How to get started using bitcoin

bitcoin coins

If you’re unfamiliar with using crypto currencies and would like to get involved in this fascinating new concept of money then read on as I will explain ways that you can start learning and using this crypto currency to trade, buy, sell and store your cash.

I won’t be going over how bitcoin works and any of the technical aspects of it. Do you fully understand how your credit card works? Me either. But it doesn’t stop us from using it every day as we are so confident in the technology in the fact that it just works.

This was my path on beginning my long journey of bitcoin and crypto currency and I hope to share with you how you can do the same.

How it works

In it’s simplest concept then, to transact with others you simply send someone an address (which consists of a long string of characters) and the payer then uses his/her wallet to begin a transaction by sending a given value to the address you have provided.

After a short amount of time, the miners on the network will confirm the legitimacy of the transaction and if it looks good, the money will appear in your wallet.

You need to pay a small transaction fee to the network. This is where the bitcoin miners get paid. Usually a wallet is set to a default transaction rate but this can be changed. Be warned though that if you set a transaction rate too small, then no miner on the network will want to work on your transaction because their reward is too small. I find it best to leave this value at default.

Usually the transaction takes around half an hour but I’ve had to wait a few hours in some cases. As long as the correct address was used and it’s the correct currency for your particular wallet, and the transaction fee isn’t too small, it should arrive in your wallet within a few hours. 

It is usually advised that you only use an address once. Your wallet will come will thousands of address that can be used. However, each address acts like a separate, smaller wallet within your main wallet. So if you’re receiving lots of small transactions then it’s best to keep the same address for similar transactions. 

 

A Typical bitcoin address

8 Significant Bits

Not very often will you be dealing with one whole bitcoin so many transactions will be a fraction of a bitcoin. Kind of how we deal with pennies in our usual banks fiat currency such as the dollar or pound.

A typical bitcoin value has 8 significant bits represented like this: 0.00000021

This means there are eight numerical values after the decimal point.

These fractions of a bitcoin is known as Satoshi. So in the example above then this would be 21 Satoshi.

It is not uncommon to see a bitcoin value represented as milli-Bitcoin (mBTC) or micro-Bitcoin (µBTC) and even nano-Bitcoin (nBTC).

How to earn Bitcoin

There are many way’s in which you can earn bitcoin just as there are many way’s in earning your local government fiat currency. Although as of right now, in 2019 crypto currencies are still not mainstream and so the use of bitcoin and other alternative crypto currencies will only increase in use.

If you’re reading this then you already have the tools you need to start earning bitcoin. You will first need to get yourself a wallet to store your cash so we will look at this. I will also go over some ways you can then get some cash into your wallet. 

When I first started earning bitcoin I was using android apps and what is know as faucets so I will go over them here.

Different types of bitcoin

An important thing to note here is that there are a few different types of bitcoin because as time has gone by, there have been changes and improvements to the system. But these changes cannot just be applied to the current system, and so many newer systems have been created.

It all started with bitcoin core (BTC). Then we had what is know as a ‘hard fork’ and so bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin gold (BTG) was created. I would advise to stay away from bitcoin gold as I don’t see many people trading with this version of bitcoin.

Then in 2018 we had another folk of bitcoin cash, and so ‘Bitcoin Cash ABC’ and ‘Bitcoin Cash SV’ was created. It can be hard to keep up with the technology as it’s still in it’s infancy but you need to understand which bitcoin you are dealing with. You need a wallet that matches the type of bitcoin you are dealing with. So for example, if you send bitcoin cash to a bitcoin core wallet, you will almost certainly loose that money, so be careful.

What is a Folk?

In a nutshell then, a folk is when a team of software developers can’t agree on what should happen next. The developers then split off into two groups and they both then start upgrading the original software to create two different software programs. These two different programs are usually non-compatible with each other, and this is what’s known as a hard fork.

What is a bitcoin faucet?

A bitcoin faucet is generally a website where you interact with it in one way or another and you are then rewarded with a small prize.

There seem to be a lot of these faucets on the internet but you need to be cautious as to which ones are legitimate and which ones seem to take you for a ride. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing which faucets are trust  worthy, and so I will not recommend any particular faucet to use.

I have had experiences in the past where I would accumulate income and then suddenly the faucet would notify me that they don’t have enough bitcoin to pay out what is owed to me! Very frustrating as you can imagine.

Faucets also seem to just drop off the internet all of a sudden without warning and never to be seen again. Take this as a cautionary note that these faucets are not all to be trusted and you need to use your judgement wisely.

Usually the main type of faucet that I’ve seen is by having advertisements shown to you constantly and every few minutes you would need to interact in some way to let the platform know you’re human, and that no automation software is being used. This is because the platform makes it’s money from the advertising networks by you viewing these ads, and so you make a little income from that revenue by working for it. This is not a great way of making money as you will be putting in a lot of your time, for very little cash so I wouldn’t recommend this as a form of paid work that will pay your bills, but just as a method of generating some bitcoin income for you to practice with your transactions and wallet using experience.

Another type of bitcoin faucet I have used was viewing video ads and also games and it does mix things up a little when you have a selection of these different faucets to interact with.

 

To give you an example then, Bonusbitcoin was one of many, many bitcoin faucets that I used in the past and the website is still live today so it does look like this one could be here to stay. For now at least anyway.

 

Screenshot of a typical bitcoin faucet website

How to earn bitcoin using apps

I’m not a big Apple fan and so I can only recommend apps that I have used from the Google Play Store for android.

Here are a few apps that I’ve tried and tested and what I’ve found to be really trust worthy. Of course if they’re not in the Google Play store then I wouldn’t consider them to be reliable due to the fact that Google is very strict on what apps are available in the Play Store and they are only getting more strict as the days go on.

 

Abundance 

Created by Bitcoin Aliens, this is quite an addictive game and you will almost certainly enjoy this one. I’m not a gambling man but it does resemble a casino game of some sort. Certainly recommended. 

 

Blockchain Game

Bitcoin Aliens creates this addictive game where it tests your speed and alertness by tapping the screen to drop a block onto the stack (resembles the blockchain) and the game speeds up as time goes on. A very fun game to play while earning some bitcoin. Try giving it to your kids so they can enjoy playing the game while you get paid for it 🙂 

 

Free Bitcoin

Yet another app created by ‘Bitcoin Aliens’ and looks as though it uses the same code base as Abundance as the two look very similar. This is also a very addictive little game and on the Google Play Store page they boast that this is the highest paying free bitcoin app available!

 

These are just some of the apps that I’ve tried and there are quite a few out there so give them a try and see what you think.

One thing to note here is that because the value of the currency is volatile and it’s constantly going up and down, the prize money from these apps will change from time to time.

 

The Blockchain Game as shown in the Google Play Store

Peer-to-peer money lending and what you need to know

If you haven’t read my article here on ‘is investing bitcoin on Bitbond.com safe?’ then this would be a good read if you are looking into peer-to-peer money lending with bitcoin.

I won’t go into detail here but check out that article if you’re interested in lending out your crypto cash.

This is a very exciting method of using bitcoin in the real world but be warned, this is also very risky and I have lost money here all to often.

 

Keeping an online bitcoin wallet

There are so many online wallets these days It would be hard for a beginner where to trust and quite rightly so. I have been using Blockchain.info for a few years now and this is the number one online wallet I would recommend. Of course there will be many other trust worthy online wallets out there. Blockchain.info supports Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Core, Stellar and Ethereum at the time of writing.

This will almost certainly change as new currencies are supported and forks continue to create new currency derivatives.

Blockchain.info has now renamed it’s platform to blockchain.com and you can find a link to the site here.

As always, when you go to login to ANY website, make sure the address is correct as there are many phishing sites out there to trick you into handing over your login credentials and I have seen such sites like this all too often when it comes to dealing with money and especially crypto currency.

Screenshot of Blockchain.com online crypto wallet

Store your bitcoin offline

The offline bitcoin wallet I would certainly recommend is Electrum and you can check out these guy’s on twitter here to keep up-to-date on latest news. If you use Electrum or any other wallet, online or offline for that matter then it’s a good idea to have a way of getting notified by the platform for security related info etc. Don’t forget, everyone’s out there to steal your cash, so stay vigilant!

Also, don’t forget that your chosen wallet needs to support the type of bitcoin you are wishing to store, such as BTC/BCH etc. as I mentioned above in the ‘Different types of bitcoin‘ section.

How do I buy & sell bitcoin?

There’s so many different ways to buy and sell the bitcoin but as of right now I will only recommend Localbitcoins.com. This is the only platform I use now and one reason for this is because it’s an excellent site that has never let me down (yet, fingers crossed) and I have used this on many occasions.

Another great reason for Localbitcoins is that the transaction with your bank is completely transparent. Meaning that when you make a bank transfer, it is exactly the same as if you were sending a friend or family member some money, and so nothing about a crypto currency purchase is mentioned anywhere (unless the buyer/seller mentions it in a transaction comment, which really frustrates me when they do this). 

So if your countries banks and/or governments decide one day to make it illegal to buy and sell crypto currencies, they’re gonna have a hard time enforcing this if there are no records indicating that is what you are purchasing.

If something ever happens to Localbitcoins.com one day then I would look for an alternative platform that operates in this same way.

It seems to be a pretty secure way of transacting, as Localbitcoins holds any money in escrow. When selling bitcoin, you only release the bitcoins when you know for sure that who ever you’re transacting with, has payed you. Always check your online banking to see the money has arrived and never take anyone’s word for it. Always check the buyers/sellers feedback before conducting any business is always a good idea too. 

 

One thing to be cautious here about and to be well aware of is understanding how other platforms such as Coinbase.com operate and my only advice here is to keep these platforms at arms length and don’t transact with any large amounts of cash. Coinbase is in bed with the government and thus they know exactly what your up to with regards to how much you have bought, sold and most likely collecting data on how much tax you owe among other red flags that will be triggered on their systems. 

Crypto currency is a hot topic for any government as it threatens the stability of the economy so be warned that you will have government intelligence watching you.

The last time I logged in I was asked for my home address in exchange for full access to trading?! hmm yeah.. not a chance.

Another very sly tactic by Coinbase is that they offer an obsolete currency known as Ethereum Classic. I have read somewhere that this is because Coinbase has a lot of this currency and they’re trying to get rid of it. Don’t fall for the “Coinbase bundle” scam. They’re just trying to get you to buy the unwanted Ethereum Classic currency.

Coinbase 'bundle' scam to get you to buy Ethereum Classic

There are many platforms like Coinbase out there on the net and all I can say is give them a try if you like the look of it for educational purposes but use small amounts of cash and it will also grow your confidence in transacting bitcoin for sure.

Conclusion

Like anything new, it just takes a bit of practice but once you get used to transferring money then just becomes second nature. There are so many platforms out there and that number is growing rapidly. Just be very cautious when using a website or app for the first time and I wouldn’t suggest transactions which involve a lot of money. 

The sites and apps I have mentioned here is what I have tried and tested and I certainly recommend.

Good luck in your crypto currency trading. Bitcoin and alt coins are not going anywhere so why not get in on the game early and get ahead in the game.

Disclaimer: I do have some affiliate links provided on this page in which I would receive a small commission if you use them, and thanks for helping me out.

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