Buy bitcoin in the USA - with emphasis on self-custody
It’s been 129 days since we announced we were launching a self-custody by default portal in the USA. Roughly 18,000 blocks of bitcoin have been mined, bringing 112,500 new bitcoin into circulation. And in that time, we built a platform focused on you.
Specifically, your independence. Enabling your ability to buy bitcoin and not only place emphasis on self-custody of your coins, but force it.
There is a key distinction between forced self-custody and self-custody (withdraw) enabled. One enables you to be independent and hold your bitcoin safely, the other enables complacency and could lead to loss of funds down the road.
How is Bitcoin Well different?
Since 2013, we have been a non-custodial bitcoin business. For reference, a non-custodial bitcoin business forces self-custody – I’ll use both interchangeably. We started with Bitcoin ATMs in 2014 and launched a non-custodial Bitcoin Portal in Canada late last year. This Bitcoin Portal is now live in the USA, offering self-custody by default.
The key difference between self-custody enabled and self-custody by default is the workflow by which you buy bitcoin. We demand a bitcoin address before you can buy bitcoin. In fact, we encourage you to do it on sign up even before you have linked a bank account! This ensures we know where to send your bitcoin at all times – because it happens automatically after you purchase.
Automatic withdrawals are the only way to buy bitcoin at bitcoinwell.com.
Why that matters
You might say “I can withdraw my bitcoin from my current exchange – who cares?” And you would be right to ask that question. The difference is in the philosophy and guiding principles that went into building the platform. All self-respecting platforms will encourage you to withdraw funds (even FTX!), saying anything to the contrary has been proven to be either negligent or criminal (like FTX!) That said, most platforms don’t practice what they preach. Some claim adoption rates will suffer if we force custody too early. Others claim user experience and “numbers” will suffer if we force custody. I say they’re wrong.
Akin to working out, you don’t learn safe practices of lifting weights after you start lifting weights. You learn that first. Otherwise you will hurt yourself. We don’t teach you the rules of the road after you’ve been driving for a few months – that could literally kill people. You learn how to safely drive a car before you start driving. Why would your bitcoin journey be any different? Why would owning the most important asset on planet earth use education practices to the contrary?
Where can I look for help?
Bitcoin is a journey, and taking custody of your bitcoin is part of that journey. Personally, I believe it to be on the forefront of that journey – and our platform reflects that. If you are unsure, or scared to take custody of your funds – I can empathize with you. I’ve been there. I’ve helped my senior family members set up wallets. I know the feelings attached to that.
There are plenty of resources to help. Looking Glass is one of these places that can help you set up a wallet with personalized consultations. You can read and follow our self-guided mobile wallet set up. You can email me and ask questions! There is work involved in taking ownership of your bitcoin, but that work is required in order to become independent – which is the true value of bitcoin.
That work is decentralized. It’s on us, the seasoned bitcoiner. It’s on you, the orange pill fiend in your family and friend group. Don’t settle for anything less than self-custody!
What’s the impact to buy bitcoin in the USA?
At the end of the day, we are still reliant on a “custodial ecosystem”. This is the same ecosystem that powers your bank and other bitcoin platforms. This means, especially at the start, our progress will be slow and we are punching up hill. Ultimately, the burden of features and costs associated falls on us, the platform, rather than you the customer. As it should be.
When we started working with our partners in the fall, they told us what we already knew. Our automatic self-custody practice was abnormal. They had to change certain aspects of their technology to adapt to our automatic bitcoin withdrawal demands. And they did.
We had envisioned launching in May – we are instead launching in August. This is due in part to the Prime Trust meltdown which spooked our partner’s bank. Because of the Prime Trust custodial model, our non-custodial model was back under scrutiny. Fitting of the fiat ecosystem.
Part of this delay resulted in an outcome of limiting some of the states where we are able to operate our non-custodial bitcoin model. Not because we are non-custodial, but because custodial platforms are ruining the fun (and safety) for everyone. As a result there are 11 states in which we aren’t able to operate.
- New Mexico
- New York
- Puerto Rico
Lastly, and this will be temporary, we can only send withdrawals once per day. This is partly due to the fact that our platform will be starting small (and basically from scratch!) and fighting the uphill battle that is forcing self-custody of bitcoin. As our volumes increase, so too will our frequency of batches. So, if you want more than daily withdrawals, please refer some friends 🤩
The future is bright!
Again, I cannot stress enough how important self-custody of bitcoin is. You need to be taking your bitcoin into your full and sole control immediately. I am hopeful that platforms like Bitcoin Well will continue to pop up. There will continually be hardened bitcoiners that realize the importance of self-custody by default, and train this cycle’s new-coiners properly, with self custody at the start of their bitcoin journey.
In the meantime, you know what you’re doing! Sign up, buy bitcoin and tell some friends. Our mission is simple: enable independence. Self-custody of bitcoin is but the first step of the marathon we are prepared to run.