Bitcoin and Ethereum are two of the mainstream cryptocurrencies known to gain (and even lose) value quite quickly. However, if these two digital currencies are to be the standard currency for the digital age, as their enthusiasts suggest, then their usability must go beyond merely being speculative investment vessels.
Standard currencies worldwide have certain distinctive characteristics:
- Holders can spend it on goods and services
- You can trade it for other currencies
- You can acquire it in exchange for a service you provide
As the world moves toward the blockchain technology and digital money, bitcoin and Ethereum seem to have acquired the mentioned properties. This article provides a sneak peek into some of the best ways you can use to earn, buy, and spend these two major cryptocurrencies.
However, before we delve into the main content, the disclaimer is always important: cryptocurrency investment is such a volatile field. The market is speculative and unregulated. Before you take the plunge, consult widely and be prepared to lose your investment as well.
Bitcoins and Ethereum—the buying process
Buying cryptocurrencies is not always a difficult process. Several platforms are out there on which you can buy digital currencies, especially Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum in exchange for fiat currency. But you should be careful, as some platforms simply focus on buying and selling of cryptocurrency offshoots. As much as you could own actual coins through such means, you should prepare to handle the security and risks that come with it. In a broader sense, buying platforms exist in two main categories: exchanges and P2P markets.
Major exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, and Bitfinex are ideal for bitcoin, Ethereum and hundreds of other altcoins. Some exchanges may be a bit complex to operate, requiring a given level of technical expertise. However, most beginners trust Coinbase platform, which offers the simplest and most straightforward operations.
It is great to know that even the complex exchanges trade cryptocurrencies just like the fiat currency. That implies that trading takes place in currency pairs and the markets run throughout the day or night. With various options and technical finance tools, beginners often these platforms complicated, especially those who buy the digital currencies for personal utility other than for investments.
Another option for buying bitcoin and Ethereum is through P2P marketplaces. Examples of such avenues are Localbitcoins, Localethereum, and many others. In these avenues, buyers are in direct contact with the sellers. It is a willing buyer-willing seller forum. The buyers state what they are willing to pay as sellers quote what they are willing to accept. The site is just a matchmaker so the two parties could strike a deal.
Since they have fewer tools and options as the mainstream exchanges, they have straightforward interfaces that users find simple to use. However, such platforms could present an additional layer of risk. There are issues of trust, both for the site itself and for the partner trader. In mainstream exchanges such as Coinbase, various tools such as escrow facilities, user feedback score, and centralized ID checking are in place to mitigate such issues.
Earning Bitcoin and Ethereum
Fortunately, new ways are coming up through which you can acquire cryptocurrencies even without spending your hard-earned fiat money.
Work for cryptocurrency
This is the simplest way to earn digital currencies. Several companies are now willing to pay for services using bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other cryptocurrency of their choice. Similarly, several employers are already paying their employees in digital money. Examples of job boards where you can earn cryptocurrency for work include XBTFreelancer, Jobs4Bitcoin, or Coinality. In most cases, you’ll find IT job openings, but other opportunities such as marketing, design, photography, and translation are also available.
Up from working for digital money, you can acquire bitcoin and Ethereum through trading. Crypto trading is somehow similar to forex trading—you buy the coins when the prices are low and sell when they are higher. Most large exchanges allow this form of trading. Good enough, you don’t have to buy one whole bitcoin or Ethereum in order to be a crypto owner. You can purchase bitcoin and Ethereum in small portions based on what you can afford.
However, since the crypto market is such a volatile one, this method is not for the faint-hearted. While foreign exchange and commodities markets and under regulation and respond to world events, the crypto market remains unregulated and independent. In that state, the markets often experience high rises and deep falls, often dictated by manipulation.
Peer-to-peer crypto lending
A third way to earn cryptocurrency is through peer-to-peer crypto lending. This service is available on various platforms including BTCPop, Bitbond, and others. Such avenues match lenders with respective borrowers who are willing to repay the loan with an interest. Just as peer-to-peer trading where reputation is key, lenders here have to rely on reputation and feedback systems to help them gauge the suitability of a borrower. In the end, they are able to make informed decisions regarding particular loans. Borrowers, on the other hand, have to earn the opportunity for future borrowing by demonstrating that they can repay the present loan on time.
Spending Bitcoin and Ethereum
Once you earn the digital currencies through one or a combination of the above methods, you would want to enjoy your money! Fortunately, plenty of options exist out there to help you change your Ethereum or bitcoin currencies into useful items that you need in the real world.
While most retailers do not currently accept bitcoin or Ethereum, many outlets offer gift cards in exchange for such coins, which you can spend online. Already companies have launched platforms for this service. For example, through Zeek (available in UK and Germany) and Gyft, you can trade gift cards from Tesco, iTunes, and Starbucks for bitcoins.
All the same, some retail outlets have taken the bold step to accept bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other cryptocurrency directly. Other than that, you can use your cryptocurrencies to buy a variety of internet-related services including VPN protection, web hosting, video games and more. Besides, companies such as Overstock offer various products including furniture, jewelry, and electronics in exchange for cryptocurrencies.
In addition, you can use cryptocurrency to book a flight or hotel through Expedia.com. Smaller local businesses are also beginning to lean toward crypto money. A couple of outlets such as Bitcoinreestaurants gives you the opportunity to locate US-based eateries where you can pay your bills in bitcoins. Similarly, a UK-based startup Block Exchange will soon launch a prepaid cryptocurrency debit card that will allow users to spend bitcoin and Ethereum at any outlet that accepts Visa.
Bitcoin and Ethereum may not be the standard currency now, but the situation is slowly but steadily changing. Other than investment opportunities, new ways of using cryptocurrencies are coming up. As more people accept them across the world, the value of the digital money is set to increase exponentially.
Join the conversation over at Telegram (https://t.me/coinstaker)
Tony is a writer for the crypto space. He presents cryptocurrency and blockchain topics to the public in a way that he only can. While carefully researched, this article should not be taken as an express investment guide. Do your own research and consult a financial advisor before you invest in cryptocurrency.
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