Bitcoin hit a record $19,000 on Thursday—here’s how to buy it

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Bitcoin hit a record high on Thursday, skyrocketing to a value of $19,340 on the popular exchange platform Coinbase before falling back down to $15,198.63.

On average, bitcoin hit a record high of over $17,000 on Thursday before plummeting down 18 percent to as low as $14,095, according to industry site CoinDesk.

Any investment is risky, but many experts see bitcoin as particularly volatile. Its value can fluctuate wildly from day to day, as Thursday's results show, and, as with the stock market in general, past performance cannot predict future results.

But if you're interested in buying a stake in the controversial currency and willing to take the chance, it's still possible to invest. Here's how.

The first step is to download a bitcoin wallet, which holds your "keys," a unique strand of numbers and letters that allows access to your coins. Some wallets grant you the ability to buy bitcoin directly through their site, while others simply serve as storage.

This 18-year-old is a millionaire thanks to bitcoin
This 18-year-old is a millionaire thanks to bitcoin

Next, decide where to purchase your currency from. The easiest and most popular way is through Coinbase, an app that allows users to invest, trade and store bitcoin all in one place. Coinbase serves more than 13 million users and is considered bitcoin's first unicorn company, thanks to its $1.6 billion valuation, according to Yahoo Finance.

Using Coinbase is generally seen as straightforward. Once you've created an account, you can attach your payment options. Using a credit and debit cards lets you purchase bitcoin instantly, but they have a cap of $150 per week. Linking your bank account means it can take longer to process transactions but allows you to buy more at a time.

From there, decide the dollar amount you want to spend. Because of bitcoin's high value right now, it's possible to purchase just a fraction of the speculative asset. In addition to the price of the bitcoin, you'll also pay a small fee per transaction.

For step-by-step instructions on how to use Coinbase, check out this guide from CNBC's Todd Haselton.

Once you've connected your banking information to your bitcoin account, it's important to secure it. Enable two-factor authentication using an app like Google Authenticator, rather than your phone number, because hackers only need your name and number to steal from a bitcoin wallet, The Independent reports.

While it's relatively simple to begin investing in bitcoin, is it worth the risk? Conventional wisdom suggests you buy low and sell high. And, regardless, many experts remain skeptical of the cryptocurrency.

Here's what four top investors are saying:

Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin is a 'fraud'

The cryptocurrency "is a fraud," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor. "It's just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed."

He added, at a separate conference organized by Barclay, "It's worse than tulip bulbs. It won't end well."

Jamie Dimon: Governments look at bitcoin as a novelty
Jamie Dimon: Governments look at bitcoin as a novelty

Mark Cuban: Only invest if you're prepared to lose your money

According to billionaire Mark Cuban, it's OK to invest up to 10 percent of your savings in high-risk investments, including bitcoin and ethereum. You've just "got to pretend you've already lost your money," he told Vanity Fair, adding that it's like throwing "the Hail Mary."

Jim Cramer: Bitcoin is like 'Monopoly money'

Bitcoin is a pure gamble, said CNBC's Jim Cramer on "Squawk Box": "It's kind of like Monopoly money. Obviously, there's people who use it. If you ever say anything bad about it, there's like this bitcoin mafia that comes after you. But it is an oddity that has nothing to do with us" as investors.

"It's just pure gambling at this point," the market expert continued. "I mean, if you want to gamble, go to Vegas. Vegas is fabulous."

Jim Cramer says Bitcoin is like 'Monopoly money'
Jim Cramer says Bitcoin is like 'Monopoly money'

Tony Robbins: Investing in bitcoin is 'like going to Vegas'

The self-made millionaire and best-selling author of "Money: Master the Game" isn't completely sold on the idea yet either.

"I think [bitcoin] is very iffy," Robbins told CNBC's "Fast Money. "I don't have a clue. I look at that as it's like going to Vegas." In other words, only bet what you can afford to lose.

Robbins himself directs a certain amount of money to risky ventures and doesn't rely on them to work out. For those investments, his mentality is, "I know it is just for fun I'm investing, I know I could lose, this is Vegas."

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