Okay, I'm going to try an experiment. Emphasis on experiment. This could easily fail, and I'm okay with that.
Sometime in the month of February, I'm going to sell off a few remaining limited editions that I have squirreled away (which is not actually that many) in exchange for Bitcoins. No cash, no checks, no PayPal -- just BTC. This is an effort to (a) spread the popularity of Bitcoin, and (b) increase MV's Bitcoin holdings (albeit very slightly). In other words, I want more of you to know what Bitcoin is, how it works, and how to use it. My lever (or stick, if you will) is the few remaining limited edition patches, which are (of course) made out of Unobtanium. Just to repeat: I will not sell these for anything except BTC, no exceptions. If you want a patch, you'll have to play along.
So, this is your heads up. You've got a couple weeks to get yourself up to speed so that you'll be ready.
The most straightforward way to purchase some BTC is via CoinBase, though you'll have to connect your bank account to your account there. I don't recommend giving them your bank login information, but you can still verify your bank account via a couple of small verification transactions, the way PayPal (and others) do it. CoinBase is a legitimate company, recently funded by VCs, and are a standout vendor in the world of Bitcoin.
You can also buy Bitcoins locally via a face-to-face transaction via the LocalBitcoins service. This is essentially a service that connects buyers and sellers in a given area such that they can meet and exchange cash for Bitcoins. Use your own discretion as to whether you're comfortable with that kind of transaction or not.
LocalBitcoins will also let you connect with people over the internet, who will ask you to make a bank deposit to their account via a variety of banks with local offices. I'm leery of this approach, so proceed with caution if you go this route.
Note that you do NOT need to purchase one whole Bitcoin (which is trading at about $780 at the moment). You can buy very, very small fractions of Bitcoin. The patches will go for the BTC equivalent of USD$25 (or thereabouts) though I can't tell you the BTC price yet. BTC pricing is very volatile at the moment, so the price in BTC will almost certainly change by the time I actually put these on sale.
You will need a place to keep your Bitcoins. You can keep them at Coinbase (if you purchase there), or you can move purchased coins to your own digital wallet, which can take many forms. One of the easiest (and still relatively safe) wallets is the Blockchain Wallet. This service keeps all of your information locally encrypted on your end of the connection, so that even if their service was compromised (say, by a hacker) your BTC would be relatively safe.
If you want to be in absolute control of your own wallet and keep it off the internet, you'll need one of the software wallets that you can run on your desktop computer. The canonical wallet is available here from the Bitcoin foundation. It's a bit of a pain, though -- it takes quite a long time (literally days, if not longer) for your local node to sync up (via peer-to-peer connections) with the rest of the Bitcoin network. Basically, you'll be slowly downloading the entire public Bitcoin ledger to your machine so that you can see transactions arrive in your wallet, or send transactions from your wallet. I've done it, it works, it's safe, but it's slow. These days I mostly use Blockchain.org's wallet.
Transactions in BTC are fairly straightforward. Using your wallet software (or online wallet) you specify a public address where you want to send the coins. For small transactions, there will generally be a transaction fee added in order to get the transaction processed, usually 0.0001 BTC (or about 8 cents at the current USD exchange rate). Just be aware of this.
The way I think I will set it up is that I will post a list of all the patches I have on offer, along with a price in BTC. That price will be roughly commensurate with the regular prices of limited edition patches at the current BTC/USD exchange rate. Anyone who wants to place an order can PM me their purchase request, and I will generate a unique public address and reserve that patch. If the BTC funds arrive in that unique public address within a day or two, I'll mail the patch. If not, I'll un-reserve that patch and offer it up to whoever else wants to purchase it.
Purchases will be limited to one patch per member, first come first served.
For more information on Bitcoin for beginners, go here: http://www.coindesk.com/information/
I've just collected together the various limited edition patch stragglers that I've had stuffed into various corners of Modern Vespa World Headquarters. I have at least a dozen limited edition patches to unload, and there are even a couple of Italia editions (green and red roundel) in the mix.
Better get your Bitcoin wallets funded if you want one.
Last edited by jess on Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:26 am; edited 2 times in total