TriniBit is here to help guide you through the sometimes complicated process of buying bitcoin, storing your bitcoin safely and what you can do with your newly acquired bitcoin. In this blog post we will discuss bitcoin and how you can sore it safely. Let’s get started.
N.B.- While bitcoin is currently unregulated in Trinidad and Tobago, we suggest that you speak with your accountant and/or attorney for more information about personally investing in bitcoin and other digital assets. The following is not financial advice or suggestions.
What is Bitcoin?
“Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems. It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency.” Source – https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-bitcoin/
How Do I Buy Bitcoin in Trinidad and Tobago?
Since we launched the page a few days ago, the number one message we get is “How do I buy bitcoin in T&T?”. We suggest buying bitcoin from trusted, regulated exchanges. Below are a list of two exchanges that accept local credit cards. (if you have used any other exchanges with local Trinidad and Tobago credit cards, please let us know so we can check them out and add to the list).
- FEES: 5%+
- Buying Limit: $5,000 USD/Day once Verified
CoinMama specialises in Bitcoin purchases through a credit card processor called Simplex. We would recommend calling your credit card center before purchasing to let them know to authorise a purchase from Simplex as it is sometimes denied. They take a premium fee for their services. You can buy up to $150 worth of Bitcoin without verification (verified accounts can buy $5000/daily and up to $20000/month).
Probably once of the easiest ways to buy bitcoin. Established in 2013 as the first cloud mining provider, CEX.IO has become a multi-functional cryptocurrency exchange, trusted by over 450,000 users. CEX.io works in the United States, Europe, and some countries in South America, including Trinidad and Tobago.
There are other options and sites for buying bitcoin, popular websites like localbitcoins.com is an examples that people often ask us about. The markup being charged on localbitcoins.com is ridiculous. As of August 23rd the price of bitcoin in TTD is ~$28,000, users on localbitcoins.com are charging a whopping $55,000+ TTD per bitcoin! That’s almost 100% markup. So please be careful where you buy bitcoin from and always check the market price either on Google or CoinMarketCap.com
How do I store my bitcoin?
Bitcoin is stored in either a software wallet, hardware wallet or a paper wallet. In all three cases the wallet comprises of your unique secret keys and address that allow you to access, send and receive bitcoin.
Software wallets can either be web based or accessed via a secure app on your mobile device or computer. They usually enforce strict security features such as two factor authentication and require long complex passwords, and for good reason. Your software wallet is your virtual bank account and you should take every precaution to ensure it is safe from hackers. There are literally hundreds of software and web wallets to choose from and all have different advantages depending on what you wish to do with your bitcoin.
An important feature to always look for when considering a software wallet is the ability to export/back up and restore your private keys. If you loose access to your mobile device or computer, this is the only way to get back access to your bitcoin. You should always print out or write down your private key and never store it on your computer to prevent hackers from ever getting access to it. Here are a few good software wallets to consider are:
Probably the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet, Blockchain.info is a simple to use wallet available online and for iOS and Android. It has a very easy to use interface and supports multiple wallets and addresses. Blockchain.info allows you to easily sync your mobile and desktop wallet so you can use whichever is more convenient at the time.
Exodus is one of the most popular desktop wallets for Mac and PC bitcoin users. It allows you to quickly and easily trade bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies using a blockchain technology called ShapeShift. Exodus also has a beautiful user interface that lets you see all your coins at a glance using well thought out pie charts. Exodus is a desktop wallet, and is usually where people deposit bitcoin to hold long term.
Jaxx is a software wallet that is available for mobile and desktop users. Jaxx also has the ability to store multiple coins and exchange them between bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Jaxx is a nice option for those looking for a mobile and desktop wallet that can exchange coins quickly and easily.
Have a software wallet you would like to recommend? Please post in the comments so we can share with the community.
A hardware wallet is often seen as the ultimate way to keep your bitcoin safe because it is completely offline and usually not connected to a computer or the internet. If you hold a significant investment in bitcoin, you must consider keeping your bitcoin on a hardware wallet. Hardware wallets have major advantages over standard software wallets:
- private keys are often stored in a protected area of a micro controller, and cannot be transferred out of the device in plain text format
- immune to computer viruses that steal from software wallets
- can be used securely and interactively, as opposed to a paper wallet which must be imported to software at some point
Some great examples of hardware wallets are:
TREZOR: The Bitcoin Safe
TREZOR is a secure bitcoin storage and a transaction signing tool. The private keys are generated by the device and never leave it thus they cannot be accessed by a malware. It uses a deterministic wallet structure which means it can hold an unlimited number of keys (BIP 0032/BIP 0044). A recovery seed is generated when the device is initialized. In case TREZOR gets lost or stolen, all its contents can be recovered using this seed (private keys, bitcoin balance and transaction history) into a new device or another BIP 0039/BIP 0044 compatible wallet.
TREZOR also introduced a unique way of PIN entering preventing keyloggers from recording it even when entered on a compromised computer. An encryption passphrase can be set on top of the PIN protection. More passphrases can be used for plausible deniability.
Ledger – USB Smartcard Hardware Wallet
Ledger Nano protects your Bitcoin data within a smartcard. Its micro-processor certified against all types of attacks (both physical and logical), and has been used in the banking industry for decades (think credit card chips). The device connects to your computer through the USB port and will do all the Bitcoin cryptographic heavy lifting such as signing transactions inside its secure environment. You can therefore use your Bitcoin account with maximum trust, even on an insecure or compromised computer. The second factor verification of the transaction signature can be done either with a paired smartphone (Android, iOS) or a physical security card.
The Ledger Wallet Chrome application (available also on Chromium) provides an easy onboarding as well as a seamless user experience, and the Nano is compatible with numerous third party software: Electrum, Mycelium, GreenAddress, Greenbits, Coinkite and Copay.
A paper wallet is literally a document containing all of the data necessary to generate your bitcoin private keys. However, people often use the term to mean any way of storing bitcoins offline as a physical document. This second definition also includes paper keys and redeemable codes. A paper key is a single key written on paper that is used multiple times like a wallet (this is strongly discouraged). A redeemable code is a single key intended to be funded and “redeemed” only once: these are commonly used for gifts and as part of physical Bitcoin coins/notes.
Proper paper wallets are often a very secure way of storing bitcoins, since they are not typically exposed to malware. They can also be easily stored securely in safes and safe deposit boxes. However, it may be more difficult to securely “backup” paper wallets, and due to the current sub-optimal software support, it may be easier to make a mistake that causes loss of bitcoins.
Sometimes people try to use single keys as true bitcoin wallets. However address reuse is very bad for privacy and security. Because of this, one is forced to choose between hazardous options:
- Use the key only once to receive, and only once to send the full amount. This requires the user to know the full amount he wants to store in advance, and often leads to the next situation:
- Create multiple keys. By using more than one key, the user can receive more than once using a different address each time, including using new addresses for change. This is very complicated, and makes it easy to accidentally reuse addresses, produce the wrong change/fee combination, lose some keys, spend hours searching for the right key, etc. Not even skilled bitcoin experts are comfortable managing their own keys manually like this.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you use proper paper wallets which allow you to generate an infinite number of addresses from a single seed.
We hope that you now have a better understand of what bitcoin is, how you can buy bitcoin and where and how to store it securely. If you have any questions please post them in the comments below. In our next blog post we will exploring how you can use bitcoin to invest in other coins and spend bitcoin in T&T and all over the world.