Bitcoin is a virtual currency which has been around since 2009 . Unlike other currencies like Dollar and Euro, bitcoin does not exist in paper or coin form . Bitcoin has been making the headlines in recent months because of it’s massive increase in value.
The price of Bitcoin hit a record high when it passed $19,850 in mid-December 2017 , but then tumbled rapidly, falling to below $12,000 within days.
The value of bitcoin plunged last week, amid concerns that trading could be banned in South Korea. It then stabilised briefly, before plunging again. Its value has shifted unpredictably ever since, with frequent wild drops and recoveries.
It is worth $10,504 as of Tuesday 23rd Jan .
If someone had bought €1,000 worth of Bitcoin in Dec 2015 , it would now be worth over €50,000. (Dec 2017)
The fast increase in value means that more people in Ireland were looking into how to buy Bitcoin as an investment. Others are put off by the volatility of Bitcoin. Most of the dangers are because the protection that investors would normally enjoy on a stock market are not present. If you do decide to buy bitcoin, you need to make sure you know how to buy, sell and store it properly – or you risk losing your entire investment.
Advocates of bitcoin say that it could eventually take over from “normal” currency .. that Bitcoin and the blockchain technology behind it is the beginning of a huge societal change.
Bitcoin enthusiasts, who may have a vested interest in the value of Bitcoin , will say that the only reason we accept the Euro is that we all believe in it. The central bank prints paper money and we accept that others will accept it as payment. They will say that with Bitcoin – or other “crypto- currecnies , if you can get enough people who will transact with you and who are committed to it, you have something just as good as a “mainstream” currency.
Sceptics say that Bitcoin is a currency for drug dealers and murders that it is a bubble that will soon end up imploding.
(Of course more criminals probably use “real” money than the do Bitcoin – it’s easier to fake !
Apparently – google searches for “buy bitcoin” are now more common than searches for “buy gold”
Buying Bitcoin in Ireland
Paxful is a a peer to peer marketplace where people can buy and sell Bitcoin . You can pay with Paypal, bank transfer , debit or credit card – or even by cash. You automatically get a free bitcoin wallet when you join Paxful.
On Paxful the Seller of bitcoins pays a 1% fee. The buyer of bitcoins does not pay any fee at all. The buyer does, however, pay a fee to the seller for converting their Cash, gift card or PayPal money etc… into bitcoin. Each seller has a different price so it is up to you to select the best one.
The Paxful escrow system protects you by holding the sellers bitcoins in escrow. When payment is completed the bitcoins are released to your wallet.
This is another person to person trading site for Bitcoin. Started in 2012 and based in Finland. People in Ireland (and other countries) can exchange Euros for bitcoins. The site allows users to post adverts where they state the exchange rate and the payment methods for buying or selling bitcoins. You reply to these advertisements and agree to meet the person to buy bitcoins with cash, or trade directly using online banking. Bitcoins are placed in a LocalBitcoins.com web wallet from where you can pay your bitcoin purchases directly. Users who create adverts are charged a 1% fee for every completed trade. Find out more on LocalBitcoins
Coinbase is another site that Irish residents can use to exchange bitcoin or other digital currencies such as Ethereum or Litecoin. They were founded in June of 2012 and are based in San Francisco, California. A digital wallet is provided when you join up. There are fees for conversion that range from 1.49% to 3,99% .