Paying Your Bills with Bitcoin

The decentralized market continues to see massive adoption on a global scale but many new investors are still unaware of how to spend their crypto in practical ways such as paying bills directly. New investors are flocking to the marketplace in record numbers and this investment capital is getting reinvested back into the BTC services marketplace.

As more people learn about the benefits of blockchain technology, the decentralized economy continues to expand. While most of the media’s attention is focused on how Bitcoin can assist you in acquiring your Lambo, many people are still unaware of the multitude of ways in which they can spend their Bitcoin earnings on day-to-day items. There is no shortage of services that allow you to pay your bills directly using Bitcoin and new platforms with even more innovative concepts continue to emerge in the market daily.

Pay Your Bills with Bitcoin

You hear all about the HODLers of BTC but rarely do you get to hear stories about the people that use their cryptocurrencies to do more mundane tasks such as pay their cell phone or electric bills. While these activities lack the luster of a cherry red Lamborghini Diablo, they are, in fact, much more important to mass scale Bitcoin adoption.

Bitcoin users from around the world are finding unique and innovative ways to avoid using fiat currencies in their lives and if you are bit more practical than a bright red Lambo, or just looking to use your hard earned Satoshis to get by, there are many ways in which you can spend your BTC on your living expenses. Below are just a few of the most popular ways that you can pay your bills directly from your BTC wallet and avoid paying any crypto-to-fiat transition fees.

Bitcoin Debit Cards – Pay Your Bills with BTC

Bitcoin Debit cards are considered by many as the missing link between the cryptomarket and the traditional market space. Crypto Debit cards can function in a couple of different ways but most utilize a protocol that converts your crypto into fiat currency the moment you swipe your card. You will pay a small processing fee for the transaction but with most cards, it is far less than what Coinbase would charge you.

Bitcoin Debit Card Featuring NFC Card

Since the merchant is only receiving fiat currency, you can use your crypto debit card at any retailers that accept credit cards such as Visa. This makes crypto debit cards perfectly suited for paying your bills. You can even sign your card up for automatic bill payments just like a traditional credit or debit card.

Click here to view a comprehensive list of the crypto debit cards currently available on the market.

Welto.io

The Welto.io platform provides users the ability to pay their bills directly from their Bitcoin wallet. The platform boasts immediate transaction times and even allows you to use a combination of crypto and fiat currency to pay your bills. There is 2% flat transaction fee for their services; which is far less than fiat-based payment systems and despite the $300 payment limit, Welto is expanding quickly.

The Welto platform is currently working on a large-scale update that would allow for the use of more cryptocurrencies in the future. Currently, users can pay bills with BTC, LTC, ETH, ZEN, ETC, and CRW. There is also a mobile app available for download on the Android operating system.

If that isn’t easy enough for you, you can download the Amazon Alexa app and pay your bills with voice commands. The best part is that the Welto platform is not alone. Click here to see a list the most popular crypto bill pay platforms currently available.

Living Room of Satoshi

The Living Room of Satoshi platform is an Australian-based cryptocurrency bill payment system that is already seeing substantial use in the country. This 2014 startup is currently processing around $1 million a week in small bills for BTC users in Australia. The system is integrated with the BPAY bill system to provide users access to the most popular service providers in the area.

This platform is excellent in its abilities and overall informative feel. You can see the actual payment statistics of the platform’s users by category for the last 14 days. A quick review of this data is truly eye-opening. Credit cards bills are the #1 bill paid on the platform followed by the internet, phone, electricity, and gas. The platform even allows you to pay your rent with crypto.

This is truly a remarkable tool for the BTC users of Australia and hopefully, they will expand their operation in the future.

Pay Your Bills Directly

You should always ask your service providers if they accept BTC directly as a form of payment. You may be surprised to find out that they already do or are planning to integrate it in the near future. Corporations and governments from around the world are getting hip to the benefits of accepting cryptocurrencies and you may not be too far off from the day that you can even pay your taxes in crypto.

It was reported in February of this year that Arizona was considering becoming the first state to accept cryptocurrency payments for property taxes. This would be a huge step forward for the decentralized economy and more states will surely follow Arizona’s example in the coming months.

Arizona State Capitol Building

Is it Possible to Pay Your Bills by Using a Bitcoin Wallet?

Yes, it is very easy to pay your bills with your Bitcoin wallet and there are thousands of people already doing this every day. These are the individuals that are taking the decentralized economy forward by forcing retailers to take a serious look into cryptocurrencies such as BTC and as you probably already know, just a peek at BTC can be enough to take you down the blockchain rabbit hole.

What do you guys think? Are you ready to abandon fiat currency altogether? Let us know on Twitter and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on all the latest and greatest crypto news hitting the marketplace.

This article by David Hamilton was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

David Hamilton aka DavidtheWriter has published thousands of cryptocurrency related articles. Currently, he resides in the epicenter of the cryptomarket – Puerto Rico. David is a strong advocate for blockchain technologies and financial sovereignty.

Coins, Coins Everywhere

When starting cryptocurrency trading, the vast number of coins to choose from can be overwhelming. From the thousands out there, how can you possibly decide which few to keep in your portfolio?

Although there are an endless amount of strategies when choosing coins, there are a few different tactics you should follow to minimize your risk. In this guide, we’ll teach you the tips and tricks on building your portfolio, so you have a more successful cryptocurrency trading experience.

Diversify Across Market Caps

A great way to minimize your downside risk when cryptocurrency trading is to diversify your holdings across different market caps.

In case you don’t know, the market cap of a cryptocurrency is its price multiplied by its circulating supply. Usually, the higher the market cap of a coin, the less volatile it is. A properly diversified portfolio contains a mix of large (>$5 billion), medium ($250 million to $5 billion), and low (<$250 million) market cap coins.

Large market cap coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum may not experience the same 40-50% runs that smaller altcoins do, but their price typically holds better in bear markets.

How you diversify among these classes depends on your risk tolerance. If you think that investing in cryptocurrency is already a gamble, a portfolio that consists 95% of large-cap coins may be appropriate for you.

Maybe you have disposable income, though, that you wouldn’t be too upset losing. In that case, it may be worth putting over half of your portfolio in small-cap cryptocurrencies. Coins in this class have a high probability of being worth nothing down the road, but the ones that end up growing 100-200x could make the risk worth it.

In the end, you should do a serious evaluation of your risk tolerance as well as the amount of money you’re willing to lose and choose your market cap split based on that.

Consider the Industry

Another thing to consider when building your cryptocurrency portfolio is the industry that each coin is targeting. There are a couple of different ways you can approach this.

Diversify Across Industries

Once again, diversity is key. Because blockchain is still young, it’s difficult to predict which sectors will be most accepting of the new technology. To hedge against this risk, it’s recommended that you invest in coins across different industries.

You can group the most popular cryptocurrencies into a few different categories:

These are just a few of the categories in which you can place coins, and you’ll quickly find that there’s plenty of overlap for some of them. The idea of this strategy is to avoid investing too heavily in any one category. If for some reason that category ends up bombing, you don’t want to be left holding the bags.

Bitcoin TradingDouble-down on Your Favorite Industries

Even when holding coins across a diverse set of industries, you should consider putting additional capital in the industries that you’re most confident in.

There’s a popular notion in the cryptocurrency industry that only one coin per category will win out. But, that just isn’t the case. Take a look at any other business sector. Delta, American, Southwest (airlines), AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile (cell carriers), Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America (financial institutions) – and the list goes on and on. People have their preferences and categories are large enough for multiple cryptocurrencies to survive.

For example, if you think blockchain and file storage is inevitable, you may invest in Sia, Filecoin, and Storj. Or, if you’re a big believer in supply chain projects, VeChain and Waltonchain could take up a considerable amount of your portfolio.

Look for Hidden Gems (if you have the time)

The best coins to have in your portfolio are oftentimes the ones that not many other people have. There’s wisdom in going against the crowd.

Finding coins that haven’t haven’t become popular yet is a time-consuming process, though. It usually involves days (or even weeks) of research and slogging through a bunch of white papers. Even reviewing fifty projects may only lead to one or two that you deem worthy to invest in.

However, these one or two coins could be the key to an uber-successful portfolio. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Early investors in AntShares (now NEO), have seen ~160,000% return on their investment.
  • An investment in Bitquence (now Ethos) would have brought you a 4,300% return.
  • And, your portfolio would’ve grown by almost 4,000% by finding OmiseGO early.

As you can see, there’s immense value in finding coins early. If you have the time to research and enough money to take the risk, it could really pay off.

Cryptocurrency Trading is All Trial and Error

As you build out your cryptocurrency trading portfolio, you’ll probably find other tactics that also fit in well with your trading strategy. Additionally, you’ll most likely try out advice that sucks. You may even find that you don’t agree with the tips listed here.

And, that’s okay. Becoming a cryptocurrency trader is a learning process, and each investor inevitably molds their own unique style as they become more experienced. The important thing to remember is to keep an open, yet skeptical, mind and enjoy the ride.

This article by Steven Buchko was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Steven Buchko is a managing editor at Coin Central and a blockchain investor. He’s also the co-founder of Coin Clear, a mobile app that automatically turns your daily spending habits into cryptocurrency investments.

What’s a Bitcoin full node?

The Bitcoin network is a collection of computers all over the world running the Bitcoin Core software that verifies transactions and blocks. It’s the distribution of these “nodes” (the term for a computer attached to the network) and the fact that anyone can set one up that makes Bitcoin “decentralized.” This means that anyone anywhere can set up a Bitcoin node as long as they have access to a computer with the required power and an internet connection. And if even one node is up and running, Bitcoin lives on.

Global Bitcoin Nodes Distribution

Most Bitcoin nodes also act as a Bitcoin client, which allows transactions to be sent to the network. This means a node acts as your personal interface with the Bitcoin network as a whole. Running a node ensures that your Bitcoin transactions are verified and sent to whoever you’re transacting with. This puts the power to send uncensorable money across the world or across the street in your hands and contributes to the security and strength of the Bitcoin network itself.

Running a node is different than mining Bitcoin, which involves running special software that works to solve or complete new blocks on the network, releasing a certain number of Bitcoin to those computers responsible for adding a block to the blockchain. While mining Bitcoin has become quite resource-intensive and much of the mining work is being done by large companies with data centers devoted to the process, running  full nodes is accessible to anyone.

OK, I get it…. Why should I run a full node?

There are various reasons to set up a full node yourself:

    1. You believe in Bitcoin and want the network to grow and succeed. Every node added to the network brings us closer to a future where everyone is transacting on the Bitcoin network and no governments or other third parties can do anything to stop it.
    2. You intend to use the Bitcoin network to transact a lot and want to ensure that your transactions are verified. The idea behind Bitcoin is the removal of trust from the monetary system: you don’t have to trust a bank to hold or send your money. But as long as you’re not running your own node, you’re still trusting someone who IS running nodes to verify that transaction in a timely manner. Taking your financial life into your own hands is empowering.
    3. You can tell all your friends that you don’t just own Bitcoin, you ARE Bitcoin… at least part of it 🙂

I’m convinced! How can I set up a full node?

There are 3 methods to go about setting up your own Bitcoin node as of right now, ranging from pretty technical and time-intensive to really easy but a little more expensive. As development and adoption of Bitcoin technology continue, this process will only get easier and cheaper. If you want to get ahead of the game and jump into the action now though, you’ll do it in one of these ways:

  • Setting up a node on your own computer (or Raspberry Pi or any machine with the required hardware), or
  • Setting up a node in the cloud using hosting service like Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean or any number of other providers, or
  • Buying a standalone “node-in-a-box” device that sets up the node automatically (Skip to the bottom to hear about this option)

I’m ready to node, let’s get to it!

While the first two methods are very similar in process, there are considerations for each.

1. Choose your machine!

You will need to set the node up on a computer that has these minimum required hardware specifications:

  • A recent version of macOS, Linux, or Windows operating system
  • 145GB of free disk space
  • 2GB of RAM
  • A high-speed internet connection (at least 50kB/s)
  • Unlimited or very high upload/download limits (a node can upload ~200GB and download ~20GB per month)

If you choose to make use of the cloud and set up on a virtual server, make sure that whatever machine you rent has the same specifications! The cheapest option I found was from Scaleway, where you can get a machine powerful enough to run a node for around $8/month. To do this you’ll:

  • head to https://www.scaleway.com/
  • sign up for a C1 instance (their lowest option)
  • add on 3 50GB storage volumes to make sure you have enough storage for the whole Bitcoin blockchain.

There are plenty of other providers out there that can handle the node, so go ahead and do some shopping or use your favorite if you have one. Digital Ocean and Amazon Web Services are popular options but will cost you a bit more.

Note: Pay attention to the bandwidth or data limits on any cloud solution, as many providers out there will rate limit your connection after a certain point.

2. Start the setup!

If you’re planning to run your node on a computer locally, you can decide whether you’d like to run the Bitcoin Core software as a standard application (the GUI or Graphical User Interface) or through the command line as a background process. If you’re working on the cloud you’re most likely going to use the command line method.

I wanna run the GUI software!

So you like graphical interfaces. Great! Here’s the process:

  • Download the latest Bitcoin Core GUI from the bitcoin.org download page for your operating system of choice.
  • Run the software and you will be prompted to choose a directory for storing the blockchain data. Unless you have a specific preference here, go ahead and leave the “Use the default data directory” option checked and hit OK.
  • At this point on Windows computers, you may have a firewall prompt appear asking for permission to let Bitcoin communicate over the web. Check all boxes and allow these permissions.
  • The software should begin downloading the blockchain. This will take anywhere from 12 hours to a couple of days depending on your internet speeds and bandwidth. Let it finish and you’re officially running a Bitcoin full node! See the Network Configuration section below to make sure your node has the access it needs to run properly.

I wanna use the command line!

So you dig the command line, or you’d rather have Bitcoin Core run in the background? Sweet! Here we go:

  • To simplify this process, earn.com (formerly 21.co) has put together a simple-to-use script that makes it a breeze to install a node via the command line!
  • Open up the Command Prompt (Windows) or the Terminal (macOS and Linux) and paste this command:
    curl https://bitnodes.earn.com/install-full-node.sh | sh
  • Hit enter and you should see a welcome message pop up (like this one):
Bitnodes Install Full Nodes
  • Let the process run its course! It will download the Bitcoin Core software and attempt to set up port forwarding. If it can’t set up port forwarding automatically you’ll see a message appear like this one:
Bitcoin Core Error Message
  • You should also receive a success message! Your node is installed and running. Head down the Network Configuration section below to make sure everything is setup correctly for proper functioning.

3. Network Configuration

Whether you’ve set up a node using the standard GUI software or through the command line, there will be some network setup required to make sure the nodes can send and receive connections from the Bitcoin network.

There are two jobs to complete here:

  1. Giving your computer a Static IP Address
  2. Setting up Port Forwarding

Instead of walking through this whole process, I’ll let the wonderful folks over at bitcoin.org take care of it! See the official guide for step-by-step instructions on accessing your router and setting it up to handle the node correctly.

If you’ve set up your node in the cloud, this process can be very different based on the service provider. Reach out to the support team for your specific provider or head over to SuperUser (a question and answer site for this sort of thing) to get help!

So… what about the Node-in-a-Box?

This is by far the easiest way to set up a full node right now. A simple plug-and-play box that you’d plug into your internet router just like a cable box. This lets you run a dedicated node without installing anything on your computer or another machine. You WILL still need to complete the network configuration steps outlined in the section above though!

The only project seemingly available right now is Bitseed. The Bitseed is currently pretty pricey at around $360, but from reviews, it seems to work as advertised and keeps things very simple. There are bound to be competitors coming out of the woodwork in no time, so keep an eye out as the space matures.

Profit!

Once the software is running, the blockchain has completely synced, and your network settings are correct, you’ve done it! You’re officially a contributing member of the Bitcoin network. Welcome to the future of money.

More Nodes is Stronger Bitcoin

Wrapping Up

Bitcoin is powered by nodes.

More nodes = stronger Bitcoin.

You should run a node. Maybe two.

This article was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

James Risberg

I’m a casual nerd who likes crypto and community building. Software dev, social psychologist and sipper of tea. I love art of all kinds, actively seeking truth, and alliteration.

 

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