* Through cryptocurrency exchanges
* Through Bitcoin trading platforms like localbitcoins.com where you can sell/buy bitcoins at different asking prices, often varying from the current price of bitcoin being advocated by cryptocurrency exchanges
* Buying/selling P2P. But you will need a considerable amount of trust to do transactions this way because there is no guarantee.
Crypto exchanges are online platforms where you can buy different cryptocurrencies through fiat currencies or Bitcoins. They charge much less fees as compared to a normal transaction and transactions are extremely fast, often taking place within a matter of seconds. Crypto exchanges are mostly centralized and we have big platforms where billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies are bought and sold every day or so. Coinbase, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, etc are just a few popular cryptocurrency exchanges. They are considered somewhat safe and many give guarantees on the security of your coins. They give wallets for each of your cryptocurrency but generally do not allow access to your private keys which is part of the fast transaction process.
Instant Exchanges are those cryptocurrency exchanges where you can convert all of your available cryptocurrency in fiat currency at any moment of asking at the latest price. Most of the currency cryptocurrency exchanges in the world offer Instant exchange option. They are extremely useful for mitigating your risk on the crypto trading world as you can liquidate at any time. Coinbase, Bitfinex, Bittrex, etc all offer Instant exchange capability.
Hardware wallets are cold storage wallets that add a robust layer of security to your bitcoins or other cryptocurrency accumulated. A cold storage is basically on offline storage that is considered the safest mode of storing your bitcoins. Most of the bitcoins heists online are because the private keys are exposed to the online world and we know that any information stored on a server is just not safe. There have been instances in which bitcoin has been stolen from online wallets of cryptocurrency exchanges or rendered inaccessible due to bugs in wallets. While this is not a regular occurring, it is still a threat. Hardware wallets store your bitcoins offline, only allowing access when they are called upon. Ledger Nano is a good example of a hardware wallet.
Software wallets are computer programs or apps that store your cryptocurrencies. They can be web-based on cryptocurrency exchange platform or stand-alone software that are only used for storing and sending/receiving cryptocurrencies. Stand-alone software wallets are considered safer and often they store bitcoins offline on their own cold storage rather than storing them online. Electrum, Mycelium, etc are just a few software wallets for cryptocurrencies.
An ICO is acronym for Initial Coin Offering. It is very similar to the concept of Initial Public Offering in stock exchange where a company floats shares for the first time on a new project and buyers buy it at a certain price hoping to eventually profit from the company's growth in the future. An ICO is a very similar thing except instead of going to the stock exchange a company or startup launches new coins on a blockchain. These coins can be purchased by investors and any price increase from the base price will result in profitability for these investors. Also, just like regular shares, the token holders also get a predetermined percentage from the revenue of the new company in the form of popular cryptocurrency like ETH or BTC, sometimes even in fiat currency like Dollars. ICOs are quite popular these days and provide basis for decentralized operations, something the world is shifting towards with the future in mind. You can find information about these ICOs on their ICO websites usually with .io website address.
Bitcoin is based on the decentralized ledger network called blockchain. The blockchain exists in the form of chains of transactional information of private keys known as blocks. These blocks record every transaction that was ever created. Each transaction is noted down by a public address on the blockchain which is an anonymous bitcoin address. Blockchain exists in every cryptocurrency in one form or another, sometimes deviating from some key principles but the concept is the same. The information is simultaneously kept and updated on millions of computers on the blockchain network at the same time. Any transaction is secured due to the computing input of these computers in the system. So, a block is a dynamic chain-type record on the blockchain. You can analyze the blockchain for confirming your transaction and learning more about the open-source nature of the network.
Bitcoin mining is a computer resource intensive process through which the transactions are decoded and secured over the bitcoin network. Miners are people who are working like this and solving cryptographic calculations on their huge computing systems often involving powerful GPUs or ASIC chips. The miners themselves are rewarded with new bitcoins in lie for their efforts on securing the blockchain. The mining process is designed in such a way that the more miners there are the more competitive the process will become.
Cloud mining is the operation of a cloud-based mining network. It usually comprises of a mining pool in which different miners come together for the mutual benefit of mining and share their mining exploits among each other. A remote datacenter enables the users to mine bitcoins without having the need of putting equipment in one place. People who don't want to set up their own mining rigs can also become a part of the cloud mining team's exploits by signing a contract. The money is used to add mining equipment.
As the world is learning to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the currencies of the future, the need for educating the people about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has never been more important or lucrative. The thing about cryptocurrency and blockchain is that is an ever evolving genre where technology and cryptography continues to change things rapidly. That is why mainstream educational institutions are somewhat slow in keeping up with them and this is where private institutions, conferences and educational sectors have been so important.