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Author Topic: Diary of a Bitcoin Virgin  (Read 7748 times)
Nyte
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December 09, 2011, 07:48:01 PM
 #1

Day 1 (Monday, December 5th)
I learned about Bitcoins today. It looks really intriguing! I love the idea of a new currency not tied to the whims of fractional banking. I'm going to give this a try!

Setting up the wallet seemed easy enough. Did a bit of reading on weusecoins.com. I stopped at the Bitcoin Faucet - ok, now I have .005 BTC. Hmm that doesn't seem like a lot. (Calculator) Ok, I have 1.5 cents. woohoo...

Day 2 (Tuesday, December 6th)
I decide today that I want to buy some BTC.  Go back to weusecoins.com. Gosh, this documentation doesn't really seem very complete.

Do a bit of googling. Find my way to Bitcointalk Forums. Spend about 2 hours reading about how to get started buying BTC.

Get an account at MtGox, easy enough. Oh wait, I can't fund it with Paypal, Credit Cards, or even ACH Bank Transfers... Angry

OK, since I'm in the US, I guess I have to get an account with Dwolla. Fuck, why do I have to jump through so many damn hoops!

Dwolla account done. I have to verify my bank account... should be easy enough.

What about Mining? That sounds interesting. (I spend 6 hours on the forums reading about mining while I wait...)

Day 3 (Wednesday, December 7th)
Still no deposits from Dwolla to verify account.  I'll spend some more time researching mining.

WTF, I need a degree in programming to understand this mining business... The newbie guides are somewhat helpfull, but very incomplete. I have to spend hours filling in the gaps.

A GUIMiner! OK, I think I can handle that. Fuck it won't work.

(6 hours of research later)
http://i.imgur.com/iXK1K.jpg

Ok, got the GUIMiner working. My GTX 570 is only crunching 105 Mhash/s and I read that it's not enough to go solo, so I join a pool.

Damn, my computer is noisy! Install overclocking software and find out my card is cranking away at 87C! Crank it down to the 70C range.

Shit, now I'm only mining at 65 Mhash/s  Undecided  I'm not even sure what that really means, but I know it's a lot slower than what I've been reading about.

I'll just let it crank away overnight and see where I'm at.

Day 4 (Thursday, December 8th)
Dwolla account verified! Initiate USD transfer. Transfer will be completed in 6 days! Fuck! Angry I guess it's back to mining.

Check on my mining progress and after 18 hours of mining I've made... 14 cents! WTF!

I guess if I'm going to take this serious I need to look into building a mining rig.

http://i.imgur.com/dcoYI.jpg

Shit... Plenty of pictures of rigs, but hardly anyone posting about their specs. Angry

Do some poking around on the interwebs (newegg, amazon, ebay, etc for some vid cards). No one sells 58xx and 59xx or are out of stock... awesome...

Bid on a used 5970 card on ebay and win it. Awesome!  Grin  OK, now I just need to figure out how the crap to build a system around it.

Day 5 (Friday, December 9th)
After spending another 3 hours reading the forums this morning, I decide it's time to post.

I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to computers, internets, and the like. I love the idea about Bitcoins. But it seems like there's an extremely high learning curve for someone to get started.

Anywho...

I'm going to probably build a mining rig. I'm a gamer and like to build computers so worst case scenario it won't go to waste.

I hope my MtGox account gets funded some time this year. I'd really like to be able to start purchasing and using Bitcoins (you know... if there's actually anything worth spending them on).

Oh, and if you have any advice for a struggling noob, feel free to send some my way.

Thanks for reading.

tl;dr
It's fucking too damn hard to get involved with Bitcoins.
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PatrickHarnett
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December 09, 2011, 07:57:14 PM
 #2

Actually, it looks very sensible.  You are researching and learning what this early adopter currency is like and doing it eyes open.

Working with exchanges or mining are add-ons, but getting coins initially can be tricky.

You would be much more annoyed to drop $100 or $1000 into it and find it was an elaborate scam.
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December 09, 2011, 07:58:37 PM
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Hi

First, mining is not really a good way to make a profit out of bitcoin. Sure, you gain something and if price increase that will be worth even more, but still, bitcoin is NOT a get rich quick scheme.
Also you have a Nvidia, and well nvidia sucks at mining. A same priced ATI would make like 400mhash/s
About temperature, 87° is a bit too high, if you are at default clocks and your temperature are too high then either you have to clean the card from dust or they sold you a fail card. But, it's not bitcoin fault, you will reach the same temperature with anything that use the gpu (so, gaming, and other CUDA or GPGPU things)

As for buying bitcoins via dwolla etc...well yes it's slow but well it work. Just be patient!

Bitcoin isn't so hard to get involved in, 6 hours to start mining? Here i just downloaded guiminer, joined a pool and started mining
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December 09, 2011, 08:04:58 PM
 #4

Let me help you avoid further pain.
Forget about mining. Unless you are committed to a large cash investment an much learning, it is just not worth it. I have a friend who has a profitable mining operation. All he had to do was build a special room in his house, install two 25000BTU AC units, build twenty specialized PC's each with four high end video cards. Now just rewire the entire house with commercial grade components and your all set.
As far as the hassle of buying coins, yes it kinda bites. But once you have a funded account then it is very easy.

The gospel according to Satoshi - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

Free bitcoin=https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1610684
Nyte
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December 09, 2011, 08:08:36 PM
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Actually, it looks very sensible.  You are researching and learning what this early adopter currency is like and doing it eyes open.

Working with exchanges or mining are add-ons, but getting coins initially can be tricky.

You would be much more annoyed to drop $100 or $1000 into it and find it was an elaborate scam.

Hi Patrick! Oh for sure, I did a lot of reading before I decided to get involved. I understand this is a new frontier when it comes to currency.

First, mining is not really a good way to make a profit out of bitcoin. Sure, you gain something and if price increase that will be worth even more, but still, bitcoin is NOT a get rich quick scheme.
Also you have a Nvidia, and well nvidia sucks at mining. A same priced ATI would make like 400mhash/s
About temperature, 87° is a bit too high, if you are at default clocks and your temperature are too high then either you have to clean the card from dust or they sold you a fail card. But, it's not bitcoin fault, you will reach the same temperature with anything that use the gpu (so, gaming, and other CUDA or GPGPU things)

As for buying bitcoins via dwolla etc...well yes it's slow but well it work. Just be patient!

Bitcoin isn't so hard to get involved in, 6 hours to start mining? Here i just downloaded guiminer, joined a pool and started mining

Hi Gabi! Yeah, I understand it's not a get-rich-quick scheme. But it is the best chance we have for an alternative currency in the digital age. I want to be a part of that.

Imagine my disappointment when my new GTX 570 turned out to be a duck when it comes to mining. Hence the reason for building a new rig. I don't want to burn out my new gaming rig (especially since I can't even break even on electricity costs with this card!)

I haven't really had a mentor in all this, so I understand that I'm going to have to spend some time getting myself educated. I'm hoping all these hours I've put into it will help me teach others how to get involved much more quickly.
Gabi
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December 09, 2011, 08:20:12 PM
 #6

Sure, mining is important (it is what keep bitcoin safe) but if you want to have and spend bitcoins, the best way is to buy them, like you are doing with dwolla and everything.

Of course if you get a mining rig you will make a decent amount of bitcoins
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December 09, 2011, 08:43:03 PM
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Consider the opposite for a second; Imagine downloading a miner app and letting it run for a few hours on a typical PC would actually have earned you more than a totally trivial amount of coins (or equivalent in $). How weird would that be? Obviously you'd go out and buy more hardware and multiply your earnings. And so would everyone else in the world.  Surely that would seem fishy no?

Well, thats more or less what happened this spring and summer. Unfortunately, you are late Smiley. Since the amount of bitcoins to be mined per day is fixed, the more people start mining, the less they will earn and its obvious at this point profits are going to be minuscule and for most people, non existent. The only way to make more money on mining than it costs in electricity is buying the right hardware and having very cheap electricity. Even under those circumstances, dont quit your daytime job Smiley.

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December 09, 2011, 09:07:02 PM
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You're right that buying bitcoins is damn hard. This is because:
> Traditional banking institutions and Paypal see Bitcoin as a threat.  Combine this with Paypal being Paypal and it means you can't fund mtgox accounts through Paypal.
> Let me repeat, Paypal is evil.
> Mtgox is notoriously incompetent at getting any work done to improve its services.
> Mtgox is running into legal problems in Europe.
> Banks are too damn slow.
> Chargebacks and scams are frequent with Paypal.

Sadly, the community as a whole is powerless to stop any of this shit.  We can only hope the funding process gets better and faster in the future.

(BFL)^2 < 0
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December 09, 2011, 09:34:11 PM
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One important lesson here is that it isn't at all obvious for new users that OTC p2p trading is the best way to get your hands on Bitcoins. Just join some system that helps you find peers you can trust (e.g. bitmarket, bitcoin-otc), send money and receive coins. There are also some sites that sell Bitcoin for credit card / paypal, they come and go. I think OTC must be the preferred way to acquire coins, and this should be encouraged in all introduction texts. MtGox is like DeepBit, newbies won't know why they are supposed to use those services but they go there anyway, because they are popular, which is a perfectly normal way to approach new things.
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December 09, 2011, 10:01:50 PM
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I thought you could just walk into a Chase bank and send money to Mt.Gox? That seems like a much faster way to get some bitcoins than using dwolla?

Chase banks aren't in every state. I guess if you have a Chase bank in your state you'd never bother researching what states they are in though.
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December 09, 2011, 11:24:49 PM
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I thought you could just walk into a Chase bank and send money to Mt.Gox?

That method has been temporarily suspended:
 - http://mtgox.zendesk.com/entries/20741697-temporarily-suspending-chase-cash-deposits

There are multiple methods to acquire bitcoins:
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Buying_bitcoins

Two other exchanges that still offer the ability to deposit cash at a bank are:
 - http://www.get-bitcoin.com  (Chase)
 - http://www.cryptoxchange.com (Bank of America)

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December 10, 2011, 02:39:15 AM
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You can also use Tradehill, which accepts OKPAY, Paxum and wire transfers.
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December 10, 2011, 08:05:40 AM
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This is excellent because it shows how hard it is for a total newbie to come into bitcoin.  The hurdles are giant.  This is not good.  We need to grandma proof this is fast as we can.  I'm not exaggerating, we need this to be as easy as cash or credit cards.  I have been hardcore into enterprise computer engineering for 14 years now, and it's sort of trivial for me, but to your average user they are completely lost.  If we tear down these hurdles it will guarantee bitcoin adoption on a mass scale, no doubt about it.
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December 10, 2011, 08:23:12 AM
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Day 6: You get whitelisted for posting something substantial. Smiley

See if anyone near you will trade cash for BTC. This will be the easiest method if it's possible.

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December 10, 2011, 06:19:22 PM
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OP- thanks for your tale!

The easiest way to buy Bitcoin is just to have a CryptoXChange.com account and deposit cash at a Bank of America. You'll have Bitcoins 24-48 hrs later. No dwolla, no wire transfers, no verification.
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December 11, 2011, 07:01:59 PM
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Nyte, I've had the same experience that you wrote about. Except now I've finished up and have  16 bitcoins as of a few days ago. What a pain it was! Now, I'm looking around to see what I can do with these coins. I love the idea, but it's like the wild west around here. Sites up one day, then down the next. People offering deals, then disappearing with other people's coins. I'm finding sites that are literally ponzi schemes and they claim it to be too!

I find the whole thing fascinating. Having looked over these forums, I can see that people are making transactions legitimately but it seems like it takes some research. Meanwhile, while I figure out what to do with my coins, I find that they've gone up in value by 10% in the last few days. Not too bad, but who knows what they'll be worth in another year. I hope they keep their value and people starting creating more legitimate and stable sites. I would love for this idea to take off. I saw how it had it's boom and subsequent crash to this point (but it's still higher than it was before the boom). Time will tell what happens to this whole bitcoin thing.

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December 11, 2011, 09:07:15 PM
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tl;dr: we need an exchange that takes cash deposits, NOW.  Everything else is doing okay.  Edit: we should be sending people in the USA to cryptoxchange since cash-deposits-at-a-branch are massively simpler than any other funding mechanism.

Get an account at MtGox, easy enough. Oh wait, I can't fund it with Paypal, Credit Cards, or even ACH Bank Transfers... Angry

Yes, the difficulty of getting fiat currency into the exchanges is a big issue.  You're sort of unlucky on the timing, though: from mid-summer until just a week ago there was always at least one exchange that would let you make cash deposits at a bank branch in the USA.  Hopefully that option will come back.


What about Mining? That sounds interesting.

Mining is not for newbies, is not easy, and probably never will be.  I don't see that as a negative for bitcoin... it's more important to make transactions easy.  Miners are highly incentivized to expend effort learning about difficult stuff; the developers' time is better spent making things easy for everybody else.

The printing press heralded the end of the Dark Ages and made the Enlightenment possible, but it took another three centuries before any country managed to put freedom of the press beyond the reach of legislators.  So it may take a while before cryptocurrencies are free of the AML-NSA-KYC surveillance plague.
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December 11, 2011, 09:09:21 PM
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This is excellent because it shows how hard it is for a total newbie to come into bitcoin.  The hurdles are giant.

No, we just need to make it clear that mining is not for newcomers.

I think this guy's experience would have been much more positive if he hadn't thought that mining was a way for newcomers to acquire small amounts of coins without investing much time.  That simply isn't true, and we should make sure people know that.

The printing press heralded the end of the Dark Ages and made the Enlightenment possible, but it took another three centuries before any country managed to put freedom of the press beyond the reach of legislators.  So it may take a while before cryptocurrencies are free of the AML-NSA-KYC surveillance plague.
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December 11, 2011, 10:28:24 PM
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Nyte, I've had the same experience that you wrote about. Except now I've finished up and have  16 bitcoins as of a few days ago. What a pain it was! Now, I'm looking around to see what I can do with these coins. I love the idea, but it's like the wild west around here. Sites up one day, then down the next. People offering deals, then disappearing with other people's coins. I'm finding sites that are literally ponzi schemes and they claim it to be too!
...
Yes this is like the wild west of finance. Because of bitcoins unique properties and because of lack of regulation you will see all kinds of crazy transactions, like open ponzi schemes. P.S. As no one is being deceived It's not a ponzi, It's really just a kind of quirky game. In an environment such as this there is both opportunity and danger in abundance.

The gospel according to Satoshi - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

Free bitcoin=https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1610684
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December 11, 2011, 10:42:22 PM
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Hahahahahahaha, I'm new to Bitcoin as well, I think it is a revolutionary idea and it needs coins to circulate hence it needs mners. I've just had a play with bitcoinplus.com  Cheesy, my quad core PC can get a payout of 0.0000446 BTC once an hour (roughly). I believe solving a block gets you 50 BTC, it would take me 130 years to get that on bitcoinplus.com  Cheesy.

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