How Bitcoin Works - Forbes

A simple, comprehensive guide for those interested in quickly acquiring bitcoins

I've been following bitcoin for a few years. Investing in BTC has a learning curve, but hopefully this guide will help you. I'll try to keep it as simple as possible. And please, if you have any questions post them, the bitcoin community is very helpful and I'm sure someone will be able to help. One more thing before I get started, I'd like to remind everyone that bitcoin isn't a get rich quick scheme. Think of it as a way to eliminate the middle men of money, the people that get rich off of manipulating fiat currencies at the cost of the societies and the world. Believe in bitcoin, not just for personal gain, but for positive effect it could have on the world. Check out this guy's great post: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1bhhjg/any_bitcoin_millionaires_here_on_reddit_if_so/c96rn3p
This method uses 'Mt. Gox' in conjunction with 'Bitinstant' which are both trusted sites. Double check that the Mt. Gox site you use has the https:// in the address bar.
Quickest method, using cash (you will own BTC in a few hours):
  1. Go to https://www.mtgox.com and make a new account. (you don't need to verify)
  2. Go to 'Funding Options' on the left and choose 'Bitinstant'.
  3. Copy the 'Exchange Account' number.
  4. Click on the 'Bitinstant' link on the bottom of the page.
  5. On the 'Bitinstant' page, there will be a drop down box where you can choose a location to make a cash deposit that will go into your Mt. Gox account. There are numerous places you can make cash deposits including: Walmart, CVS, Jewel/Osco, and Albertsons.
  6. After choosing the location to make a cash deposit, fill out the rest of the Bitinstant page, including a test or two to prove you are a human.
  7. Click next and after accepting the terms and conditions on the next page there will be a receipt that you need to print out and take to the store where you're making the cash deposit.
  8. Go to store, deposit, funds will pop up in your Mt. Gox account and you are free to trade! Yay!!
Slower method, setting up Dwolla for use with Mt. Gox (takes about 7 days to buy BTC):
  1. Sign up for dwolla at https://www.dwolla.com. Add you bank account information so that you can add funds to your account.
  2. It will take 2-4 business days to verify your bank account (Dwolla will deposit small transactions into your bank account and you will need to show how much they were), in the meantime sign up for a Mt. Gox account at https://www.mtgox.com
  3. Once your bank account is verified, you should fund your dwolla account, which will take about 3-4 business days for the funds to clear.
  4. Once they're cleared, go to Mt. Gox and click 'fund your account'.
  5. Follow steps '3' and '4' above.
  6. On the 'Bitinstant' site, choose 'dwolla' as the funding source.
  7. Follow the instructions on 'Bitinstant' and you will have money in your Mt. Gox account within minutes and are free to trade. Yay!!
Hopefully this guide has helped guide you through the process of buying bitcoin. It definitely has a bit of a learning curve, but I hope I could help. Now, for the long term, you'd want to verify your information on Mt. Gox so that you can make bank account deposits and without the percentage fee that Bitinstant charges, but that process can take a while, especially now that Bitcoin has increased in popularity. Also, once you have bitcoin, it is important to find a safe 'wallet' that you can keep your bitcoins in. There isn't a bank to protect your money for you, you have to be smart and responsible. There are always a lot of posts about good wallet services in /Bitcoin, make sure to choose one that is trusted.
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