January 27, 2013

My First Bitcoin Buying Experience

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to invest in Bitcoin. I had been intrigued with Bitcoin since its inception, but I had never bothered with accumulating coins other than the minuscule amounts offered for free by some web sites. With the quickly rising value of bitcoins, I could hold out no longer. I felt like a train was passing by and I had to catch it before it was too late.

So I started researching all the different ways to purchase bitcoins. The impression that I immediately got was that this bitcoin buying process was going to be a huge pain in the buttocks. First of all, it's nearly impossible to pay for bitcoins with a credit card or Paypal. Then I hear about funds getting stuck in MtGox for weeks and countless scams on other sites.

People seemed generally pleased with BitInstant, so I decided to give them a shot for $200 USD. While they offer several methods of paying for bitcoins, I went with a cash deposit. They have instructions provided, but here's what I did this morning:

  1. Filled out information about the transaction, including deposit location, delivery method for purchased bitcoins, amount, contact information, etc. The location I chose was a CVS down the street, and I elected to have bitcoins delivered straight to my Bitcoin wallet.
  2. Printed out the provided deposit slip. It was actually made out to be a bill from a company called ZipZap.
  3. Took the deposit slip to CVS and told the clerk that I was paying a bill. She had me confirm with Moneygram via a red phone.
  4. The clerk checked my ID before I deposited the cash.

When I got back home, I was surprised to see that my wallet had already been funded with 11 BTC! The entire process took me about 25 minutes total.

I neglected to mentioned the fees involved, which were mildly annoying. BitInstant charged 3.99% on my $200, and ZipZap charged a $3.95 fee on top of that. So I ended up paying $203.95 for $192 worth of bitcoins. Regardless, I was pleased with how fast my bitcoins arrived and plan on buying more soon!