How to buy your first Bitcoin

Buying Bitcoins feels very daunting and scary all at the same time. Let me hold your hand and walk you through your first steps to buying Bitcoins. This is exactly what I and many others have done to get started. 

You need to get yourself a Digital Wallet. For just starting out I went for the free Coinbase Wallet. The Coinbase Wallet works on both iOS And Android. Its super simple, very safe, highly reviewed & one of the most downloaded Bitcoin, Crypto Currency & NFT Wallets. It does not come with all the fancy bells and whistles but it’s all you need to get started.​​​​​​​

Now head over to Coinbase this is one of the premier Bitcoin buying exchanges. It’s super easy to use, get verified and buy your Bitcoins. It’s not the cheapest but they make up for paying a bit more by making it very user friendly. For your 1st purchase it’s exactly what you want. I used them in my very first purchase. Simply Click on the buy/sell tab. Click on buy, add how much you want to buy, add funds and you’re done. You can also do this from their App which is called Coinbase.

If you decide to use my Coinbase link (affiliate link) we will both get $10 or £7.06 of FREE Bitcoin when you buy or sell $100 or £70.60 worth of Bitcoins. This $10 helps in a small way to keep the lights on at Mark Shaw HQ.

Having now got some Bitcoin in your Coinbase Account, I recommend that you transfer it to your Coinbase Wallet. You go to your Coinbase Wallet, click on receive BTC, get the long string of numbers & paste it into the Coinbase send to box. Make sure you add the right Bitcoin Address. There is a fee to send your Bitcoin to your Coinbase Wallet.

​​​​​​​This process is perfect for people who simply want to buy some Bitcoin and have never done it before. It might not the cheapest way. But it’s probably the easiest and simplest way. It’s exactly what I did to get my first $100 of Bitcoin. 

How to keep your Bitcoin Safe

The first thing I wanted to advise you about was security. You really have to think differently in this crypto world. There is no banking ombudsman or financial body to look out for you if things go missing. So the cardinal rule has to be you MUST ALWAYS be in total control of your private keys.

All exchanges will tell you how secure you are. But you have no clue as to the motives of the owners, you have no clue how really safe and secure they are. I am just super cautious and I want you to be. You need to think different in the crypto world. It’s not regulated. If anything goes missing, who are you going to call? No one that’s who.

A private key is a string of characters that sign a transaction through cryptography and let you move your Bitcoin. Much like a seed, if someone has your private key they will have your Bitcoin. Most of you will never interact with your private keys and only interact with your seed.

A public key is also known as an address. This is the string of characters that you send Bitcoin to. This is public information and you have no risk of getting your Bitcoin stolen from displaying this information. The only thing you will have to worry about is if you give someone your address and they have malicious intent, they could try to target you and take your Bitcoin. This is why most wallets will give you a new address each time you receive Bitcoin.

Bitcoin are only stored on the blockchain. What is stored in your wallet are the seed, private, and public keys. That is all. This information lets you access the coins on the blockchain.

A seed is a string of text, usually 12, 18 or 24 words, that generates your private and public keys. When you use a wallet, the wallet will likely give you the seed in this format. This is the most important information you should have. It doesn’t matter if your desktop/mobile/hardware wallet is destroyed or deleted, as long as you have your seed you can reclaim your Bitcoin.

So here is the thing. If you have left your Bitcoin on an exchange. You don’t have access to your private keys. They do. Simple as that. Anything happens to them, and your coins are gone.. I am not trying to be the harbinger of doom. I am super cautious and so do you need to be. You must be in control of your private keys. The first step before you start buying loads of Bitcoin is to make sure you have a safe place to store them.

I downloaded the Coinbase Wallet (Not to be confused with Coinbase the exchange). It’s one of the most downloaded Wallets for Bitcoin, other currencies & NFT’S. It’s great for people who are new. It’s simple to use, very secure & super simple to set up. It does not come with all the extra features that others might have but in my experience, all you need is to send and receive Bitcoins. I highly recommend the Coinbase Wallet to everyone. It’s available on iOS and Android.

I know there are a ton of Wallets to choose from and more springing up each day. The main things for me was security, ease of use, I’m middle aged and definitely not a techie. I did not need a wallet with loads of bells and whistle and complex things you can set up and finally it had to integrate with various other things. I’ll talk about that more later on.

How I sold my first NFT

I wanted to learn all about the NFT world. So, what better way than to actually create an NFT and then sell one. Thats exactly what I did. You can read in other posts, how I bought my first NFT. You will need a Crypto and NFT digital wallet, Ethereum as the currency a marketplace to sell it on & a piece or pieces of unique art for example.

I used the Coinbase Wallet (Not to be confused with the Coinbase App) I used the Coinbase Wallet as it is simple to use, secure and easily integrates with Opensea which was the market place that I used. Its massive and one of the most popular.

I decided on The Happy Green Bottle NFT. The Happy Green Bottle. Each bottle is over flowing with love, happy thoughts, virtual hugs, good wishes for good health, inspirational messages, inner strength, together with a dash of wisdom. There are a max of 10,000 Happy Green Bottles.

The Happy Green bottle would make a perfect gift for anyone feeling down or that needs some motivating. Instead of having an NFT in your wallet that you rarely look at, anytime you need a dash of good vibes, check out the Happy Green Bottle in your wallet. You never know, it might just be the thing you needed to see.

I drew it myself by hand & then took a photo of it with my phone. I’m now good to go to upload it to Opensea. When I got to Opensea, I needed to connect my wallet to the site. It connects to various different Apps. I chose the Coinbase Wallet. I hit connect, did the ‘sign in’ from my iPhone and I was connected. Easy peasy.

I added a basic profile which literally took 1-2 mins if that. The next step was to create a collection. Name it, add a logo, name and description. Then I added my photo. You dont pay a listing fee on Opensea but you do have to first pay a sort of registration fee to activate your account. You now have an NFT to sell.

I hit the sell button, added the price and what sort of sale. A bit like selling on ebay. And boom, it was available to sell. Later that day, I sold one of my NFT’S. It was super simple. Someone paid the price, the NFT went to them & I got the ETH currency less the Opensea 2.5% commission into my Coinbase Wallet.

Have a look at The Happy Green Bottle NFT Collection.

Please note, some of the links are affiliate links. I only recommend sites that I have personally used. It wont affect the price you pay. Cheers Mark

How I bought a .crypto & .eth domain name

Do you remember the internet of the 1995’s when everyone was snapping up domain names in the hope that maybe they had struck gold and that someone else would want to buy that domain name? Well, I did not know until recently that you can buy .crypto & .eth domain names Plus a whole range of other personal domain names.

The benefit of owning one of these personal domain names is that once registered and configured you can associate your Bitcoin & Ethereum public addresses, you know the huge long line of numbers & letters that you have to copy n paste to others when you want them to send you Crypto and instead give them your personal domain name.

I have markshaws.crypto and markshaw.eth which are both configured to receive Bitcoin or Ethereum. I can simply give that address out to anyone wanting to send me Bitcoin or Ethereum & it will end up in my wallet. But, you can also buy and sell these domain names. It might be a huge land grab for memorable names and then sell them. Who knows?

You can buy .eth domain names from ENS Domains which are another form of NFT. I connected my Coinbase Wallet to ENS Domains website, searched for the name I wanted & then agreed to buy it. Its a 3 step process, register, wait, pay fees, wait some more & bingo you get your .eth domain name I got markshaw.eth You can send me Ethereum or Bitcoin just by using that address. My experience the site was a tad slow. I was confused if it was registering me or not. I hit the reigster button a few times & then had to refresh the page.

It then started working. With anything Crypto I’m always nervous to refresh anything as you never know if you’ll get it back again. Then after getting your .eth name you need to manage your name. You can add your twitter handle, email address and other things. Be warned, best to add all things in one go. Adding them piecemeal will cost for each time you need to register the addition. I have been a master at wasting Crypto by doing it wrong.

Is it worth having a .eth domain name? Who knows. It might be a 1995 domain name land grab. I saw on Opensea you can sell them. There seems to be a large market for personal domain names. You can also get a .crypto & a .wallet domain name. You’ll need to go to Unstoppable Domains to get those.

Again, connect your Coinbase Wallet & its pretty much the same process. Get your domain names with a one off fee paid by debit or credit card or Paypal, then manage that domain name by associating your Bitcoin & Ethereum addresses with that name. You can add a load more Crypto Currencies but be warned each time you add a Crypto address you will need to pay.

ps Please note, some of the links are affiliate links. I only recommend sites that I have personally used. It wont affect the price you pay. Cheers Mark

pps If you want to send me Bitcoin or Ethereum, try using my markshaw.eth or markshaws.crypto as my personal address. Huge thanks.. Mark

How I bought my first NFT

How I bought my 1st NFT. I have to say it was a bit of a stuggle. I made many mistakes & it cost me some money.. not fortunes but wasted Crypto as I got things wrong. There’s no manual for this stuff, Theres no customer care for this stuff.

My first mistake was having the wrong Crypto Currency Wallet. Funnily enough I had two Wallets but both would not work with Opensea  So I had to get a new Crypto Wallet. I got the Coinbase Wallet (iOS and Android) which was fantastic. It Easily integrates with all the Apps and sites that I needed.

Then of course my Crypto Currency was in Bitcoin and in the wrong wallet. So. I had to move it to my Coinbase Wallet and exchange my Bitcoin for Ethereum & I needed to buy some more Ethereum. So, I got the Coinbase App (Its different to the Coinbase Wallet) as it acted as my exchange.

Having bought some Ethereum and then transferred it to my Coinbase Wallet I was good to go. But where do I need to go? I headed to Opensea a massive site with zillions of NFT’s for sale. The best bit, Connecting my Coinbase Wallet to Opensea took seconds & was super easy. I have said, I’m middle aged & non techie. I wanted something that was super easy, super simple, just worked and non techie.

Having connected my Coinbase Wallet to Opensea I was good to go. I found an NFT for sale & hit the buy button. Next I was signing on my Coinbase Wallet to agree to buy the NFT and pay the price. Its worth saying. You need to understand that absolutely everything you do on the Blockchain needs to be registered or verified. That always costs always.

You need to be prepared for extra costs in buying things. Thats the reality of the Blockchain. All this little extra costs can mount up. Moving money from an exchange costs, buying an NFT costs, moving money from one wallet to another costs.. Be aware of that. Within a few mins, the Ethereum had left my Coinbase Wallet and the NFT was in my Coinbase Wallet.

The whole experience was seamless. It was easy because I had made a load of mistakes in getting here. Now that I had the right apps etc. It was super simple.

Please note, some of the links are affiliate links. I only recommend sites that I have personally used. It wont affect the price you pay. Cheers Mark

Here is the NFT that I bought. Shes called Yoyo Squibeep. It cost me $18 plus approx $4.50 in fees.