There are a number of these web-based Bitcoin wallets to choose from and they have different features, costs and reputation to review and consider. Do you need trader tools? Do you need currency exchange services? Do you need “cold” warehouse storage? Do you want multifactor authentication? Whatever you need, there is someone to offer you your work.

Once you have created an account and a wallet, how can you get Bitcoins? There are two obvious answers. First, if you already had money in one currency and wanted to convert it to a different currency, you could exchange it. Second, just as you sell goods or labor for your local currency, you can sell goods or labor for Bitcoin. I explored these two options.

Bitcoin exchanges work similarly to traditional currency exchanges. There are competing companies with different appetites for various currencies and adjust their exchange rates accordingly. There are ATM windows that you can visit in person, and there are even automated ones, such as ATMs, which accept currency, credit cards or Bitcoin and distribute currency or Bitcoin. I prefer to do my transactions online, so I researched the different online exchanges. In each, to buy Bitcoin, you have to set up and fund an account and then place an order to buy or sell Bitcoin, and there is a differential, just like stocks. In this sense, it is similar to a traditional brokerage account, but without the SIPC insurance. If the exchange is hacked, obtained by itself, or compromised, your deposits may be temporarily inaccessible or permanently lost. This has already happened with a couple of Bitcoin exchanges, which reinforced my previous mental note to re-evaluate my risks if my balances become significant.

I then updated my business websites to indicate that we have accepted Bitcoin. I thought I could avoid fees and the differential between offers and questions if I could only get someone to pay for my goods or services at the immediate price. Years later, having not won a single Bitcoin, I returned to my exchange studio.

If you’re not familiar with Level II stock quotes or “depth” charts, these are basically two lists. A list counts and sorts by price order all pending “purchase” orders of a specified net worth, which show the required number at various price levels; the others similarly classify “sell” orders. When someone places a “market” order to buy ABC, ABC’s pending “sell” orders are matched by price order. Therefore, if someone sells 100 ABC shares for $ 30 and someone else sells 500 shares for $ 31, all 100 $ 30 shares will be consumed before a $ 31 share is sold in that exchange. Bitcoin exchanges work the same way.