Sexworkers guide to… Paying for advertising with bitcoin
Disclaimer PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL WITH YOUR MONEY AND TRANSACTIONS. THIS ADVICE IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND IS NOT LEGAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE.
I highly advise reading https://bitcoin.org/en/you-need-to-know at a minimum. Also understand there are risks associated with using Bitcoin. Further information at https://www.weusecoins.com/en/questions/ in particular the Security https://www.weusecoins.com/en/questions/#security and disadvantages https://www.weusecoins.com/en/questions/#what-are-the-disadvantages-of-bitcoin sections
What is bitcoin
Bitcoin is a type of currency that is virtual, you might hear it called cryptocurrency. Think of it as internet money. You can’t hold it in your hand or stuff it under your actual mattress but it works in some physical stores and online sites that are set up to take bitcoin like any other money. Luckily for us backpage.com and cracker.com both accept bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is a digital currency, meaning it’s money controlled and stored entirely by computers spread across the internet” http://www.wired.com/2013/11/bitcoin-survival-guide/
“Bitcoin isn’t just a currency, like dollars or euros or yen. It’s a way of making payments, like PayPal or the Visa credit card network. It lets you hold money, but it also lets you spend it and trade it and move it from place to place, almost as cheaply and easily as you’d send an email.” http://www.wired.com/2013/11/bitcoin-survival-guide/
For more details try
- ‘The Key To The System’ section on http://www.wired.com/2013/11/bitcoin-survival-guide/
- ‘How Does Bitcoin Work’ on https://bitcoin.org/en/how-it-works
- Bitcoin Wiki https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page
- We Use Coins https://www.weusecoins.com/
Opening a bitcoin account
If you own bitcoins you will have a private key which is like an weird looking internet address that’s a register of your bitcoins. You’ll need a program called a wallet to manage your private keys and bitcoins.
“As with paper money, you can save Bitcoins in a wallet, which stores the public and private keys needed to identify the Bitcoins and execute a transaction. These can be digital wallets that exist in secure cloud environments or on a computer, or they can take physical form. If a wallet is hacked or you lose your private Bitcoin key, you no longer have access to that Bitcoin. Possession of the public address and private key amounts to possession of the Bitcoin.” http://venturebeat.com/2014/02/17/bitcoin-for-idiots-an-introductory-guide/
There are many excellent wallets for smartphones, desktops and web access. For a good list try https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet I’m going to suggest for desktops/web applications (note that web based may potentially be less secure)
- Coinjar (easy to use) https://www.coinjar.com/ This is a wallet I use
- Armory (super secure) https://bitcoinarmory.com/
- Circle (web based) https://www.circle.com/en (update: their terms and conditions don’t specifically ban
and for smartphones
- Airbitz (iPhone, android) https://airbitz.co/ or check the app stores
- Blockchain (iPhone, android, desktop) https://blockchain.info/wallet/ or check the app stores. This is a wallet I use
but check out the options and find something you are comfortable with. And as always READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS! I haven’t gone over all of them yet and they may change.
*Update: check closely that your wallet doesn’t have anti-sexworkers policies. Coin Cafe and Coinbase should be avoided. Also be aware that many wallets have “must be legal in your location’ terms in their legal policies.
Generally speaking some bitcoin wallets will let you transfer money from your bank account to your wallet. Note that to use your wallet with a bank account you will most likely need to meet identity verification requirement https://support.coinjar.com/hc/en-us/articles/202909955-Verifying-your-identity for example, essentially government issued photo ID and a statement showing your full name and current residential address and it could take a few days to process. If you don’t want to do this see below for buying bitcoin with cash.
It is possible to buy bitcoins without a bank account or without linking your wallet to a bank account. WARNING! Be careful with who you trade with. Check reputations and avoid scams.
Bitcoin Australia https://www.coinloft.com.au/ take payments for bitcoin by creating an order online and then doing an over the counter bank deposit at any Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac or NAB bank branch.
Local bitcoins https://localbitcoins.com/ is a marketplace for trading bitcoins locally for cash or online payments of your choice, you can search by location and see who will accept cash or over the counter bank deposit. Please read https://localbitcoins.com/guides/security for security information.
Bitcoin ATM’s exist as well but there are not many of them. Try http://abatech.com.au/ (requires government ID even for cash) and http://coinatmradar.com/ or http://www.bitrocket.co for an ATM search.
For more information on buying bitcoins try https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Buying_Bitcoins_(the_newbie_version)
My process for buying and using bitcoin
I have set up a fully verified Coinjar account in my real name and linked to my personal bank accounts. I also have a Blockchain wallet set up with Corrines email. My preference for buying bitcoin is through an ATM and I will load it onto either of the wallets. If I’m not near an ATM then I use Coinjar to buy bitcoin using their BPay. I then either use it straight from Coinjar for everyday things like buying coffee or if I want to use things as Corrine I transfer it to my Blockchain wallet. If you are concerened about transactions between wallets being monitored I would suggest using a mixing service such as https://bitmixer.io/ but to be honest I don’t bother.
This works for me in Australia as an Australian. Otherwise to buy I would use ATM’s or a reputable seller through local bitcoins (see above).
When taking payments from clients I have a few separate addresses in my blockchain wallet so I can keep track of where things have come from.
On cracker and backpage (they are basically the same) log into your account or look at the bottom of the front page for a link called ‘Buy Credits (new!)’. This will bring up a page looking like this (cracker just has a different color scheme), you will need to expand the bitcoin section.
On the new screen enter a credit amount and then the select button under bitcoin. This will give you a page like this which has a QR code that can be scanned by a mobile wallet and a link to launch your web or desktop wallet or you can manually send the transaction. For more help on this see the help guide in the wallet application that you use.