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Have you heard of Bitcoins — the digital currency that has recently experienced a dramatic increase in value? Now estimated at over $1,200 per Bitcoin, the revolutionary and controversial method of payment has been making headlines around the world. There are plenty of reasons why you might want to start performing transactions using Bitcoins, but before you can even do that you’ll have to find a way to collect Bitcoins!

Here are 5 different ways you can start earning yourself some Bitcoins.

Investing

Investing is the easiest way of accessing Bitcoins. This works in the same way as exchanges for other currencies — you go to an exchange (for “traditional” currencies you would go to a location that might do currency exchanges such as your bank; for Bitcoins you would visit a website such as Mt. Gox) and buy Bitcoins using the currency you possess.

bitcoin_value_graph
I call this “investing” instead of exchanging because although the value of a Bitcoin fluctuates rather wildly, it is still showing an upward trend. This is partly due to the fact that more people are looking at Bitcoins as a legitimate currency, and partially because Bitcoins were designed for deflation as there are only a certain amount of Bitcoins that will ever exist. If you exchange Bitcoins now, they might be worth ten times as much in a week, month, or year from now. Then, you can exchange those Bitcoins for your traditional currency.

Sell Your Stuff!

A great way of earning Bitcoins is by selling some stuff you don’t need anymore on Bitcoin-friendly online markets What Can I Buy With Bitcoin? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Can I Buy With Bitcoin? [MakeUseOf Explains] If you’ve never heard of Bitcoin before, then don’t worry because you’re in the majority. Let’s just say that it’s a virtual currency (meaning you’ll never be able to hold an actual Bitcoin in your... Read More . You could try listing an ad on Craigslist and set a condition that the buyer pay in Bitcoins. Then you can also sign up on a marketplace such as Coingig.com and sell your items there. The site works very much like eBay and gets you some Bitcoins for each successful sale.

Mining With Your GPU

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Another way of earning Bitcoins is to mine them like the early pioneers of Bitcoin. Mining Bitcoins requires that you use a computer with a Bitcoin mining program on it. The program will then run complex calculations on your system, and reward you with a Bitcoin for each return value that meets the criteria for being considered a Bitcoin.

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Since mining has occurred for quite a while now, the chances of winning big money this way is very slim — mining alone will take forever but could reward you with an entire Bitcoin, or you could mine as part of a mining pool, which shares found Bitcoins among the pool members based on how much work they’ve put into the pool.

Mining with PCs is best done with AMD graphics cards, as they are the ideal for performing the math done in Bitcoin mining. nVidia graphics cards suffer in comparison, and relying on just your CPU is unsuitable. If you put yourself on the miner’s line, choosing the best GPU for Bitcoin mining How Can I Identify The Best GPUs For Bitcoin Mining? How Can I Identify The Best GPUs For Bitcoin Mining? Quite recently, I wrote an article revealing the disadvantages to Bitcoin mining. More precisely, a major disadvantage to the actual mining process is the cost vs. revenue battle, where you may be spending more money... Read More becomes a critical factor for the sheer number crunching that’s involved.

Mining With ASIC Cards

If you’re more serious about mining Bitcoins, there are ASIC cards that make Bitcoin mining far more efficient (in terms of electricity use), as they use less power and perform more calculations than the usual PCs. These machines aren’t very cheap though, but can be bought from various sources, including ButterflyLabs.

Mining On A Raspberry Pi

muo-rasppi-sd
Lastly, if you’re more of a Bitcoin mining hobbyist rather than a first-timer or a professional, then you could buy yourself a cheap Raspberry Pi and use it for Bitcoin mining. You won’t get nearly the same performance as the specific machines mentioned above, but it’s still a fun thing to try out. And who knows — that ~$35 investment could turn into a $1,200+ Bitcoin.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different ways in which you can get involved in the trending virtual currency. Bitcoin is here Currency Of The Revolution, Or Tool For Online Vendors? The Many Faces Of Bitcoin [Feature] Currency Of The Revolution, Or Tool For Online Vendors? The Many Faces Of Bitcoin [Feature] It's become an annual event: the fall of Bitcoin. You've probably read about it multiple times, and maybe even believe that the online, decentralized currency is already gone forever. It isn't. Created by a mysterious,... Read More , and it doesn’t matter if you want to make money from it or if you want to use it as an actual means of payment. After reading up on the few disadvantages to Bitcoins What Disadvantages Are There To Bitcoin Mining? What Disadvantages Are There To Bitcoin Mining? Several times since the beginning of this decade, Bitcoins have been slowly but surely been causing a (good) disturbance in the way people think about currency. If you don't know yet what Bitcoins are, then... Read More , there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give Bitcoin a serious consideration.

Share your Bitcoin stories with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: Antana via Flickr, Forrestal_PL

  1. Brent
    April 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    People don't even need to purchase mining hardware now that sites like http://www.cloudhashing.com exist. You can even trade hashing power on sites like http://www.crytpsy.com or http://www.poloniex.com. It's crazy how far mining has come in such a short amount of time.

  2. Jeff
    March 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    So, I suppose I shouldn't try to repurpose my old TS-1000 for mining Bitcoins, huh?

  3. Karl B. Hensel
    December 31, 2013 at 5:24 am

    Hardly, but thank you. You see certain failsafes must be established where no one, or united entity can gain control of any such commodity causing a major fluctuation in value. For instance the United States of America is considered the bread basket of the world. Corn, wheat, soy are farmed in great quanities. If certain persons or corporations were permitted to control a major market share of any of these commodities it would destabilize the world markets. Therefore. Strict limits must be placed on the amount of any commodity any country, corporation or group of individuals or even individuals can possess. Calculated exports to other countries must be established and followed to enable all countries to have at their disposal the means in which to support and grow. An anti hording law if you will. Only in the event of natural disasters can a country diminish the amount of exports mandated by any given country. A countries sucess therefore will be dependant on the peoples of each countries commitment to ingenuity, education and of course hard work. They indeed deserve just rewards.
    Also it is critical to establish and enforce profit sharing in all companies both big and small. A portion even as little as 5% returned to the work force will establish better work ethics. Increase productivity and most of all will return all nations to a one persons ability to support a family.
    Why this is so important. The moral fiber of the world is decaying as it now requires the efforts of both parents to work in order to feed and shelter a family which leaves the televisions, internet, games and most unfortunately the streets which our children are learning how to become productive, responsible human beings. All indications are that it is failing miserably. Of course it is optional that a second adult member seek employment. If wages were increased to meet a established minimum standard of living then less unemployment would exist. Our children would be learning from its parent(s). The single parent would be able to feed and provide for the family. A part time job may become necessary to pay for child care. None the less. The children would be cared for.
    With todays technology. We do not require as much from our politicians as before. By means of worldwide communications we can communicate directly to our government servants our agenda, priorities and work together behind the veil of cyber-unification. Well I ramble on again. My apologies.

  4. Karl B. Hensel
    December 20, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Bitcoin will not replace fiat money as it is unfairly obtained. A commodity backed currency is more inline with the worlds demands. One that is based on a bundle of you will of commodities. Such as metals, grains, fuels, lumber, sugar, coffee, etc. The value of this currency can be manipulated to some extent but actually will be a stable currency as these commodities have rarely fluctuate greatly. The exception of course is oil and gold which is manipulated every millisecond. Yes that is how quickly you can trade now. Of course you must have the computer power which the wealthy do. they can set buy and sell parameters and make a tidy sum in a day.
    Unless the worlds communities unite and agree upon first. An established equal minimum living wage. 2nd fair trade agreements. 3rd. humanitarian working hours and safety standards. Then we are screwed. It is simple.
    The worlds population is impident when dealing with the corporate empires. We all need a good dose of stand up for your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This would settle most of the problems except the one that causes more killing than any other. That is killing in the name of your God.
    Happy Holidays!
    Peace on earth, goodwill to mankind. Pipedream I know. Dare to dream my friends...

    • jayci
      December 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      Karl you are brilliant!

  5. Scott A
    December 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    So first some criticism: Investments aren't to be "taken with a grain of salt." They are very serious decisions and there are many financial tools available to increase your chances of success. I'm telling you this more out of concern for you when you start investing, if you haven't already. RPis won't work well in this application as explained in earlier comments. Also like many of the others above, I question the cost-benefit of using a GPU. No experience mining with ASICs, if nothing else, this article had some value for raising my awareness about them, so kudos, I think you ultimately succeeded in your goal.

    This was a really ambitious article for a college senior to author, but I think you're a little bit outside of your area of expertise. DIYs are best left for people who have successfully completed them, even if approached informally like this. If you had tried to use an R PI for this, you wouldn't have thought it was a good idea to include it in the article.

    Now the positive: I like your diction, this article was a fun read and it's cool that you're creating awareness of the topics you covered. I will keep following you.

    Ways to improve: Eliminate the section on RPIs, stop offering uninformed investment advice (Uninformed) investment advice is to be taken with a grain of salt. Focus on ASICs more, identify the costs of mining bit coins, use statistical analysis, benchmarking against alternative investment options and financial ratios to back up your claims or at least as part of your research. I think these changes would improve the value of this article. The Internet is a cacophonous "place" filled with unproven advice, imho it is best for everyone to use restraint when possible and only add something when it is genuinely meaningful or new.

    • Karl B. Hensel
      December 31, 2013 at 6:33 am

      Hello Scott,
      If it is computer power that drives this currency. Does it not stand to reason that it is an unfair currency as like any other system today. It takes money to make money? The balance of power has been thrown way off in the past several decades by our corrupted government. Well more corrupt I should say. As theft has existed since the beginning of mankind. I am sure at first it was food and has progressed to pure greed. You touch on investing. Do you truly believe that the majority of Americans have the means to conduct such activities?

      Many are in a struggle to survive. Dependance on the government is growing. Who do you believe is responsible for this? The same group that is cutting the assistance off. The wealthy wish to balance the budget by going through the pockets of the poor. Just as any other great society ever written about. Their reign will fall. It is ashame that the characteristic flaws of our society has created a short lived existence at the top.

      Who will be next in your opinion? China? Korea, Russia, perhaps it may be Australia? The greed of American corporations. The once proud pillars of our society will be the means of our destruction. Share the wealth is not a concept they can even begin to understand. It fills me with sorrow.

      Until then. Let the privileged few enjoy as they are the only ones to jump when it all comes crashing down.

    • Scott A
      December 31, 2013 at 6:58 am

      Karl, thank you for your thoughtful response. I think you are right on the point you make about the availability of this to Joe Public. I was really just addressing this at a proof-of-concept level, not from a perspective of distributive justice, accessibility, or apologetics for Bitcoin's place as a liberating disruptive technology. I'm not going to address anything else you said b/c it's irrelevant as far as the scope of this article and the responses the author has made to justify including a Raspberry Pi go. It also has nothing to do with any of the content in my first post. You're reading too deep into things ppl say on the Internet. I live below the poverty line and still invest. Could I do that on a dollar a day? Doubtful.

  6. Tom Dahlquist
    December 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Anything that can fluctuate 90% or more in value in a few months is not what anyone should look on as an "investment". The US dollar is the worlds most valued and stable currency, backed by the enormous assets and taxing power of our government, and yet some of the same people who push bitcoins want you to believe that they're safer than dollars.

    • Danny S
      December 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks for your input.

      Of course anything related to investing should be taken with a grain of salt. The main point of that section was that you can get Bitcoins by buying them just like any other currency. And like any other currency, that is often seen as investing in said currency. Also, like any other currency, it has potential to decline in value.

      I never said that Bitcoins were safer than dollars. If anyone was seriously considering investing in them, they would definitely have to do their research first.

  7. Raven
    December 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Oh look. Some kid is telling us all about Bitcoins. But wait..the article tells you basically nothing. You'd be better off Googling it or going to the Bitcoin website.

    You should know what kind of information you're getting when the author's picture is a "selfie". Sigh.

    This is what the world is turning into.

  8. Patrick Baggett
    December 9, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    This article seems like it would have made sense in 2011, but not now. Pleasepleaseplease don't write about what you don't have a deep and current understanding of, and pleasepleaseplease don't tell people to waste their time with CPU/GPU mining. I don't say this because I dislike your enthusiasm; I think it is awesome that you are interested in Bitcoin -- but you are really leading people astray here.

    As a person who has mined with a GPU and now mines with ASICs, I can tell you directly: don't bother mining with anything but an ASIC. I have a mere 14 GH/s and I get approximately 0.1 BTC every /two weeks/. Imagine how little one will get with a powerful AMD card pulling a mere 0.5 GH/s. A Raspberry Pi might not even get a single MH/s. That's 0.001 GH/s, literally tens of thousands of times less power required to get even the 0.1 BTC every 14 or so days, and that number of days keeps getting worse.

    Hobby or not, you can't even get 0.01 BTC with a month of GPU mining. In fact, you're not likely to get /anything/ because pools have minimum payouts - which is disappointing. Instead, using the $30 you would have spend on power for keeping your GPU running at 100% for 30+ days and buy a fraction of a Bitcoin.

    • Danny S
      December 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Like I mentioned in the article, the chances of getting anything out of mining is very slim. However, it's still technically a way to get Bitcoins. Just not very many of them. The point of the article was to explain ways of getting Bitcoins, not how to get rich through them.

    • Patrick Baggett
      December 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Hah. Yes, indeed you mentioned they are slim, but you fail to recognize for your readership just how slim. If "how slim" doesn't matter, then I would say that you failed to mention that a person can mine using a pencil and paper and a calculator, but that would be as silly as using a R-Pi to mine. Have you noticed how much flak you're catching right now in the comments section? It's because you appear to be writing about something you don't really understand; if you did, you would never even mention doing terrible things like CPU mining on an R-Pi. But of course, you know that already, you're just mentioned that you /could/ because ... it is possible. Riiiight. OK.

  9. Phil
    December 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    The trend is definitely upwards, that graph might just show a few hours' worth of trading.

  10. Herbie
    December 9, 2013 at 10:30 am

    The writer implies that the value of bit coins is trending upwards. So what exactly does the graph show? It was too small to read the labels but if it is showing value against time I would say the trend is downwards.

  11. John Smith
    December 9, 2013 at 4:28 am

    This reminds me of 'Pump & Dump' scenario, remember in every trade there is a winner and a loser. Easy fortune isn't easy to come by, better to play it safe!!

  12. John Hanks
    December 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    This is kind of a crappy article

  13. JMoreTea
    December 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I'm somewhat skeptical, but still curious. How effective would it be to mine Bitcoins on Mac OS X?

    • Francisco D
      December 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      It's OS-independent. It's all about the machine. If your Mac has dedicaded graphics card, then it's as good as they say in here. If it's just a "normal" macbook pro or macbook air with integrated graphics, then your chances are even worse, still it would be better than a Pi..

  14. McShoo
    December 7, 2013 at 9:10 am

    See this is getting people confused. On the other hand, if you do a little research, and if you read a little more stuff about bitcoins on Reddit and other sites, you are told that mining with your GPU ,on your laptop or PC, isn't at all profitable. You will harm your computer and the payment won't cover the costs.
    And on the other hand, you see articles on sites like Make Use Of ( and don't get me wrong but i love you guys), that tell you "go ahead, there's money to be made from mining with your GPU".

    Well, wich one is true ?

    • Matthew
      December 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Dedicated hash hardware is much more power efficient, a single USB key such as the Block erupter is about as fast as a good mining GPU, but uses a lot less power.

      On the other hand would a GPU gaming rig, when not used for that, be able to beat breakeven.

      Can't see that it would HARM a computer, so long as you aren't pushing temperatures too high, though it will put some more running hours on things.

      Somewhere else suggested that Litecoin is better for GPU mining, as the algorithm has not yet been implemented in dedicated hardware.

    • Patrick Baggett
      December 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      There is 0 money to be made from GPU mining. I have 2 ASICs for a total of 14 GH/s. They make practically nothing and use around 60W of power. A GPU is lucky to get 0.5 GH/s and uses around 200W of power.

    • Danny S
      December 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Maybe I should have emphasized more the fact that it's difficult to make money this way.

      The point of this article wasn't to say, "Hey look, do this and make tons of money because BTC are worth a lot!". Because Bitcoins have made so many headlines recently, the point of this article was to show different ways in which people could get Bitcoins to start using the digital currency. Making money is a potential reason (although, like anything related to investing, it should be taken with a grain of salt), but political/ethical reasons are also valid here.

      Ultimately, the three ways to do so is to buy some, sell stuff to get some, or do it the old-fashioned way and mine it. Under the mining section I even mentioned that the chances of scoring big here are very slim.

      I did link to another article which outlined several disadvantages, which anyone who is more serious about Bitcoins should read.

  15. Achraf A
    December 7, 2013 at 5:41 am

    The writer of this article doesn't even know what mining rewards you. You are not rewarded a single Bitcoin if you do that X instead, you actually reward yourself a full "block" which earlier was 50 BTC and now is 25 BTC but it's very unlikely that'll find a correct algorithm input that'll grant you a block using only a computer with a graphics card.

    • Danny S
      December 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      That's true, it rewards the user with a block of Bitcoins. Slight mistake, sorry about that.

  16. Don'tBeSoNaive
    December 7, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Bubble is about to explode any time soon... You are already late on this truck, move on. And if you got some BTC now, better sell until christmas. Leave only amount taht you don't care about it.

  17. Kevin M
    December 7, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I am thinking the same thing as Amanda, I guess if you are doing this as a hobby and putting nothing (or very little) real money into it then its not that bad but for those that are building their future around this (I know a few people) I don't think it is a sane prospect. They are not regulated and when an exchange fails you loose everything! I don't even think those odds are favorable to the most gifted speculator.

  18. Amanda Beyer
    December 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    And overnight *** poof *** just like that, bitcoins are gone.

    • Rob
      December 7, 2013 at 2:11 am

      I'd say that is highly unlikely with the Chinese getting into the game. The world is ripe for a fiat currency that is not the US Dollar.

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