The Bitcoin exchanges have a rugged history. Mt.Gox, once the largest exchange, closed in 2014 after losing hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoins after a trick.
Today, the leading exchange is offered by Coinbase, a startup that has raised more than $ 200 million from a number of top-tier venture capital companies. Square (SQ), the payment service, is also launching a bitcoin product.
There are also bitcoin ATMs in scattered wineries and convenience stores throughout the country, through companies such as Coinsource. ATMs allow you to exchange bitcoin for cash, or vice versa by scanning a QR code from the digital wallet application on your phone.
With Coinbase, you must first grant the application permission to connect to your bank account. As with other stock trading applications, you pay a small fee for each transaction, purchase and sale. But the transaction can take much longer.
My original purchase of $ 100 in bitcoins will not be officially completed in Coinbase until Friday, more than a week after the transaction. The price I bought remains the same, but I will not be able to sell it before Friday.
If the price plummets before then, I'm not lucky.