Last year, thousands of Ugandans were defrauded by companies that masqueraded as cryptocurrency dealers promising customers ‘out of this world’ returns on their investment. It is human nature to look for an easier way out of a situation, and these Ugandans saw this as an easy way of getting out of poverty and get rich quickly. Well, they were in for a surprise.
We want you, our dear readers to be ‘in class’ so you don’t fall prey to cryptocurrency savages. But first, we need to understand what cryptocurrency is.
There are many complex descriptions of cryptocurrency but our job is to make this as easy for you to understand as singing the alphabet.
In simple terms, cryptocurrency is digital cash. It is not that money you have in your wallet or bank that you can touch, feel, or smell. Cryptocurrency is that money on a network of computers. The question as to whether it is real is answered by saying yes, it is real, but you just can’t have it physically.
There are over 6000 forms of cryptocurrency but for purposes of clarity, we will focus on the most common form and mostly traded, Bitcoin.
Just because you see coin doesn’t mean it is some kind of valuable round metal, well, it is valuable, but not a metal. Why? Because we already said it is not physical. Bitcoin was launched in 2009 and just over 10 years later, it is the most valuable form of cryptocurrency.
You are probably wondering; if Bitcoin is real, how can people be defrauded by it? You see, Bitcoin is real, but getting it is harder that than kicking corruption out of Uganda. Again, why? Because it is damn expensive. 1 Bitcoin (BTC) = Shs31.4 million. That is more than a lifetime of savings for an average Ugandan.
Friends, let no one come to you and say that they can get you Bitcoin with your Shs1 million, then make it grow in three months to Shs5 million. There is no guarantee on the value of Bitcoin as it changes every other day the way ladies change their minds on what to wear in the morning.
That said, how can you get real Bitcoin?
Buy Bitcoins Online
So you have worked your ka money and feel like you have the money to buy Bitcoin. The most legitimate way is to buy it online, since the currency is built solely for the internet. Yes it is hard to trust a stranger on the internet but cryptocurrency was designed in a way that all transactions are public and have to be verified by millions of computers on a network for legitimacy purposes.
First download a Bitcoin wallet. This is software you will use to keep, send, and receive your Bitcoins. Don’t confuse this with your native Bank Wallet app, because unlike traditional currency, cryptocurrency doesn’t require a bank, because it is a peer to peer based currency.
After downloading your wallet, you will need to set up an account on a cryptocurrency exchange. A cryptocurrency exchange is like Owino market where you go with your Shs50000 and buy several kilos of beef (or spinach for vegetarians), only that in this market what is traded is cryptocurrency.
Again, genuine traders don’t take your money and say “We’ll grow it for you.” No! They transfer your Bitcoins instantly.
You can pay using your credit/debit card and some accept Paypal. You might be charged a transaction fee depending on what you choose to use.
Another way you can get Bitcoin is if someone sells it to you in person. Remember, you must have a cryptocurrency wallet to carry out these transactions, and you should only pay after getting confirmation that the Bitcoin has been successfully transferred to your account.
Developed countries have Bitcoin ATMs where you put in cash and get Bitcoin in your cryptocurrency wallet (I’m getting tired of typing this) but we doubt we have any of these in Uganda, let alone Africa.
Cryptocurrency is real, but people are defrauded and blinded by conmen who promise to ‘grow’ your money if you invest, and help you get billions in the near future if you invest a few millions.
This, you can do it your yourself if you buy Bitcoin, hold it, and hope its value grows, then sell it at a higher price.
Currently, there are very few entities that accept Bitcoin as a mode of payment for goods and services. In the next part of this article, we will see how you can convert your Bitcoin to physical cash so you can take your girl out on a date or buy a rolex off your Bitcoin earnings.