What On Earth Is Bitcoin?

I was invited to a seminar last week Sunday on cryptocurrencies and how to trade in them. This was at the Metta Nairobi conference room at the Belgravia building located at Riverside Drive. What I learnt is that bitcoins are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Oh but wait, what are cryptocurrencies even?

In the simplest terms, a cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work just like money. Only, in this case, you cannot physically touch the currency. The technology behind cryptocurrencies is quite complex. Bitcoin just happens to be one of the many forms of cryptocurrencies. In this post, I’ll focus more on Bitcoins since I have traded in them.

George Mangs, who is one of the leading traders gave a few pointers during his talk that opened my eyes about cryptocurrencies.

1. Exchange

This is a platform where you can change your money to cryptocurrency. In Kenya, the three most popular exchanges are;

1)LocalBitcoin.com

2)Remitano.com

3)Belfrics.com

LocalBitcoin.com is the best and easy to use. Why? This is because it allows people to use MPesa. How do you go about it?

1)Open an account-it’s only your email that is required

2) Look at how much the Bitcoins are selling for- some traders sell from Ksh. 100 and others from Ksh. 10,000. If you want to invest more than Ksh.100,000 you will have to use the bank.

3)Once you buy Bitcoins, that is it. Just wait for the prices to go up and sell back in order to make profits.

For easier understanding, go to LocalBitcoin, open an account and try buying with at least Ksh.100 so that you don’t lose out on a lot. Make sure to have the money in your MPesa.

2. Global exchange

A global exchange is where you now buy cryptocurrencies in terms of dollars and not shillings. These global platforms require you to be a serious trader since they really vet the traders. Some of the most popular ones include;

1)Coinbase

2)Kraken

3)Bitfinex

4)Binance

These are best suited for those who are keen on making more money with cryptocurrencies.

3. Security

If you decide to buy cryptocurrencies online, ensure that your PC is secure. Some of the ways of securing your PC to avoid your Bitcoins or cryptos being stolen are;

1)Make sure the password you create for your account is unique and that it includes characters.

2)Have a two-factor authentication protection where should you log in, a message will be sent to your phone or email with a code. This alerts you in case anyone other than you try to access your account.

3)Avoid clicking on weird links. They are usually phishing sites and they are used to steal data from you.

4. Initial Coin Offering (ICO) 

I am that sure you have seen NuruCoins bein advertised online. They are cryptocurrencies that have been modelled in Kenya. However, as of now, they are being sold at an affordable price of Ksh.10 per unit. This is what we call an ICO. This means that they are being tested and after a while, they will hopefully go up in value and those who bought will be able to make a profit later. This is the same case when new shares of a company are being sold for the first time through what we call IPO.

5. ChamaPesa

If you don’t want to trade in the complex world of Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrencies, you don’t have to. You can form a Chama with your friends and still make money. ChamaPesa, run by Michael Kimani, (chairman of the Blockchain Association of Kenya), is an app that uses the cryptocurrency technology to help you with the finances. So what happens with the app is, once you save money, it allows for stronger protection and easy movement without theft. If one of the chama members withdraws or saves money, every other admin will get a notification. This is one of the best ways to save as a group in this digital age.

There is so much to learn about cryptocurrencies but i’ll let you analyze that information first. In Kenya, cryptocurrencies are yet to be defined as assets or illegal so give it a try before it is banned or taxed. And no, it is not a scam. This is a global thing. If you are not comfortable about risking your mony, checkout YouTube tutorials and ask those who have traded in them to explain to you what is going on. It is always important to move to where the future is.

Have you tried trading yet/ What do you think? For more information, visit Blockchain Association of Kenya. 

*Photo courtesy: Jackie of Studio28 Kenya*

About Anthony Mbugua

Blogger, writer and a millennial trying to figure it all out. I also like sharing the success of other millennials. Welcome to my world.

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