This is a continuation of the most frequent questions I am asked by friends, colleagues, and family as I try to teach them more about cryptocurrency’s exciting new role in our world. The previous article has already covered the basics from legitimacy to acquisition, I wanted to focus on the questions I get asked after newcomers have gotten some coin.
“This is great! But where can I even spend these?”
While Bitcoin and other altcoins may not have as wide an adoption by retailers and service providers as various fiat currencies have, there are still many places that accept Bitcoin and other cryptos as a form of payment. Airline booking agencies, computer hardware and software sites, VPN services, and many brick and mortar businesses all accept Bitcoin, with the list growing everyday. My friends and I are gamers, so many of the people who ask this question usually are thrilled when they find out that Steam accepts Bitcoin as a payment option now. I’m sure that Steam saw a fair share of my friends’ coins coming in during the Steam winter sale this past year.
I also explain that Bitcoin and other altcoins thrive as a peer to peer currency as well, for personal debts. For example, this past weekend I was having a few beers with some of my Bitcoin holding friends and I ordered a pizza for the group. One of them didn’t have any cash, but we both had our mobile wallets and he sent me some bitcoin to pay for his share of the pizza. This example may be even more powerful than just telling someone they can spend coins with online, because you get to participate in the process with them.
“Why is my transaction taking so long to confirm?”
This is a problem almost exclusive to Bitcoin. I have no intention on having this post become a catalyst for the blocksize debate, but I do have to field this question often. Usually this problem for the newcomer comes from a lack of understanding how transaction fees work in the Bitcoin network.
Since miners have to process transactions and only so many transactions can be processed in a block, fees are required by the miners to put the transactions through. If you pay too low of a fee (as many of the Bitcoin neophytes I speak with do), the chances of the transaction being painfully slow and/or outright orphaned increase exponentially. While they’ve usually paid enough that it will eventually get confirmed, this is can be frustrating for the new coin user.
From my experience, such a mistake is rarely made again. However this is one reason that I usually that the new user does a practice run with a seasoned cryptocurrency user by say, paying for your share of a pizza with Bitcoin. This way the veteran can help out, and usually waiting a bit longer for someone to pay you back for pizza will not break the bank.
Between these two posts, these are the five most common cryptocurrency questions that I encounter. As always, I hope my experiences are helpful to all the other cryptocurrency evangelists out there.
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