How to get started with Bitcoin?

How to get started with bitcoin

When the word bitcoin first surfaced in 2009, a lot of skepticism clouded it in the years that followed. Today, perceptions have taken a complete turnaround and cryptocurrencies are becoming a household name. The volatility of this currency that has seen it trade at over $1000 USD, to just over $200 in more recent times. The one question everyone is now asking is how to get started with bitcoins. As such, there could be no better time to start getting involved with bitcoin than now!

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First things first, the bitcoin wallet!

Just like any other currency, you must always think of where to keep your money. Luckily, since bitcoin is a virtual currency, you don’t need to carry a physical wallet. Indeed, you can create desktop or mobile digital wallets using iPhone or Android apps. The options include the following:

Online Wallets

https://blockchain.info/wallet and https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet are examples of sites where you can subscribe for online wallets.

Offline Wallets

These wallets involve the use of computer drives to store bitcoins. Usually, these devices are never connected to the internet or any other networks.

Paper Wallets

This category refers to the actual printing of your bitcoin details on paper. You can either carry them in your pockets or keep them in a secure location, such as a safe.

Safety concerns over the wallets

Security is a fundamental concern for any form of currency. Before storing your coins, seek to know the pros and cons of each type of wallets. For example, some major points to remember are:

  • Online wallets are prone to hacking
  • Someone can steal or damage computer drives
  • One can destroy or misplace paper wallets

Separating Savings from Expenditures

To be on the safe side, you should create two separate wallets. You can use one wallet for day to day transactions and another for your savings. As long as you have access to the internet, the wallet for spending can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This kind of wallet should not carry a lot of coins. You may want to check Blockchain.info, among others, for more information on wallets.

In principle, your savings wallet functions like any other savings account with a bank. It is never connected to the internet to enhance security, and most of your bitcoins should stored here.

Examples of Popular Bitcoin Wallets

There are many examples of bitcoin wallets you can choose from, on the basis of their popularity. They include:

  • Copay
  • Breadwallet
  • Airbitz
  • Armory
  • Bitcoin Core
  • MultiBit
  • Bitcoin-Qt
  • Electrum
  • Blockchain
  • Bitcoin Paper Wallet

Now you are set, how do you get Bitcoins?

The most primary way of getting bitcoins is through mining. This process is usually long, costly and laborious. As such, not everyone can get involved with mining. The following alternatives would be good for everyone else:

  1. Get bitcoins from a friend
  2. Receive bitcoins from a neighbor
  3. For direct purchases, visit an exchange bureau (for example Coinbase, Bitfinex, or Cyrptsy)
  4. Accept Bitcoin as payment for goods and services (You may want to check BitPay or Coinbase)

Where to spend Bitcoins

There are many companies which accept Bitcoins as a form of payment. Such companies include Expedia, Dell, Overstock, Shopify, Wikipedia, TigerDirect or CheapAir, among many others.

Wikipedia and Mozilla are some of the companies that now accept donations through Bitcoins. And of course, you can always give someone a few coins for a tip!

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