Bitcoin (BTC) is one of the first cryptocurrencies to rise to popularity. Invented in 2008, it is now the largest cryptocurrency by market share. As of June 2017, BTC has a market cap of nearly $40 billion. The only other cryptocurrency to come close to this is Ethereum.
As a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is a store of value that is becoming more and more generally accepted. Online stores and eCommerce businesses are becoming more likely to accept BTC for payment. There are also brick and mortar stores that have taken to accepting cryptocurrency.
You can purchase and invest in BTC through the following means:
- Dealers buy and sell BTC, and provide liquidity to the market. These dealers make a profit through the spread between their bid and ask price. By buying through a dealer, you will most likely pay a slightly higher fee than the current market rate.
- Exchanges are automated, digital marketplaces that connect BTC buyers with BTC sellers. There are many different backend Exchanges and even many more frontend/UI Exchanges. Because of the variety of Exchanges available, there will generally be slightly different market rates for BTC. For example, the GDAX, which is the backend exchange used by the frontend exchange Coinbase, has lower prices than the backend exchange that supports CEX.io.
- Local purchases are increasingly common. There are websites that act as “craigslists” or “eBays” that connect local users willing to trade their BTC for local currency.