Basics for Beginners

Learning Bitcoin Basics – How to Start – Wallets – Exchanges – Getting Started

Bitcoin Basics (BTC) – Where can I Spend Bitcoin? (Click Header)

Bitcoin Basics Where can you spend Bitcoins (BTC)? There are a lot of places to spend Bitcoin and the number of merchants is growing daily. With all new technologies there are the early adopters. Then, a phase of growing awareness. Eventually, it reaches a critical mass where it becomes common. We are in the growing awareness phase. It is interesting to note that Bitcoin has been around for 1/2 of a 14 year olds life. There are now kids who have owned Bitcoins before they got a bank account. Try to find a teenager that will part with their cell phone. As todays teenagers become adults they will have an expectation of being able to use digital currencies Common everyday Bitcoin usage is predicted to be less than 10-12 years away.   Where can I spend Bitcoins? The 1st place to find adoption was, of course, the on-line stores but, brick and mortar stores are adopting it at an increasing rate. Bitcoin ATM’s are popping up as well as Bitcoin debit cards.You may be surprised by some of the retailers. Some of the categories include: Clothing, Electronics, Food, Gift cards( for about everything), Jewelry, Movie Tickets, Software, 2 pro Sports teams and many more. Our resource list below will steer you in the right direction. Big names you will recognize are: Amazon, Burger King, Dell Computes, Dish Network, Microsoft, Nike, Overstock.com (now in over 100 countries), Paypal (and everywhere it is accepted), Subway, Target, Walmart. Local stores in your hometown may already accept Bitcoins or may be adding soon. A few more options: InStyle, NewEgg, People, Sports Illustrated, Time, Xbox – Games-Music & Video. If you like Gift cards to give as presents visit eGifter which has over 200 different gift cards. Yelp business reviews is a good place to help you find local businesses which are already on the Bitcoin train. Be sure to read our other articles in our Beginner Basics section. Articles include: Basic Terminology, Amazon,How to get started – Choosing and setting up a Wallet to hold your Bitcoins, Buying your 1st Bitcoin & Sending and Receiving Bitcoins. Resources: Bitcoin Values Website CoinDesk Website Map of Where to Spend Spend Bitcoin Website General resources: Bitcoin.org Bitcoin Wiki Crypto Coin News    

Read More »

Bitcoins Basics (BTC) – Sending & Receiving Bitcoins – (Click Header)

Bitcoin Basics – Sending & Receiving Bitcoins Setting up Wallets and Buying your 1st Bitcoin were covered in previous articles. See the Basics for Beginners Section of this website. Scroll down  the section to see previous articles. This article assumes you have already decided on which wallet is best for you and have purchased a Bitcoin (or a partial Bitcoin). If you have accomplished these 2 things, you are past the hard parts. Help Available: If you need help with the above items, click on the  “Hire us/Contact us Tab”. We can walk you through the process. Receiving Bitcoin: OK – You have bought a Bitcoin and want to send it to your wallet 1) in the cloud, 2) on your computer or tablet or 3) on your phone. Receiving is very easy as you will find out below. You can request a person send Bitcoin to your wallet address simply by giving them your wallet address. Bitcoin transfers take 30 minutes to an hour. It may show up quickly but, it is not spendable until confirmed several times. How can you be sure someone really sent Bitcoin to you? Request the transaction ID (Txid). It is like a package tracking number. Verifying that a transaction was sent is the subject for another day and, we can help you with that, if it is ever necessary. I have only had to do it once. Unlike packages, Bitcoin transactions rarely (read “it’s nearly impossible to ) get lost in the mail. Below pictures are from my MultiBit Bitcoin Wallet.  Depending upon the wallet you use, there may be small differences. Feel free to send BTC to my address.  🙂  Yes – that’s my address in the pictures below. People can send to your wallet but, cannot take from it. (Read Wallet Article which discusses computer security) You will always have a Tab that says “Request or Receive”. It will show your address. You can simply send or email  “Your address“ to the person sending you Bitcoin. If you are sending  Bitcoin to yourself from an exchange or another wallet, this is the address you would “Send to”. Use the “Amount” area to request funds. Enter the BTC and it will compute the amount. Or, enter the amount and it will compute the BTC. The “Lable” area is for notes. “Please send me o.1 BTC and I will send you _____.” The “New” button lower left allows you to generate a different address for each transaction if you choose to do so. Sending Bitcoin: Sending Bitcoin to a person, a business or a Coin Exchange (like a stock exchange) is just as easy. You can send any amount – anywhere in the world. And… it only costs pennies – typically about 2 cents. There will be a Tab called “Send”. Click on it. First, get the address of the person, business or coin exchange where you want to send the Bitcoin. Copy and Paste the address into the “Address” Box. Put a Note in the “Lable” box if you want a reminder or to tell the receive something, like… who is sending them Bitcoin. Enter the “Amount” – Bitcoin or $. (Wallets in other countries are set in their currency). Double check – then, click send. Careful, once you hit send, you cannot change your mind. Two thing special about Bitcoin are: 1) You cannot write a bad check or go over your credit card limit. You can only spend what you have and 2) Once money is sent, it cannot be cancelled. The are two important security features that makes the Bitcoin “blockchain” technology desirable. It is why major bank, credit card and brokerage companies are currently spending millions of dollars right now. It will increase their security of information and funds and reduce fraud. Resources: https://bitcoin.org/en/resources Like Bitcoin wiki https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/free-iphone-bitcoin-apps/ Come back for our next article on “Where to Spend Bitcoin”.  

Read More »

Bitcoins Basics – Buying Bitcoins – Getting Your 1st Bitcoin (Click Header)

Buying Your 1st Bitcoin  If you are new to bitcoin, you may want to read our other Beginner articles: “Basic Terms” which provides much more than just definitions and “Getting a Bitcoin Wallet”. Both are located in the Basics for Beginners section. How to get get a Bitcoin: There are 2 ways to get Bitcoins – Buy them or Earn them (See mining in the Basic Terms Article). We will discuss Mining digital currency in a future article. If you don’t mind waiting a couple of days, the easiest and cheapest way to get your hands on some Bitcoins is to sign up with Coinbase, a large Silicon Valley company, or one of the many reputable Coin exchanges. As an example Coinbase charges a low 1% fee and you receive your bitcoins as soon as the transfer from your bank account clears.  The 1st order has a long waiting period but, soon you will gain the ability to make instant purchases for up to $1,000 per week. Circle.com has a simple Phone wallets for the Android and iOS with a clear video explanation. It is well worth the 2 minutes: https://www.circle.com/en#live-demo . Each company has different policies – BitQuick advertises a 3 hour purchase timeframe. The many ways to buy Bitcoins: Credit Card, Bank Account draft , Cash, Check, Gift Card and Money Order.  You can also buy locally from people willing to sell there Bitcoins. LocalBitcoins.com acts as an escrow service so, you are not taking cash to a stranger. I went to LocalBitcoins.com and found 5 sellers within a 10 mile radius including a Bitcoin ATM. Caution- Local Bitcoin Sellers: By searching the internet you will find local sellers who will transfer Bitcoins to your wallet in exchange for cash. Always meet in a public place like the local Starbucks. There still has dangers. Crafty programmers have found ways to make it look like the Bitcoins is instantly transferred. It takes 20 minutes to 1 hour for the transfer to be completed. If you want the anonymity of a local cash transfer use an escrow service – they hold the money until they confirm the Bitcoin is transferred. Why would you want a Bitcoin? Well the easy answer is because it is quickly growing acceptance. Banks are exploring using the because it is more secure than checks and credit cards. Once you get the hang of it, you will find it incredibly easy…  a plus – there are already thousands of places to spend your Bitcoins! Resources https://bitcoin.org/en/resources Like Bitcoin wiki https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page 7 of the Top 10 Free iPhone Bitcoin Apps are Mobile Wallets  

Read More »

Bitcoin Basics – Getting Started – Wallets (Click Header)

Please see our Article on Basic terminology which you may want to read for a more in-depth understanding of Bitcoins, Blockchain Technology, Miners and more. For now, we will keep this simple. What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is the largest digital currency with $3.5 trillion changing hands each day. Think about a long, long time ago when only cash was accepted. Then came checks, debit cards and credit cards and now digital currency. Digital currencies are already here so you might as well dip your toes in the water. Most major banks and  financial institutions are exploring how the Bitcoin’s Blockchain technology can help improve security. There are 1,000’s of alternative digital currencies or altcoins – Bitcoin is the 1st, the largest and most well-known. Their are coins for games, gift cards, shopping, food… Just about everything. Some are just for transactions and others pay from 5% to 500% annual interest. Why Bitcoins (and other digital currencies)? Money can easily be sent anywhere in the world via the internet without needing to trust anyone. Or, you could just pay with you phone at a local store that accepts Bitcoin. Transactions are fast and irreversible. Money received can be spent within a few minutes to an hour. This means no more bounced checks, high merchant credit card fees or long bank holds until funds clear! The typical Bitcointransaction costs less than 2 cents vs. 3%-4% for credit cards. In addition, the supply of Bitcoins is limited; no more government inflation by turning on the printing press.  What are Bitcoin Wallets? A “Wallet” is like a Bitcoin bank account except you control your money. A wallet allows you to receive and send Bitcoins. There are many wallet options: On your Computer or Laptop On your Phone – iPhone or Android On a Website –  Web Wallet (the cloud)   First, decide if you want a Web Wallet, a Computer Wallet or a Phone Wallet. You are not limited to one type but, a specific coin (or fraction of a coin) can only be in one place at a time – like your right pocket or your left pocket. Learn to use one type 1st and the others will be easy. A good place to start is the Bitcoin.org website. They have a variety of wallets available in one place. A Web Wallet is  hosted on a company website and is the easiest to use, however, you must trust the site to protect your Bitcoins. If you select a Web Wallet, the host company has it all set up, secure, backed up  and ready to go. You just add the coins. Coinbase is a major player with the home office located in the Silicon Valley and the company is quickly expanding worldwide. They are also a seller of Bitcoins. If you select a Computer Wallet to start, you need to download it and open it in your computer (I use one callled MultiBit). Security is the key ingredient. We recommend you have Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software (you should have these already ). In addition, we recommend an Anti -Keylogger – this stops hackers from recording your wallet’s password when you type it. Finally, you should backup the wallet.dat file. Caution: All digital currencies use the same name for the coin file – wallet.dat. They are each in their own folder. If you accidentally move or save the Litecoin wallet.dat file to the Bitcoin wallet.dat file the coins are lost unless, you have the all-important backup. A hard drive crash means no more money unless you have a backup of this file. The Bitcoin wallet program will typically place the program in C:/Program Files/Wallet name. The wallet.dat file is “your money”. This file is located in a folder in the “Roaming” folder (Usually: C-drive – Users – Your Login Name – App Data Folder – Roaming Folder – Wallet Name. A Phone Wallet  can be downloaded from the same site as you download apps for your phone, in fact,  several of the top 10 downloaded iphone apps are Bitcoin wallets. All wallets automatically generate an address – a 34 character random string of letter and numbers. All transactions (coins in and out) are recorded and tied to your address. The price of Bitcoins fluctuates the same as stocks do and you can buy, send or receive fractions of a Bitcoin. Currently a Bitcoin is less than $250. Fractions of Bitcoins are referred to as Sat (for Satoshi – the psuedonym of the creator of the technology). 1 Sat is .00000001 Bitcoins and approx. 4250 Sat = 1 cent US. If you need help setting up a Computer Wallet, we can help and ensure that you have the safeguards necessary to protect your Bitcoins. Resources: www.circle.com/en (wallets for androind & wallet) www.en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Buying_Bitcoins_(the_newbie_version) www.www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A3H40wB5RU www.youtube.com/watch?v=QluhAWJ-Gks www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg6D-HLaB08 Next week: Buying your 1st bitcoin, Sending and Receiving Bitcoin and where can you spend Bitcoins.

Read More »

Bitcoin Basics – Bitcoin Terms – Speaking Bitcoin (BTC) – (Click header)

Bitcoin for dummies (Like me)! Bitcoin (BTC) is here already and soon it will be everywhere. If you get a blank look when people start talking about Bitcoin, BTC, Blockchains, Miners, Staking, Altcoins, Cryptocurrency, Scrypt and Sha-256 – then, this article is for you. What you need to know: Bitcoin (BTC) – The concept of digital currency and the actual coins (Bitcoins or BTC) used to send money from your phone, computer or tablet. About $3.4 Billion is traded daily. Who accepts Bitcoin? – The list will suprise you – to name a few: Amazon, Target, Sears, EBay, CVS Pharmacy, Whole Foods, Subway, Tesla, Victoria’s Secret and a list that grows daily. Check the internet for on-line and local stores that currently accept Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency – It is digital currency using encryption (like spys and codes) to securely verify and transfer funds. It operates independently of the central banking system. Banks are now exploring how they can use these encryption techniquesof cryptocurrencies  to increase their security systems. Altcoins – This is a shortened form of alternative or digital  & currencies or coins. Bitcoin is the most well-known altcoin. However, over a  1,000 other coins have been created. Some coins have a specific purpose i.e. Gold Pieces and Hyper are used in many on-line games (think Mario); other coins are only a way to transfer funds. Altcoins are traded on exchanges just like stocks only, for the smaller coins, think penny stocks – fast ups and downs. Wallets – Just like the wallet in your pocket or purse, the computerized wallet holds your funds. It can be on your computer, tablet, phone or in the cloud at a website.  Each wallet is identified by a long, unique sting of letters and numbers which is the address. This address allows you to send or receive payments. It’s like using a credit cards except the store does’tt get charged 3% or more. The typical cost is about 2 cents. There is no annual fees to use a wallet. Miners – A computing machine that processes math problems (algorithms) at an extremely fast speed. Also, a person who uses a mining machine to solve these problems or blocks (see below) and who gets paid for the work. Mining or Proof of Work (POW) – It is the process of using specialized computing machines to solve problems or blocks. Proof of Stake (POS) – Think interest. Altcoins are divided into POW coins (paid for mining work) and POS coins (paid for holding coins in a wallet for a set period of time). Interest can be 1% per year to 500% per year or more (excluding compounding) depending upon the coin. There are several coins paying 50% to 200% with stable prices. The process of getting paid POS is called Staking. Technical Stuff: Blocks – A block is a series of transactions that are encrypted (think code breaking and spys). The transactions (coin transfers) are encrypted, sometimes many transactions per block, and sent to be verified by miners (math machines). They are verified many times befor being accepted as confirmed. Blockchain – As each block is confirmed it is added to the end of the chain or series of blocks. When blocks are added, it locks the preceeding blocks. This process makes the transfer of funds more secure. Algoithm – As stated previously, it is a math problem. Sha-256 is the decryption algorithm used by bitcoin. Scrypt is another type of algorithm used by a coin known as LiteCoin. There are a growning number of algorithms but most coins have been created using variation of Sha-256 and Scrypt. Hash – No, not drugs. Hash (hash rate) is the measuring unit of processing power of a computing machine. A typical mining machine might have a speed of 2 Terrahash (2THs). This means it processes 2 Trillion calculations per second. Come back next week: How to set up a wallet and get your 1st Bitcoin.

Read More »

New Section Coming Soon

    Want to Learn about bitcoin? This new section will feature articles to walk you through all of the basics. Learn about the coming digital economy. It’s closer than you think. New articles will be posted each week! Basic Terminology Setting up a Coin Wallet Buying Bitcoins Mining – Earning Bitcoins While You Sleep Altcoins as an Investment Where Can You Spend Bitcoins Coin Exchanges Great Starter Coins   Bookmark this website & Come back each week!

Read More »