Bitcoin and crypto: Tips for beginners

Bitcoin and Crypto: Tips for Beginners Market Booth

A panel of self-service equipment operators sees a big future for bitcoin and offers ideas on getting up to speed.

Image provided by iStock.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency continue to interest people of all ages and professional orientations, and the self-service equipment industry, a payments-focused entity, is no exception.

With the expansion of cryptocurrency, the need to educate newcomers on this highly technical and controversial topic increases. Hence, the recent International Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas presented a session titled “Cryptocurrency and Currencies, Putting the Pieces Together.”

One of the challenges that beginners face in learning about cryptocurrencies is the amount of misinformation that cryptocurrency veterans claim to be circulating.

Speakers Konrad Sturts, Mike Lee, Brian Halsey, and Tom Graham Jr. discuss the importance of learning about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

“Don’t go to mainstream media like CNN or the Wall Street Journal,” Attorney Brian Halsey, an attorney and professor of business law, said during the AEI hearing. He says the reports in these outlets are biased and inaccurate.

“You need to do your research and start with the basics,” Halsey said.

Halsey and colleagues Mike Lee, president of Automatic Coin Vending in Chester, Pennsylvania, and owner of Games Unlimited Inc. agreed. , Milbank, South Dakota, and Konrad Storz, owner of Storz Amusements in Jeffersonville, Louisiana, argue that people need to learn about cryptocurrencies gradually.

“Don’t spend any money that you don’t want to lose,” he told me, adding that a one-day session would not educate anyone enough about cryptocurrency. “The space is too big, too wide, too complicated.”

Bitcoin has a future

However, panelists agreed that the cryptocurrency has a good future, despite what many critics have claimed.

It’s here, it’s real, it’s going to be here, it’s not going away, it’s brought everyone’s attention on Facebook to the United States government,” Storz said. “If a person in the future does not have at least half of one bitcoin in his pocket, he will be of the lower class.”

Regarding bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, Halsey said: “Some institutional investors are taking money off the table; eventually they will come back to it.”

When the government regulates bitcoin, which Halsey said is to be expected, large institutions will invest large sums, which would smooth out the price fluctuations that have made many potential users wary.

“The rule is that you should never sell bitcoins,” Halsey said. In 2017, he sold 1 bitcoin worth $650 to buy an AR-15 rifle. Now he has a $40,000 AR-15.

“I’d be really upset when it’s worth a million dollars,” he said.

As more and more people buy and use bitcoin, the price is expected to rise in the long run as the supply of bitcoin is restricted by its software code.

Bitcoin price fluctuates

Halsey acknowledged that the price of bitcoin sometimes fluctuates according to stocks and sometimes with economic shocks such as news related to inflation.

“But in the long run, because there are only 21 million bitcoins available (at all), and that’s it,” he said. “Bitcoin by nature, you can’t increase more than 21 million of those heavily encased in the system. That’s why it protects in the long run.”

He said hyperinflation (in the government’s currency) will help bitcoin, which he considers a deflationary asset.

“As Bitcoin continues to be adopted, it will act more as an inflationary asset,” he said.

Who is listening?

Halsey encouraged beginners to listen to coded educational podcasts. The best podcast in his opinion is “The Breakdown” with Nathaniel Whittemore. These are daily 15-minute analyzes of the macroeconomics, bitcoin, geopolitics, and “big picture” power shifts, as described by Apple Podcasts.

Another podcast he recommended is “What Bitcoin Did” by Peter McCormack which can be accessed under its title. These are 60 to 90 minute podcasts posted weekly. Halsey said it’s excellent for beginners.

The next podcast recommended for beginners is Pomp Podcast by Anthony Pompliano, a daily 30-minute podcast.

Other useful sources according to Halsey include:

  • “We Study Billionaires” by The Investor Podcast Network, a biweekly podcast with guest investors.
  • The “Bitcoin Standard” with Saifedean Ammous, which Halsey called the most famous bitcoin book. I recommend waiting until you are familiar with the basics before reading this book.
  • Also on the technical side, Stefan Levera Bitcoin podcast helps explain how Bitcoin and money in general have evolved.
  • Cryptocurrency news sites like Coin Desk and CoinMarketCap.

“You don’t have to listen to every episode of every podcast,” Halsey said. “You don’t have to know everything before you start.”

He said Twitter is also a good source for learning the latest information about cryptocurrencies, but news reports that are more than two or three months old should be ignored.

“In the cryptocurrency world, one week is one year in real life,” Halsey said. “Start with new things and move forward; don’t walk backward.”

He told me that Cryptocurrency apps like Coinbase, Swan, and Cash App are good for beginners. These apps allow people to set up an account, link their bank accounts, and set a certain amount to buy bitcoins automatically.

Exploring Bitcoin Mining

While panelists agreed that beginners should start buying bitcoin when they learn about it, they discouraged listeners from trying to mine bitcoin. Mining is the process by which new bitcoins are created. This is achieved using sophisticated computers. Bitcoins are generated when a computer solves a complex computational problem.

Halsey said that the cost of bitcoin mining computers is now around $10,000 apiece, and it will take about a year and three months to recoup the investment in mining equipment, not including the cost of electricity.

One option is to join a mining pool, which is a group of miners working together to mine and distribute payments based on each party’s contribution to the pool.

However, one listener who said he joined a mining pool of tens of thousands of people said the chances of earning bitcoins with miners are “one in a million.”

Bitcoin and Self-Service Payment

Another listener asked members of the amusement operator’s committee why they aren’t offering to accept bitcoin on their amusement devices.

Lee replied that currently processing bitcoin transactions is not fast enough and that the bitcoin payment technology for self-service equipment is not sufficiently developed.

Another listener volunteered that the Lightning Network, a second layer added to the Bitcoin blockchain that allows off-chain transactions, enables faster transactions and can be integrated into gaming equipment payment systems.

While processing time is still an issue, the advantage of Bitcoin as a payment method is that its transaction cost is very low compared to credit cards.

Accordingly, Halsey said that the stablecoin, a computerized token representing a dollar, can also be used for payment without transaction fees.

“In terms of transactions, it will either be the Bitcoin Lightning Network or potentially a stablecoin,” Halsey said.

Photo: Networld Media Group.

Elliot Maras is the editor of the Kiosk Marketplace and Vending Times. He has spent three decades covering unregulated retail and commercial food services.

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