I would not actually own my bitcoin for 5 business days. I am hoping that part of this is that I have a new account that has not been fully verified.

I then setup the Coinbase app on my phone so that when my bitcoin is finally in my digital wallet I can show off my techie credentials and buy lunch with bitcoins. I got the app installed without an issue so now all I have to do is wait until my bitcoin actually arrives. I am resisting the urge to check the front door for a FedEx delivery.

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