Pastor Phil Vollman discovered Bitcoin in 2013, and despite a modest wage and a tight budget, he began accumulating small amounts. Over the next five years of disciplined savings, he managed to amass 14.2 BTC, along with 507 Litecoin.
Now this was no prosperity preacher plan, with dreams of lambos and luxury living. Rather, Phil, hoped to secure the financial future for his wife and children, including an adopted daughter, whom suffers from a disability.
Unfortunately, on July 29 last year, Phil's Bitcoin hopes were dashed when a scammer stole all of his 14.2 BTC and 507 LTC. This was not because he kept his crypto on an exchange that got hacked. In fact, Phil stored his private keys on a Trezor hardware device. However, on this particular day, when plugging the Trezor into his laptop he was prompted to do a firmware update. What Phil didn't realize was, that although the website appeared identical to the official Trezor site, it was a fake, set up by the scammer.
Despite his better judgement, Phil followed the prompt to enter his seed words, which then allowed the thief to transfer away all of the Bitcoin and Litecoin. After so long taking the utmost care with crypto security, one mistake and years of saving and sacrifice were gone. And the reality is that at 68 years of age, with the current price of Bitcoin, there is no way that Phil will be able to acquire that much again. That is unless...
... the crypto community pulls together to help. We did it for Andreas Antonopoulos after Roger Ver questioned his investment choices. Some even did it for Peter Schiff, in an attempt to warm him up towards Bitcoin, despite his net worth already being 70 million dollars. So can we do it for Phil? I believe, yes.
With the backing of members of the crypto, business and Christian communities, a support site and fundraising campaign has been set up to get Phil and his family back to where they were before the thief struck.
A list of those supporting this campaign can be found here.
You can donate and follow the progress of the fundraiser on Tallycoin.
Along with Bitcoin & Litecoin, Pastor Phil is now accepting donations of Bitcoin Rhodium (XRC). The QR codes for Bitcoin, Litecoin & XRC donations are also included below this article.
While I have only touched briefly on it here, Phil and his wife have lived an extraordinary life of serving and caring for others, particulary sick, disabled and unwanted children. You can read their full story, written by published author, F. Daniel Somrack, here: Bagpipes, Bitcoin and Broken Dreams.
In addition to this, crypto YouTuber, Brian the UK Bitcoin Master, hosted a show where Bitcoin storage and security expert, Rocky Palumbo, interviewed Pastor Phil about the loss of his Bitcoin and the events leading up to it. You can view it below and really get a feel for the heart of this man.
When investing in Bitcoin (BTC) there are various strategies that you can use. Two of the most common are Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) and going all in. With DCA, you invest a set amount at regular intervals, while going all in sees everything you have to invest put into the market at once. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, so let's take a closer look these.
Going All In
Dollar Cost Averaging
In the current market it is difficult to judge which investment strategy will give you the best result. My personal choice at the moment would be DCA as I think there could be a further downward correction in the not too distant future, however, long term I'm bullish. No matter which strategy you choose, it is important to only invest money that you can afford to lose. This is a volatile market where the price can rise and fall quickly, so you need to be prepared for anything.
Bitcoin mania is sweeping the planet and there are many people wanting to get their hands on the number one cryptocurrency. The problem is, that with the price of a single Bitcoin currently closing in on $20,000, this is simply out of reach for most would-be Bitcoiners. This, in turn, can lead them to walk away, thinking that they have missed out and that it is too late for them.
Many new investors coming into the Bitcoin space are attracted to it because of the phenomenal price increases seen this year. Often, however, they are yet to receive important knowledge and information about Bitcoin, and in some cases have received misinformation.
One of the most common pieces of misinformation is that you have to buy a whole Bitcoin. This is sometimes correlated to thinking of a Bitcoin like a share in a company which you purchase in single whole units. Bitcoin, though, is not a company divided into shares, but a currency and store of value.
The supply of Bitcoin (BTC), unlike regular currencies such as the US dollar, is capped at 21 million. There will never be more than this. On the other hand, like a currency can be divided into dollars and cents or pounds and pence etc, a single Bitcoin can be divided to eight decimal places. In other words, the smallest amount of a Bitcoin is 0.00000001 BTC, or one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin. This smallest unit is known as a Satoshi, named after the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.
So, if you want to invest in Bitcoin, but can't afford or don't want to risk buying a whole one, then choose an amount that you can afford or are comfortable with. That could be $1,000, $500, $100 or even $50 worth of Bitcoin. You get my drift. Think of it as a savings account that you can add to over time as your financial situation allows. If you only invest what you can afford to lose, then over time you can increase your Bitcoin holdings. You never know, eventually you may even join the 1 BTC club.
Soon after posting Bitcoin goes Ballistic and Smashes $11,000 it fell by $2,000 and has since moved back to above 11k. With this level of volatility in the market, and so much money on the line, it is easy to make rash, spur-of-the-moment decisions.
The types of decisions I'm referring to are:
Making these types of decisions can have serious consequences, especially when made under financial pressure, stress or time pressure, whether it be perceived or real. This being the case, it's far better take the time to think things through and develop a plan for what you will and won't do in a volatile market. This sets you up for both present and future action, because one thing's for sure, volatility in Bitcoin isn't going away any time soon.
The following points are suggestions of some of the things to consider when making a plan for how to handle your Bitcoin in a voltile market.
Whatever you do with your Bitcoin, be as prepared and intentional as you can be about the future. More highs and lows will follow, and the temptation to act impulsively lurks in every significant move of the market.
If your Bitcoin is currently at an exchange, you are at risk of losing it during the SegWit2x hard fork that is set to take place on November 15. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security because your Bitcoin got through the Bitcoin Gold block snapshot without a hitch. This is different.
Bitcoin Gold was a friendly fork. That is, they were forking Bitcoin to create an altcoin, not attempting to become the 'real' Bitcoin. SegWit2x is not friendly towards Bitcoin and is more of a takeover bid. Much like Bitcoin Cash, whose proponents call it the 'real' Bitcoin, while they refer to the actual real Bitcoin as Segwit Bitcoin.
With the price of Bitcoin at all time highs, it is just too big of a risk to leave your Bitcoin on an exchange during SegWit2x. Many different scenarios could play out, and just because your Bitcoin has been held on an exchange without a problem in the past, doesn't mean it will be this time. You only need to get it wrong once and your Bitcoin is gone. Talk to, or read the stories of those who lost Bitcoin at the Mt Gox exchange and you'll get a feel for what it's like to have no control over your Bitcoin when things go wrong.
To secure your Bitcoin, get a hardware wallet, such as a Trezor or Ledger Nano S. Next, send your Bitcoin from the exchange to your hardware wallet. Once this is done, you will now control your own Bitcoin private key, rather than the exchange having and controlling it. You have also secured your Bitcoin against anything that goes wrong on exchanges during the fork.
In addition to keeping your Bitcoin safe, as someone who controls your own private key, you ensure that you will be rewarded with a number of SegWit2x coins equivalent to your number of Bitcoin. There is no guarantee of this if your Bitcoin is on an exchange. These free coins can later be exchanged for more Bitcoin. The actual real Bitcoin that is.
If you own Bitcoin or are considering acquiring some, then I highly recommend that you read the Bitcoin white paper, titled, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. It is the original document that introduced Bitcoin. Reading through its nine pages will sharpen your understanding of what Bitcoin is, and how it works, even if you're unfamiliar with some of the terminology in the document.
Start reading here: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
The image above is of a scam website, claimbtcgpu.org, which has been set up to steal Bitcoin from unsuspecting people who are new to the cryptocurrency space or unaware of the security protocols involved.
While the site claims to assist you in claiming your Bitcoin Gold, it has no association with the real Bitcoin Gold, whose legitimate and official website can be found at btcgpu.org. You can read my article about Bitcoin Gold here.
The scam site looks professional, provides detailed information, has a Bitcoin Gold logo and uses a domain name that is the same as the official site, except for having the word 'claim' at the front. What gives it away as a scam is that it asks you to enter your Bitcoin Private Key or Bitcoin Seed, as can be seen in the image below.
Never share your Bitcoin Private Key or Bitcoin Seed with anyone, because having either of these enables someone to access and steal your Bitcoin. Any website that asks you to provide them is a phishing site that is attempting to scam you. The same goes for emails, texts or phone calls. It doesn't matter what they say, or what excuse or reason they give. The only reason for wanting it is to steal from you. Never, ever do it.
Bitcoin's parabolic rise during 2013 from $13 to $1,100 caught the attention of the mainstream media and brought many new investors to the market. For those who bought in at the top, the sudden crash to below $700 and the continuing slide downwards to a low of just over $200 by mid-January 2015 hit hard. Many of these people decided to cut their losses and cash out during this period, thinking that it was the end of the road for Bitcoin.
Little did they know, or anyone else for that matter, that 2017 would see Bitcoin surge to a price that dwarfs that of 2013. There is also talk circulating, that Bitcoin will go significantly higher again before the year is out. With this in mind, and with similar stories abounding in 2013, it is worth looking back to see what we can learn from the past that will help us to invest wisely today.
1. Only invest what you can afford to lose. Many people invested at $1,100 feeling certain that the price of Bitcoin would continue to rise. It didn't. Those who needed that money for daily expenses and were hoping to make a quick buck got burned. Consider the worst case scenario and where you would be financially if the price crashed.
2. Only invest what you can afford to leave in the market long term. Those who bought Bitcoin at $1,100 in 2013 and have held until today are now in a very strong position, having made a significant profit. This, however, has only been made possible by their ability to hold. For three years they were carrying a loss, and if their circumstances determined the need to cash out during that time, they would have had to take the loss, rather than receive the upside that lay ahead.
3. If you have money invested in Bitcoin and the market crashes, hold if you can, rather than sell at a loss. There may be big rewards ahead in the future that you can't imagine right now. Just ask those who have held strong since the 2013 crash.
4. If the market crashes, and you have additional funds available that you can afford to lose, this may be a buying opportunity. Those who invested more money in Bitcoin during the lowest points after the crash, and held, are now very glad that they did. Of course, there is risk involved, as the market may not react the same way in the future. That is why, and I can't emphasize this enough, you must only invest what you can afford to lose.
5. Take some profits if you need to, but leave your seed investment there so that it can continue to produce profits for you into the future. In other words, don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
I recently attended a Cryptocurrency trading seminar where I picked up a couple of coupons for $10 worth of free Bitcoin. To receive the Bitcoin you need to sign up to a particular exchange that is also a trading platform. I offered one to a friend and he came up with a great idea. He is going to use the Bitcoin and the account to help teach his two elementary school aged children about money.
Children of that age receive minimal financial education at school, and the media targets them with messages encouraging constant consumption and to always desire more. Then there are the advertisements that are supposedly aimed at adults, but that kids take in nonetheless. Things like, gambling on sport is fun and rewarding, quick loans are an easy solution if you're short on cash and credit cards are a painless way to get what you want, when you want it.
This Bitcoin account, even with minimal funds, will provide an excellent experiential teaching tool for this dad, with many possibilities. He will be able to demonstrate and have his kids participate in saving, investing and trading. Through this they will learn about risk and reward, gains and losses, price fluctuations, exchange rates, analyzing charts, trading patterns and the differences between crypto and fiat currencies.
Maybe you could try something like this with your kids too.
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