It’s been four years since the Bitcoin Boom of 2017, when hundreds of investors struck gold overnight. Today, there is far less hype around Bitcoin, but to some, this makes it a more reliable investment – it’s stabilized and stuck around. And that means many of you might be interested in learning how to buy Bitcoin on iPhone.
Before we get too far into this post, I want to be clear that this is not financial advice. I am a writer, not a financial advisor. I am not saying whether or not you should invest in Bitcoin; I’m only going to show you how.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Bitcoin is a bit complex. I’ll try to clear some of that complexity up in the first half of this article, but I recommend some tech-savviness before investing. If you don’t feel prepared to educate yourself before investing, then I suggest waiting a few more years until more accessible platforms are available.
All of that said, Bitcoin has proven to be a reliable investment for the time being. There are speculations on how it will look long-term, but for now, it seems to show potential as part of your overall investment portfolio.
So, for those who want to diversify and push bleeding tech forward, here’s everything you need to know to invest in Bitcoin on iPhone.
The basics of Bitcoin: What you need to know before investing
Before getting into the specifics, I want to cover the basics I think everyone should know before they invest. This includes risks and concerns, so please read through this if you’ve never looked into Bitcoin before. If you already have a working knowledge of Bitcoin and its risks, feel free to skip to the next section of this post, How to invest in Bitcoin on iPhone, for a step-by-step process.
What is Bitcoin?
If you feel clueless about Bitcoin, you aren’t alone. Assuming the future of Bitcoin is as long-term as some pundits believe, we’re at the stage in Bitcoin’s lifespan that the internet was in 1991. In other words, most people know that Bitcoin exists and that it’s a form of currency, but they don’t understand how it works or how it will impact the world at large.
The underlying belief behind Bitcoin is that one day it will be just as viable of a currency as the US dollar. However, unlike a national currency, or “fiat currency”, Bitcoin will be regulated and backed by the people of the world, not by any government.
This is similar to how the internet works. There is no box containing the internet in a government safe. Instead, the internet exists because everyone connects their computers to one another and creates the web each time they log on. It’s a global exchange of information, and it’s believed that Bitcoin will become a global exchange of currency in the same way.
If this belief becomes reality in the future, then those who purchase Bitcoin today will eventually be able to use that Bitcoin for mainstream purchases, like coffee or a hamburger. Until then, though, Bitcoin is primarily an investment and a volatile one at that.
How does Bitcoin work?
Bitcoin is a digital currency. Like gold, there is a limited amount of Bitcoin that can be created (21 million; there are currently 18 million Bitcoins in existence). The value of Bitcoin, like gold, comes from the demand for more Bitcoin than is available.
Because there isn’t even enough Bitcoin to give one to every resident in Texas and never will be, Bitcoin has a high-perceived value, around $55,000 USD each at the time of writing.
As Bitcoin becomes more widely adopted, its value will increase because more and more people will want to have access to it. Imagine if ten years before the US dollar existed, someone was printing them and selling them. To most people, the US dollar at that time would be useless. But those who bought it and held onto it would eventually have an extremely powerful form of currency.
This is how Bitcoin generates value. Unlike a traditional stock, which derives value from a company’s success or failure, Bitcoin generates value by how widely accepted it is. As more companies and individuals accept (or reject) Bitcoin, the value of Bitcoin will rise and fall.
Is Bitcoin a safe investment?
Truthfully, no one knows for sure. I believe that Bitcoin has a very good chance at one day becoming as ubiquitous as the internet, and I believe that day will happen sometime in the next twenty years. However, if the major world governments decide to restrict or ban Bitcoin’s use, it could become useless overnight, unless you’re interested in the black market (which I am not).
For this reason, Bitcoin is much less stable than stock market investing. That instability means there is a lot of room for your investment to grow, but also the chance for that investment to deplete by large portions any day.
Additionally, Bitcoin is at a much higher risk of theft than your share of stock due to its digital nature. Because Bitcoin is managed through the internet and isn’t officially regulated, scams and theft are a serious concern. You should not invest in Bitcoin without first knowing how to secure what you’re investing. You can invest in Bitcoin safely, but you’ll need to educate yourself on how first.
Can you turn Bitcoin into cash?
Kind of, but not really. When I first invested in Bitcoin, I thought that at any point I could withdraw my Bitcoin as USD. However, this is not so simple. There are ways to convert Bitcoin into cash, but that means selling your Bitcoin to other investors.
The reason for this is that Bitcoin is meant to be its own currency. Unlike a share of a stock, which you invest cash into to withdraw cash at a later time, Bitcoin was created to replace cash. Investors believe that at some point in time, you’ll be able to have a debit card that holds Bitcoin, which you can use online, at the bank, and the local grocery store.
So yes, you can trade your Bitcoin for cash, but if you plan to invest in Bitcoin short-term, I would advise you to reconsider. This kind of investing goes against what Bitcoin aims to do and is closer to gambling than investing. It’s more difficult and more likely to backfire.
How to invest in Bitcoin on iPhone
With the basics out of the way, we’re ready to get into specifics.
To be clear, there are several different avenues for investing in Bitcoin on iPhone – you won’t find a single method for doing so. So below, I’ll walk you through the general path, addressing some variations and options along the way.
Let’s get started!
Create a Bitcoin wallet
The first thing you’ll need is a Bitcoin wallet. A Bitcoin wallet is essentially a bank account for storing Bitcoin since you can’t hold Bitcoin in most traditional banks. This is a simplification, of course, but is more or less what these wallets are.
There are multiple types of Bitcoin wallets, including desktop, mobile, web, and hardware. As the goal of this post is to show you how to invest in Bitcoin on iPhone, we’re going to focus on mobile Bitcoin wallets.
On your iPhone, you’ll find a plethora of Bitcoin wallets by searching for them on the App Store. Be careful to avoid scams, of course, by researching a wallet before installing it.
Here are some known and trusted options for iPhone:
- Coinbase. This is the most popular and widely used wallet. It’s secure, user-friendly, and mainstream.
- Bitcoin Wallet by Lumi Wallet. Another secure and simple option that’s integrated with features like Apple Pay. Strong focus on security.
- Binance. Binance is another extremely popular and trusted option. The design is a little sleeker and more feature-rich, and they have a solid reputation.
While looking for the above apps, I noticed some apps that had “Bitcoin Wallet” in the title but didn’t function as a Bitcoin wallet. Be wary of this!
It should be noted that the most secure way to store your Bitcoin is with a hardware wallet, which is like a super-secure flash drive for Bitcoin. You can always set one up later, however, and move your Bitcoin from an app to a physical wallet then.
Connect your Bitcoin wallet to your bank account
The next thing you’ll need to do is connect your Bitcoin wallet to your bank account. If that signals a red flag in your head, good! You should never give your bank information away without caution. If you use any of the above-mentioned apps on their official apps (not fraudulent clones) you’ll be more than safe.
The reason you need to link your bank account to your Bitcoin wallet is so that you can purchase your Bitcoins. Some exchange platforms allow you to use a debit or credit card, but a bank account is the most reliable. And it makes it easier to send cash back to your bank account in the future.
Connecting your bank account to a Bitcoin wallet usually requires a routing and account number.
Buy Bitcoin on iPhone
Now you’re ready to purchase Bitcoin! Like making any purchase online, this process is pretty straightforward. In the app you chose to store your Bitcoins in, you should see an option to buy Bitcoin (or another cryptocurrency if you like). Once you purchase your Bitcoin, it’ll be added to your wallet, and the app should show you how much your Bitcoin is growing or shrinking over time.
Before making a Bitcoin purchase on iPhone, keep these things in mind:
- Most exchange/wallet platforms for mobile have a minimum purchase requirement. This means you need to purchase at least some amount of Bitcoin (e.g., $50).
- Most exchange/wallet platforms charge a fee for you to purchase Bitcoin. This can range from a few dollars to up to $15-$20. While that is a bit high, you’re likely to make that fee back pretty quickly, and it’s the price you pay to use the exchange platform.
- Not all exchange/wallet platforms support all types of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is generally accepted everywhere, but a more obscure cryptocurrency (e.g., Dogecoin) might not be available on all exchanges. Make sure that your desired cryptocurrency is available on your platform of choice.
And that’s it! You’re now the proud owner of Bitcoin.
Track your returns
All that’s left to do on the investing portion of this post is to track your returns. Every Bitcoin wallet/exchange platform should make this easy for you. It’ll show how much you’ve gained or lost in the last 24 hours, as well as what percentage your Bitcoin has returned in that period. Some might even show you a visual graph of this data.
Like every investment, remember that investing takes time. You might see yourself losing a percentage of your investment right after you purchase. Or, you might see it immediately increase. This process will continue to fluctuate, so be slow to panic if the price drops.
Bitcoin’s history has shown that while it has gone through very high highs and equally low lows, it has had a very high average return rate. This means that assuming Bitcoin has a long future, you will see continual growth by being patient and periodically purchasing more Bitcoin.
Why you need a cold wallet
Ok, so I’m going to deviate a bit and talk about something you should do with your Bitcoin that doesn’t involve your iPhone. That’s buying a cold, or hardware, wallet.
Cold wallets are by far the most secure way to store your Bitcoin because they are much more difficult to hack. They take your Bitcoin off of the internet and put them inside of an encrypted wallet that you can keep on your person or in a safe place.
This dramatically reduces the chances of theft or fraud of your Bitcoin. Most of these wallets are relatively affordable, between $50 and $150. They’re also pretty easy to use. Just plug them into your computer, move your Bitcoin onto them, and store the hardware wallet somewhere safe.
If you’re starting by investing a small amount, like $50-$200, you can get away with not purchasing a cold wallet. But as your investment grows, it’s highly recommended that you secure it with hardware.
How to cash out your Bitcoin on iPhone
Now comes the end of your Bitcoin on iPhone journey, selling your Bitcoins for cash. Unlike traditional stocks, you can’t just trade in your Bitcoin for cash at a moment’s notice. I explained this in the earlier section, Can you turn Bitcoin into cash?, if you’d like to read more on why.
For now, these are your primary options for turning your Bitcoin back into dollar bills.
Sell through an exchange (like Coinbase or Gemini)
The simplest way to sell your Bitcoin is to do so through the same exchange you bought it from. Not all exchanges offer this, but popular ones like Coinbase do. These allow you to sell your Bitcoin to someone else on Coinbase purchasing Bitcoin.
You generally won’t know who buys your Bitcoin in these exchanges nor have any interaction with them. To you, it will simply be a process that takes place in the app. However, the app will be facilitating a transaction between the two of you.
If it’s important to you to be able to sell through an exchange in this way, be sure to pick one that allows you to cash out your Bitcoin before you invest. And remember that there are generally fees involved with cashing out, just like in stocks.
Sell your Bitcoin to other investors
Another common way to sell your Bitcoin is to other investors. These tend to be regional offerings (i.e., Americans will be able to trade together, Uk residents will be able to trade together, etc.) rather than global marketplaces, though global options do exist.
Be careful when doing this! Just like on sites like eBay, there is always the possibility of the other party being a scammer or the entire site being a phishing scam.
You can avoid these problems by researching a site before selling through it. Additionally, look for Bitcoin marketplaces that offer escrow. Escrow means that your Bitcoin will be held by that marketplace until you confirm that the other party has paid you. If they don’t pay you, your Bitcoin will be returned to you.
Use your Bitcoin at accepting retailers
Another simple way to turn your Bitcoin into cash is to spend it at accepting retailers. Microsoft, AT&T, and Wikipedia all accept Bitcoin. Amazon also accepts Bitcoin, albeit indirectly, using Purse.io. A popular practice is for Bitcoin holders to buy Amazon gift cards with their Bitcoin as a means of cashing out.
It’s also pretty common for tech-centric companies to accept Bitcoin. ExpressVPN, NameCheap, and Twitch all accept Bitcoin at the time of writing.
A few in-person retailers have started accepting Bitcoin around the world. Namely, many outlets in Venezuela are accepting Bitcoin in response to Venezuela’s economic crisis. Burger King and Pizza Hut are two examples.
Investing in Bitcoin on iPhone isn’t as hard as you think
This is one of the most information-dense and research-intensive posts I’ve written in a while. However, that doesn’t mean that Bitcoin is a scary thing. There’s a lot to learn, but once you dip your toes in, it starts to get easier. If you’re passionate about tech and believe in the future of Bitcoin, it’s worth getting into!
I hope this guide has given you the confidence to start investing in Bitcoin on iPhone. Be sure to check out the rest of AppleToolBox for more guides!