Learn how to use bitcoin

Strainly stands for decentralization, resilience and biodiversity, hence why bitcoin has always been a natural fit. We decided in 2019 to be a Bitcoin-only platform. Why? Because the traditional payment processors and financial system in general are painful to deal with when it comes to our legal industry. While Bitcoin has been somewhat intimidating to most of you, showing apparent complexity and inconvenience, it is actually the most performant and safest payment system ever created. This article intends to demystify Bitcoin and its daily use, providing easy tools and simple guidance.

We previously explained why Bitcoin preserves biodiversity by putting the incentives in the right place.

Below are key benefits of using Bitcoin:

  • Bitcoin is safe. It is technically impossible to take bitcoins out of your wallet unless you intentionally push the payment to someone.
  • Bitcoin does not depend on central entities and intermediaries such as banks or payment processors. No one can prevent you from spending your bitcoin. No one can freeze your bitcoin like Paypal does with your -fiat- money.
  • Bitcoin, when used correctly, respects your privacy. Strainly integrates bitcoin payments using best practices that preserve your privacy.

Strainly integrates bitcoin payments using best practices without relying on third-party processors. We know that a lot of you use Coinbase and other large exchanges. Stay away from those platforms. They are very intrusive and do not care about your privacy. The below guidance is meant to hold your hand during your Bitcoin journey, by giving solutions for each phase of your journey. Note that there are many options available on the market and this article is far from being an exhaustive list.

“I have never used bitcoin and I am not sure I want to keep too much of it”

You are new to bitcoin and the short term volatility discourages you to keep BTC in a wallet. You want to buy BTC (or “sats” = the bitcoin cents) just when you need to make a bitcoin payment and to be able to sell BTC, for USD, EUR, GBP, CAD… right after you received BTC from someone.

Below are some options for you:

  • CashApp (US only) allows you to easily buy BTC in few simple steps and send directly via our bitcoin payment system
  • PayPal also allows you to easily buy BTC (US only) in few simple steps and send directly via our bitcoin payment system. However, we recommend using PayPal only if you already have a PayPal account and DO NOT want to use CashApp or any other app.

Both CashApp and PayPal allow you to receive BTC from external wallets and to convert back into USD.

  • Shakepay (Canada only) is similar to CashApp but for Canadians. It allows you to buy and sell BTC easily and send to external wallets (pay in BTC via Strainly). You can fund your Shakepay account in CAD via Interac and immediately convert into BTC to make a payment on Strainly. You can also convert BTD back into CAD and send the CAD to your bank account via Interac.
  • Relai is probably the most convenient alternative to the above apps if you are in Europe.

Now, you need to understand that all of the above apps are okay only if you do not intend to keep bitcoins and simply want to buy and sell instantly to complete your transactions on Strainly.

Why? because these are all custodial wallets. It means you do not control the private keys to the wallet and trust CashApp, PayPal, Shakepay or Relai to act responsibly, not be victim of hacks and stay in business. The kind of trust you have with your bank, except the level of risk is different here.

Next leg of the journey…

“I am familiar with bitcoin and I save a bit in bitcoin”

You have been using bitcoin (even for only a couple of months), you know you will keep using bitcoin and you want to securely store reasonable amounts of bitcoin for future use. You need to be in control of your private keys then, and not trust a third party to store your money for you. None of the below wallets can control the funds in your wallet, under any circumstances. They are self-custodial wallets, meaning that you control your private keys and can backup/restore your wallet and its content on another device and in another app should you lose or break your mobile device or should the company providing the wallet go out of business.

  • Muun wallet is a simple to use wallet that seamlessly integrates on-chain BTC payments and Lightning (the second layer that is best suited for smaller amounts payments, with low fees and instant confirmation).
  • Blue Wallet is another simple to use app that requires you to create two different wallets to handle BTC and Lightning payments, both within the same app. Note that Blue Wallet allows to buy bitcoin directly from the wallet using your credit or debit card, from most countries (via their partner MoonPay).

Let’s move to the final leg of the journey…

“I have been stacking bitcoin for a while and am accumulating a bunch”

You need to secure your bitcoin stack! Anyone becoming serious about saving in bitcoin needs to take appropriate steps to prevent anyone from stealing those bitcoins. As of 2022, the most robust solution is what we call “cold storage”, which means that the private key which signs your transactions is not connected to the internet unless you need to sign a transaction. To achieve this, we use what we call “hardware signers”, also called “hardware wallets” or “cold wallets”, which are devices storing the private keys that sign bitcoin transactions. They are not the most convenient for daily use with small amounts (though very usable) but are a MUST for securing larger amounts. The solutions we covered above are a bit like your wallet you carry in your back pocket, while a “cold wallet” is more like a vault.

We recommend using Coinkite devices, which are engineered and made in Canada by cybersecurity wizards. You will need to download a wallet app on your computer such as Sparrow Wallet or Wasabi Wallet.

Conclusion

As big believers in decentralized anti-fragility, biodiversity defenders and freedom fighters, bitcoin is the natural fit for Strainly and we believe, for our entire community. While we appreciate it can feel overwhelming to begin using bitcoin, we can assure you that you will feel very comfortable sending and receiving bitcoin after only a couple of hours of practice. The above solutions meet different expectations and levels of knowledge as you move along your bitcoin journey.

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