There are several ways to obtain Bitcoins:
- Mine them (like gold).
- Providing a good or service in exchange for them.
- Purchase them from a trusted individual or via an Exchange.
- Get some for FREE from the Bitcoin Faucet!
The Bitcoin Faucet is a web app that will give you a few FREE micro Bitcoins for registering your GMail address (to prevent overuse). Once you have your wallet options figured out, visit Bitcoin Faucet and get your FREE Bitcoins!
Completely optional, but if you feel like it, return those Bitcoins to the faucet when you’ve gained a little experience so the next new guy will have something to learn with.
Purchasing from a Physical Exchange
In the early days of Bitcoin, exchanging a fiat currency for Bitcoins required meeting someone near you. It was fun because you got to meet other enthusiasts and early adopters and socialize a bit. It’s not recommended to continue exchanging like this because of fraud and safety issues, but if you’d like to find out who might be interested in Bitcoins near you, visit the Bitcoin Locator.
The first exchange to offer a physical place to safely exchange Bitcoins at over 14,000 locations is ExchangeBitcoins.com. They have an arrangement with Wells Fargo to allow cash/check deposits in exchange for Bitcoins. Exchanges can even be done in reverse where you send Bitcoins and receive a check through the mail, or cash pickup at a Wells Fargo location.
Purchasing from an Online Exchange
Several Exchanges exist online to trade Bitcoins. Fees are very low (0.5%-ish)and will allow you to speculate/day trade if that’s your thing. The biggest name that has been around the longest is MTGOX. A close second is TradeHill. There are several more listed in the Reference section and with ill reputations to speak of, but these two in particular have earned the trust of BitcoinIntro.com.
To get started with either of these exchanges, register an account, link a funding account, deposit/transfer some money into your trading account, and make a purchase!
Providing A Good Or Service
This is by far the best way to support the Bitcoin movement. I you want Bitcoins and you already provide a good or service for $$$, it doesn’t cost you anything except the sweat of your brow to obtain Bitcoins and it is a great way to spread the word about this new currency. Just add a “Bitcoin Accepted Here” logo to your website or merchant counter and wait for the inquiries: “What is Bitcoin?” and have your chance to share all the interesting properties it has to offer.
Mining For Gold, er, Bitcoins!
One of the methods of jumpstarting the Bitcoin currency is through a process called Mining. We’ll discuss this in much more detail in the Mining section, but basically, your computer solves very complex problems and is rewarded with Bitcoins. To mine Bitcoins these days, you’ll need a relatively expensive Mining Rig (computers with specialized hardware) and expect a higher energy bill at the end of each month.
Make sure you read the section on Mining to learn more.