Giving the Gift of Bitcoin This Season

If you want to introduce Bitcoin through a gift this Christmas there is one way to give Bitcoin as a gift to people you care about, and one way to give Bitcoin to people you especially dislike and would relish seeing go through the pain of loss.

For people you care about follow these steps:

  1. Compose a reading list of things that may prove helpful in getting started with Bitcoin. You want articles that explain potential pitfalls as well as examples that illustrate things done the right way. A good place to start would be the Bitcoin categories on this blog and on Trilema.1
  2. Schedule a time to walk them through setting up appropriate software on an appropriate platform for handling Bitcoin.
  3. Actually walk them through these things, including backing up their wallet.
  4. Leave with an address to which they have exclusive control of the private keys and their backups, promising to deliver the coin to that address on some summer or fall holiday convenient to both of you after they demonstrate mastery of concepts covered by your reading list.
  5. When that later date comes be somewhat disappointed when they show less than perfect mastery of concepts, but do indeed deliver the coins knowing that they will probably among the more capable new Bitcoin users by the time you get the coins to them.

For people to who you would enjoy see experiencing loss:

  1. Just give them some sort of paper wallet or physical Bitcoin and don't bother with understanding anything about Bitcoin yourself.

There is a problem inherent here in either approach. The first project is a huge pain in the ass, and the recipient might not be that appreciative and still just gamble away the coins soon after receipt. In the second project there isn't any guarantee that the subject will lose the coins in some amusing way, and you may find that from you gift they have inexplicably and accidentally managed to retain your gift of Bitcoin to their great fortune.. Underlying both approaches though is a more serious problem.

Gifts designed to deliver satisfaction primarily to yourself because you have accomplished some sort of evangelicalism are poor gifts. It doesn't matter if the idea you are promoting is Bitcoin, Gluten free eating,2 or saving the whales. Using a gift as an opportunity to evangelize is the mark of the most insufferable persons. Stick to more traditional schlock like books, socks, and Shake Weights.

If however you are considering a gift for someone who already uses Bitcoin to some success, go ahead and feel free to offer Bitcoin as a gift in the great tradition of greeting cards stuffed full of money and gift cards.


  1. For someone interested in Bitcoin the gift of Trilema credits might make a decent gift. Just order some credits and deliver to them the string that sets the cookie.  

  2. Which is a poor decision in the lack of medical indication for an individual to do so for the same reason that watching a film with the sound muted is a poor decision. Gluten improves the foods (provided one distinguishes between foods and chemistry products) in which it is included to make them more enjoyable and nutritious.  

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