I bought some Bitcoin

The title is admittedly a little click-baity, but I had to buy Bitcoin solely to convert it to Siacoin.  Consider this post a precursor on my journey as I set up a decentralized cloud storage platform that uses a blockchain to facilitate payments.

BACKGROUND

As part of my quest to set up synchronized storage I have decided to use this as an opportunity to learn about blockchain. I will be using Sia as a way to synchronize local storage across numerous devices via a decentralized cloud. Sia requires the use of Siacoin, which can be purchased or mined. I intend on address the mining aspect of it later, but for now I would just like to purchase enough Siacoin to get started.

From what I’ve gathered, I need to buy Bitcoin (BTC) so that I can convert it to Siacoin (SC), so that I can put it in my sia wallet. This “How to buy Siacoin” (buyingsiacoin.com) page appears to be very thorough and I will be following it, except I am currently skipping steps 1-10 because I am going to be installing the sia daemon in a later post. Also, as I’m writing this I am waiting for the consesus database to download in order to bootstrap the blockchain, and it is downloading PAINFULLY slow [UPDATE: it finished after 10+ hours!].

01 Buy Bitcoin

I have decided to use Coinbase [<affiliate link] to purchase Bitcoin. I followed the instructions on the buyingsiacoin page which were very accurate.  I will say that it felt uncomfortable to take a picture of my driver’s license in order to purchase something supposedly anonymous and untrackable, but I went ahead and did that.  Expect this verification to take some time.  But you will get an email once it is complete, so go take a break (this took about an hour in my case).

Just like a US bank, Coinbase is regulated by the US government, and has to follow strict financial rules. So they take verifying your identity very seriously. It’s a pain, but it does give Coinbase a reputation for being the most trusted way to convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency.

After verifying your identity, you must add a form of payment. Using a credit/debit card means higher fees but offers instant purchasing. Using a bank transfer is cheaper but slower (taking up to a week to get your coins). I chose to use a credit card and I created a “ShopSafe” number with a specified limit on it through Bank of America. I’m not sure why I chose to do this but I imagine it will bite me later on if I ever use Coinbase again. I like to make things difficult for myself apparently.

Based on an online calculator, presently, 500 SC costs a little more than 14 USD. As a side note; when I started writing the post yesterday, 500 SC was the equivalent of 9 USD.  That a significant change shows the volatility of this market and it makes me a bit weary.  My exploration might be happening at the worst time due to the huge run-up in all cryptocurrencies as of late…I’ve never had good timing.  All the same, to get started I have decided to purchase 20 USD worth of BC to convert to SC because I’m not sure of what sort of conversion or transfer fees I’ll run into.

02 Convert to Siacoin

Unfortunately, at the time I’m writing this post, the recommended exchange page (Bittrex) is not accepting new customers:

Unfortunately, we have to make a few upgrades to our support and backend systems to handle the increased traffic and load. As such, we have halted new user registrations for the time being.

And while the Getting Started page from Sia mentions a few other exchanges, I have been thrilled with the detail provided by the buyingsiacoin.com page and prefer to continue to follow those instructions. So I will wrap up this post (it is getting lengthy anyway) with the single mission of purchasing Bitcoin accomplished.

I feel relatively safe having only purchased Bitcoin and not yet converting it on an exchange. So I will leave it for the time being and revisit this once I’m able to register with Bittrex…I probably won’t check again until after the US holidays.


NEXT STEPS

I will need to pick this up again:

  • Create an account on Bittrex
  • Convert my newly purchased BTC to SC
  • Install/configure Sia on my headless server
  • Transfer SC to my Sia wallet

WHAT I LEARNED

  • This isn’t so bad, yet.

REFERENCES:


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