Once you have bitcoin in your possession you essentially have three options as to what you can do with it:
First, you can buy goods and services from retailers that accept bitcoin. The Coinbase (http://www.coinbase.com) web site indicates it has 42,000 registered merchants. The reason these businesses are turning to bitcoin is because Coinbase only charges a 1% fee to exchange bitcoin for US dollars. Merchants are looking for an alternative to the 3% to 5% credit card fees they are paying now to Visa and MasterCard, and the week long wait to get their money. Mom and Pop operations in particular are beginning to take advantage of these savings, especially in bigger cities.
Larger corporations like Dell, Microsoft, and Expedia have partnered with Coinbase to take your bitcoin and immediately exchange it for US dollars. Starbucks and Amazon will convert your bitcoin to a US dollar prepaid debit card that can be used in their stores, and Overstock.com will let you pay directly with bitcoin. As more people have bitcoin to spend, more merchants will realize they must begin to accept it.
Something that will resonate with college students is that schools around the world are beginning to accept bitcoin for tuition payments. That certainly gives a special meaning to BCU’s program.
Second, if you prefer to convert your bitcoin to US dollars there are several services that will do this for you for a fee, however the safest route is to use an exchange like Coinbase. You can enter “limit orders” that will only execute your buy or sell at a price you set and the exchange operates 24/7. You can watch it in action here - https://exchange.coinbase.com/trade/BTC-USD.
Once exchanged, your US dollars can then be transferred to a bank account. This is much like selling shares of stock on the NASDAQ or NYSE for cash. Simply a cost efficient meeting of buyers and sellers.
Finally, you can hold on to your bitcoin if you believe the BTX/US exchange rate will increase your bitcoin’s value. This is lot like owning a share of Facebook and keeping it long term because you believe Facebook's stock will increase in value relative to where it is today. This requires that you become fully informed about cyrptocurrencies and bitcoin, and that you stay informed. As it happens, that is one of BCU’s primary goals.
As a bitcoin holder you can spend, save, or convert your virtual coins to any fiat currency for a reasonable fee at any time. BCU will fully explain the process and inform you of what you can do and warn you of what you should not do.
Satoshi Nakamoto (Bitcoin inventor), “With e-currency based on cryptographic proof, without the need to trust a third-party middleman, money can be secure and transactions effortless.”