Should I accept a gift of bitcoins?
December 28, 2012 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Someone wants to give me Bitcoins. What's up with that these days? Should I accept these, and what can I do with them?

This is a straight up gift, not a payment of any kind. So I was thinking, why not? But I don't want to spend hours researching this, and after reading a bit, it seems like I have to download software and then my computer . . . does something?

Should I accept, or say no thanks? Can I immediately cash them in somehow? I'm not sure I want to get involved in something I don't understand.
posted by peep to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
there's no real danger to accepting them, but they're kind of a pain in the ass to deal with, and a small gift might be more trouble than it's worth to figure out.
posted by empath at 9:45 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: What would you consider a small gift? (I have no clue.)
posted by peep at 9:55 AM on December 28, 2012

Currently 1 bitcoin is worth approx USD13.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2012

I haven't dealt with Bitcoins in about a year, so I don't know what may have changed, but when I cashed out I sold to Mtgox, and then linked a bank account to Dwolla to withdraw the proceeds. It was time consuming, but I didn't run into any problems.

You can find current Bitcoin charts here. Depending on the amount of the gift, you can decide whether it's worth the hassle to deal with selling and cashing out.
posted by snowleopard at 10:04 AM on December 28, 2012

It's easy enough to download software to receive the bitcoins. It's no hassle to keep them - it's doing anything with them that is the pain.

BitCoins are a virtual, decentralized currency. New BitCoins are created - slowly - but there is a finite number to the BitCoins in the world. They will, eventually, take over all the other world currencies (that are managed by corrupt central governments), once people see the value of a currency that is anonymous (sort of) and can not be controlled by any central authority. Either that or it's a bit of electronic masturbation by a bunch of cyber libertarians who think way too much of themselves and have a worldview straight out of Atlas Shrugged (which they haven't read, even though they claim they have) and The Road to Serfdom (ditto).

I'd take them. There's no real harm in doing it. If you want to cash them out immediately, you can do that. If not, hold on tot hem for a while and see what happens. I have a few BitCoins sitting around doing nothing. I don't know what, if anything, I'll ever do with them, but it's cheap amusement.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:36 AM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]

It looks like maybe you can use Coinbase to accept Bitcoins and do things with the currency, although I'm not entirely sure how people send you Bitcoins through it—but I'm guessing the person who wants to send you Bitcoins knows how to do it. A Coinbase account is free, with a 1 percent fee to convert Bitcoins to your local currency, or something along those lines. Seems like it's worth receiving them through a hosted coin-wallet service like this, especially if it's a gift!
posted by limeonaire at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2012

In the what you can do with them category, there is Silk Road.
posted by rickim at 12:20 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you take them, you are implicitly agreeing to future conversations with that person about Bitcoins. It's like inviting religious proselytizers in for coffee---they'll keep coming back with more and more important things they want to tell you.

That's not a trade off I'd make except for a significant amount of money.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:26 PM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]

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