By now you've heard all about bitcoin and crypto currencies... and hopefully you're even invested. For those of you who aren't, here's a very basic how-to just to get you started.
For those of you who are already investing/trading, I again repeat: this is a *very* basic how-to. So I know this is way over simplified, however you may find the tips below helpful if you are in fact trying to purchase crypto for someone else.
First of all, if you are purchasing Bitcoin for yourself -- and you're just getting started, I suggest starting with Coinbase, which I discuss below. If you are purchasing the Bitcoin for someone else, it is helpful to first determine whether or not this individual is already invested/trading. If they are not, I again suggest starting at Coinbase. However, if you know they are already actively investing or trading Bitcoin, use one of the options listed below that isn't Coinbase.
*And of course, don't invest more than you're willing to lose*
Coinbase is like the McDonald's for crytpo -- it's the easiest and most commonly used place to initially turn your dollars (or equivalent fiat) into Bitcoin. Here you can also buy Ethereum or Litecoin. All three (BTC, ETH, LTC) have had beyond amazing growth this past year and are projected to continue experiencing substantial gains.
If the account is for you, use your name. If the account is for someone else and you know they have not yet started investing in crypto, create the account in their name. After purchasing the BTC, ETH or LTC, you can change the email on file to theirs so they can have total control over the account. For example this is what I am doing for my sister since I know she has not yet done anything related to crypto, but she is fully capable of handling it once I create and purchase for her. Since she will have control over the account, she will be able to purchase additional or sell and put the money into her bank account. If my sister was already involved in crypto, I would use one of the other options listed below.
2- Add Payment Method
Link your bank account or make purchase via credit card. Then you can delete your bank or credit card information if the account is for someone else. Just as I'm doing with my sis.... sorry, sis!
3- Make Purchase
Now that your account is linked to a payment method, buy some crypto. You do NOT have to buy a whole coin. You can set a dollar amount you want to spend, and Coinbase will automatically factor out how much BTC, ETH, or LTC that is worth. Spending $20 on one of these coins is still worth it. Even if it looks like 0.001 -- it's still good!
4- Change Account to Owner's Information
If the account is yours, you're all set. If the account is for someone else, delete your payment information and change the email address to theirs once you give to them. If you want to actually give the recipient something tangible, you can always print out the picture of their Coinbase account along with the necessary information.
5- Advanced Trading
There are tons of coins, far more than just BTC, ETH, and LTC. To buy those, you need to open an account on a trading exchange, so you can trade your BTC or ETH for those coins. To get started, create an account at Binance using this link: binance.com.
The following are options if the gift recipient is already actively trading/investing in crypto.
2- Just Send to their Wallet Address
If you're already trading and so is the person you're gifting, just ask for their wallet address, and send crypto there. Just make sure to obviously copy the address down properly and only send the type of crypto designated for that wallet. For example, do not send BTC to an ETH wallet -- you're screwed. For example, below are a few of my addresses. I do accept crypto as presents :)
Bitcoin keys stored in a device like a USB drive, or a hardware bitcoin wallet make a decent way to gift bitcoins as well. The hardware wallets are becoming a preferred choice to secure a wallet in offline mode. They are small devices which are water and virus proof and even support multi signature transactions. They are convenient for sending and receiving virtual currency, have a micro storage device backup and QR code scan camera. Trezor is an example of such a hardware device.
4- Paper Wallets
Paper Wallets are an easy way to gift crypto, since it's literally printed on physical paper. The paper wallet contains all relevant information needed for spending the coins. The public and private keys necessary for making bitcoin transactions are printed on the paper wallet. In addition, a paper wallet usually has a QR code which can be scanned and added to a software wallet to make quick transactions. One of the places to get decorative festive paper wallets is bitcoinpaperwallet.com.
5- Gift Cards
Bitcoin gift cards are another easy way to give bitcoins as a present to family and friends. The buyer needs to select the denomination and just fill the order form online on portals such as bit4coin. Once the payment is made, the gift card or voucher is mailed to the specified address. The recipient can easily redeem the gift card against bitcoins at an exchange rate at that time. Such portals not just help with the redemption; they also guide on how to open your own wallet.
6- Physical Coins
Additionally, physical manifestations of these virtual currencies are available, which can be gifted. These belong to the category of collectibles and make aesthetically attractive gifts; Denarium and Casascius coins are the popular ones in this category. These comes in brass, silver and gold and are issued in limited edition. They are a beautiful work of art and come with an impressive casing or a box. While these are more for show, they still have very real value. They come with a bitcoin address and a private key underneath the hologram which can be used to redeem the funds.