Santa Does Crypto: How to Give the Gift of Bitcoin this Christmas

As Mariah Carey comes out from wherever she’s hiding for the rest of the year to take over every radio station for a whole month, it’s time for you to start preparing for the holidays!

We are only weeks away from Christmas, and whether you’re celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ or just there for the annual family roast (not the food kind), one thing is for sure; Christmas is the time for family and friends to come together and spend some quality time over food, drinks and gifts!

It truly is a magical season, especially for crypto enthusiasts, since the holidays can be the perfect occasion for them to share their passion and introduce a big part of their lives to their loved ones. If you are one such enthusiast, here’s how to kill two birds with one stone…

Give the gift that keeps on giving!

Introducing your grandma to Bitcoin and spending your time explaining technical details over the dinner table may not be the best idea.

Instead, giving the gift of Bitcoin to your siblings, friends and even skeptic parents may be one of the most refreshing ways of sharing your passion with them and giving them something of value, something to HODL and remember until the next Christmas!

Since last year’s Christmas Eve, Bitcoin went from $900 to more than $10,000! Having the pleasure to call your friend or someone from your family a year later and tell them that the Bitcoins you gave them for Christmas have risen in value is an opportunity that you shouldn’t miss.

This is precisely why we created an easy-to-follow guide, explaining in detail a few exciting ways to give the gift of Bitcoin even to your least tech-savvy friends and family.

Santa’s crypto gift card – The paper wallet!

If you’re looking for something practical and easy to use, something that can be given as a side-gift and instantly be used by the receiver, paper wallets are the crypto-gift you’re looking for!

Paper wallets make for the safest and most practical way of storing bitcoin. Also, they make a tremendous gift-card style present for Christmas! You can print them yourself by using some of the online resources we recommend below.

A paper wallet is essentially a document that contains copies of the public and private keys that make up a wallet. Paper wallets have significant safety benefits since the information of your public and private key is not stored anywhere digitally, and therefore you eliminate the threat of being attacked by hackers and getting your funds stolen.

The public key is your wallet address you provide to other people when you want to receive a payment. The private key, on the other hand, enables you to send bitcoins to other people.

Creating a paper wallet

1. To generate a new bitcoin address, open BitAddress.org in your browser;

2. “Create some randomness” by either randomly typing characters into the form or moving your cursor around;

3. You will be presented with your public and private keys and their respective QR codes;

4. Now click the ‘Paper wallet’ tab and select the number of addresses you want to generate (one for each friend maybe?) and click ‘Generate’

5. Once the paper wallets are generated, click the ‘Print’ button to make a hard copy using your printer.

An even better way of surprising your friends is to give them a Christmas-themed paper wallet made using Bitcoinpaperwallet.com. Just follow the step-by-step instructions provided on their website and you’ve got yourself the complete opposite of an ugly Christmas sweater – a gift your friends will actually brag about!

Finally, scan the public address QR code in your mobile wallet app, or write the public address manually and start depositing funds.

How can I use, load and spend bitcoins from my paper wallet?

Paper wallets are practically a cold storage for your public and private keys. You can use web, desktop or mobile, or any other wallet of your choice that offers the possibility to “import private keys.”

There are two most practical ways of importing funds from your physical “cold storage” wallet to your wallet intended for spending.

The most basic, old-school method is reading and typing your private key manually to your web, desktop or mobile wallet to access the funds. The second (and probably more convenient) way to import your private keys is by using the private key QR-code. Just scan the QR code printed on your paper wallet with your phone camera, and you’ll have access to them through the wallet of your choosing.

Mycelium mobile wallet offers relatively safe possibility for partial spending. Mycelium automatically deletes information about the private key from your phone shortly after the import. This means that your private key can be stolen only if your phone is hacked while you do the import, but not afterwards.

Some other wallets you can use are blockchain.info, Bitaddress.org, and Electrum.

If you don’t know how to set up a wallet, please read the how-to in our Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin.

Hard wallets

If you want to make Christmas the best day of your tech-savvy friend’s life, you can give them a Bitcoin Hard Wallet as a gift!

A hard wallet is a private bank in your pocket; it’s the most trusted and secure way of storing Bitcoin. It is probably the best gift for your friends that are already into cryptocurrencies.

The hardware wallet generates your private keys securely in an offline environment and by doing that they are out of reach of hackers. They are portable, very secure and they look cool. Your geek friends will love them.

Three of the most reputable companies in the hard wallet business are Trezor, Ledger and KeepKey. Let’s take a look at them and consider the pros and cons.

Trezor

This hardware vault (Trezor translates to Vault in most Slavic languages) was developed by Czech startup SatoshiLabs and is intended primarily for BTC hoarders and small businesses.

By virtue of its design, this USB look-a-like device is intended to be used as a bank for large amounts of bitcoins rather than a casual crypto wallet for small day-to-day transactions. The manufacturer tried to reconcile two opposing worlds. On one hand, the device adds a new layer of security to your funds, and on the other, it tries to make the user experience as simple as possible. It is one of the most highly regarded hardware wallets out there, so it looks like they did their job.

Pros:

Extremely secure – It can be used on compromised computers – It’s keylogger resistant!

Durability – Robust, anti-scratch plastic, water resistant.

Cons:

Aesthetic appeal – The matte white plastic, the shape, and the robust edges aren’t the most appealing hardware designs around.

Lack of mobile support – It can be used only on desktop operating systems (and maybe a Windows 8.1 tablet)

The Ledger Nano S

Founded in 2014 with headquartered in Paris, Vierzon and San Francisco, Ledger is one of the leaders in security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications.

The aim of the Ledger hardware wallet is to safeguard many different cryptocurrency assets for individuals and companies in a private and secure manner.

The LedgerNanoS hardware wallet is priced at 58.00 € (about $65), and it supports BTC, ETH, ETC, Dash, Ripple, Stratis, ZCash, Litecoin, NEO, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Cash, Viacoin and a few other altcoins. This is making it the cheapest and yet the most versatile hardware wallet of the three.

Pros:

Versatile – Supports many cryptocurrencies and integrates with a multitude of software wallets.

Mobile – It can be plugged into an Android device using an OTG cable.

Privacy – It’s an HD wallet which means that every time you receive funds, you get a new receiving address, enhancing your privacy to a great extent plus it can be set up without even being plugged into a computer.

The Open Bitcoin Privacy Project ranked Ledger’s wallets as the most private Bitcoin wallet in their 2016 report.

Cons (minor):

Storage – It has limited room, so you have to pick and choose if you’re holding many different currencies.

– No way to link with an iPhone wallet.

– The USB OTG cable needs to be bought separately.

KeepKey

KeepKey, LLC provides a bitcoin wallet that protects users’ money from hackers and thieves. The company is based in Kirkland, Washington and as of August 16, 2017, KeepKey, LLC operates as a subsidiary of ShapeShift Ag. The company offers KeepKey, a USB device that stores and secures users cryptocurrencies, generates and stores cryptocurrency private keys, and protects users from virtual attacks, such as malware and viruses.

The hardware wallet supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Namecoin and few more coming soon. It works on PC, Mac, Linux, and Android and is supported by wallet clients as Electrum, MultiBit, and Mycelium.

KeepKey hardware wallet will cost you $129.00 making it most expensive device of the three, but the price tag comes for a reason; the KeepKey hard wallet has the most attractive, professionally designed OLED display which makes using and interacting with the device an enjoyable experience for the consumer. It provides top-notch security standards while maintaining fairly easy to use interface.

Pros:

Aesthetics – Looks and feels incredible compared to any other hardware wallet.

Security – Offers the same security features as more established products like Trezor, plus you can exchange between assets directly on the device using ShapeShift.

Cons:

Mobility – It’s bigger than the other two hardware wallets making it less portable.

Wallet – A lack of web wallet means users must add software such as Electrum or MultiBit to make use of its applications.

!Security warning:

Never EVER order your hard wallets from eBay or any other site other than the official websites of the providers.

A few additional suggestions on the side…

A great way to spread the word about Bitcoin without being pushy and annoying is giving your friends and family some crypto merchandise as a gift for Christmas! There are tons of Bitcoin branded stuff out there!

From T-shirts, mugs, and stickers to Bitcoin gift cards, choices are virtually unlimited! But don’t forget one thing, whatever you chose as your Christmas gift this year, wrap it with some awesome Christmas themed wrapping paper and make sure you give your presents with a smile on your face!

And in case you want to offer a gift to yourself and use some cryptocurrency for that, there are a few options as well: Reddit Gold, games from Steam, art from Dope, anything from Namecheap, and lots of giftcards!

We wish you a Merry Bitcoin’ed Christmas 🙂

Feature image by Anton

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7 Responses

  1. Hahaha! Loved the part about Mariah Carey :))! And the family roast was especially juicy this year lol! Anyway, thanks for letting me know how to create a paper wallet but Trezor looks like the best way to do things from what I can tell, right?

    1. Glad you liked the little jokes :). Actually KeepKey is the best (and the most expensive) but Trezor is probably a close second.

  2. I did this last year and gave my sister 1.3 Bitcoins and now she’s super happy since they’ve gone up so much! I told her to keep them safe and not sell them or spend them as I think the price will still go up. I’m only mad at myself that I didn’t buy more bitcoins a few years back when I had the chance and when they were really cheap. Lesson learned.

  3. So, do you recommend KeepKey as being the best from what you’ve mentioned? Or should I start off with the Trezor and see how this goes and then go for a KeepKey if needed?

  4. If someone were to make a photo of your QR code from your paper wallet can they take your bitcoins? I want to know what can happen and how to guard our bitcoins.

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