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Absolutely everything you need to start using Bitcoin, right now.

Introduction.

You will find gathered here all of the information you need to get started on your Bitcoin journey with our easy to understand, step-by-step instructions.  We have already done all the hard work so you don’t have to.  We’ve been using Bitcoin since way back in 2011 and want to share with you what we think are the best, simplest, apps and tools available today for a complete beginner to quickly be able to send and receive bitcoins without any fuss whatsoever. One thing is for sure – It’s going to be a lot easier for you than it was for us!

Are we going to explain, in detail how Bitcoin works?

No!  We are going to explain how you can:

  • Set up a Bitcoin wallet (your “account” where your bitcoins are stored).
  • Receive and send bitcoins to and from your wallet.
  • Buy and sell bitcoins.

Do you use a telephone?  Do you know exactly how the complex electronic processes that make up a fully functioning modern telephone system work to enable you to call your mum and ask her how her feet are today?  Probably not.  That’s our point.  You don’t need to know these things.  You just need to know how to make a call.

We’re going to leave the details of the intricacies of the Bitcoin protocol to other dedicated websites.

Here, we’re going to show you how to start using bitcoin which is what the vast majority of normal people want to do.

With Bitcoin, life becomes simpler.  You don’t need to go to anyone to open an account like you do with a bank.  No more grovelling to a bank manager!  You just install a Bitcoin wallet and you start using it.  You don’t need to ask permission to use it because it’s YOURS.

Install a bitcoin wallet.

You can use Bitcoin on a wide range of devices, the most common being PCs, mac computers, smartphones and tablets.  Choose which device you want to install a wallet on.

 

Smartphones and Tablets

Choose this for smartphones and tablets

Smartphones and Tablets

PCs/macs

Choose this for PCs and mac computers

PCs/macs

Install a Bitcoin wallet app on your iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet.

We recommend using the Airtbitz bitcoin wallet.  It is fast to install, easy to use and easy to recover should your phone or tablet get lost, damaged or stolen.  You can get the app directly from either Google play or Apple App Store.

available-on-apple-app-store available-on-android

Once the Airbitz app is installed, tap the icon to open it and you will be greeted with a screen like this:

Airbitz main screen

If your location settings allow, the app will show the nearest places accepting bitcoin that are listed in the Airbitz business directory.

Before you can start to use Bitcoin, you will need to set up a wallet.  Tap the Wallets button.

Airbits Wallet sign-in

Click on the Create Account button.

Airbitz sign-up details

Select a new user name that you want to use and enter a strong password.  The app will guide you towards a password that is secure enough.

Airbitz password requirements

Once you’ve entered the password and confirmed it, choose a 4 digit PIN number and then tap on the Complete Sign Up button.

It is incredibly important that you make a note of these details and keep them somewhere secure that you can get to if something happens to your device. If you forget the details you will lose access to any bitcoins in this wallet. The Airbitz app will prompt you to enter some additional security details to aid in recovering the account should you forget the details. Even Airbitz themselves do not have any access to recover these details should you get this part wrong!

The account will take a short while to be created..

Airbitz creating and securing wallet

Once done, your new bitcoin wallet will be displayed.

Airbitz new wallet created

Receiving bitcoins.

Obviously, at this point your wallet is completely empty and doesn’t contain any bitcoins, so to remedy that you’ll need to to have some bitcoins sent to your new wallet address.  Simply tap the Request button..

Airbitz request bitcoins

There are a couple of optional fields to fill in if you wanted to request a specific amount (notice that you can request the amount in either bitcoin or your local currency – the app will work this out for you), or you can simply leave them blank and tap on the Next button..

Airbitz waiting for payment

Now, you’ll notice that white and black square pattern (known as a QR code) has appeared, along with details of the amount you requested and a series of random looking numbers and letters.  This is the bitcoin wallet address which will receive the bitcoins when they are sent by the other person.  So obviously, the other person will need to know this address so that they know where to send the bitcoins to.

There are several ways that this can be done.

If the person sending bitcoins is with you and has a device such as a smartphone or tablet with a camera, their device can be pointed at the QR code and the details will be read automatically.

You will notice that there are other options Copy, Email and SMS.  These are other methods that you can use to send the other party the wallet address details so they know where to send bitcoins to.  So, potentially, the person sending the bitcoins could just as easily be on the other side of the planet as standing right next to you in the same room.

Then, the person sending bitcoins will just need to enter and confirm the amount being sent and several seconds later you will receive a notification that your wallet is receiving a new transaction.  It will show the transaction details in both bitcoin and your local currency..

Airbitz transaction details

You can enter some notes to make it easier to keep a track of what the payment was for and who it was from, but you don’t need to if you don’t want to.  Tap Done.

Airbitz wallet transactions

You will now see an updated balance of your wallet(s).  Notice that immediately after the transaction first occurs, it is marked Uncomfirmed.  See the confirmations section for more details.

Sending bitcoins.

The process of sending bitcoins to someone elses wallet is just as easy.  First, tap on the Send button..

Airbitz send - scan QR

The camera will activate and it will allow you to scan the QR code of the wallet you are sending to.  Once the camera has decoded the image it will automatically update..

Airbitz send confirmation

Enter or confirm the transaction amount in either bitcoins or your local currency.  It’s a good idea to double-check the first and last characters of the recipient’s wallet address to make sure it matches.  Once you tap the Slide to Confirm button, the transaction will send.  THIS IS NOT REVERSIBLE so get in the habit of checking!

Also, note that the Airbitz wallet will, by default, add on a tiny fee of 0.0001 bitcoins for each transaction, so make sure that you have enough funds to cover this before you spend.  This fee is used to keep Bitcoin running.

Airbitz send transaction details

After several seconds, you will be able to enter some details about the transaction for your own reference.  You don’t have to if you don’t want to.  Tap Done when ready.

Airbitz send wallet balance

And finally, you’ll be taken back to your wallet transaction list including this latest transaction, which will show the amount you just sent as Unconfirmed.  See the note about confirmations for more details.

Install a Bitcoin wallet on your Windows or Linux PC or mac computer.

We recommend using the Electrum bitcoin wallet.  It is fast to install, easy to use and easy to recover should your computer get lost, damaged or stolen.  Go to www.electrum.org and go to the download section to get the version for your computer.

Once you have downloaded and installed the wallet, upon the first run you will be asked to create a new wallet..

Electrum create new wallet

Click Next and you will be shown your wallet generation seed.

Electrum new seed

Make a note of this seed and keep it somewhere safe.  You will need this seed to recover your wallet should anything happen to your computer and you need to reinstall.

It is incredibly important that you make a note of these details and keep them somewhere secure that you can get to if something happens to your device. If you forget the details you will lose access to any bitcoins in this wallet. There will be no way to recover these details should you get this part wrong!
Electrum confirm seed

You’ll be asked to confirm this seed phrase before continuing.

Electrum create password

Now, you will be asked to provide a password to keep your wallet safe.  You will be prompted to enter this password when you send bitcoins elsewhere.

Electrum connect

Electrum will now connect to the internet so that it can get the latest information relating to transactions made within your wallet.

Electrum wallet ready

And now your new Electrum bitcoin wallet is ready.  You should see a bitcoin balance of zero.  Not very exciting yet, so let’s learn how to use it.

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving bitcoins.

Click on the Receive tab and you will see a list of five new bitcoin wallet addresses all with zero balances.  You can use any of these addresses to receive bitcoins and you can add as many more as you like.  The wallet will automatically generate new addresses as you use it.  You can use any of these addresses to receive bitcoins, but many people like to use a new one for every transaction so it’s easier to keep track of things by entering notes in the Label field.

Electrum receive

To receive a payment from someone else, they will need to be given a wallet address where they can send bitcoins to.  This is like your bank account number that people can send money to, except you can have as many different addresses in your wallet as you like.  The wallet balance will be calculated from the sum of these addresses.

Right-click on the address you want to use and you will see more options.  In our example we will use a QR code that a sender with a smartphone or tablet can send bitcoins to using the camera of their device.  Or alternatively you could simply copy the wallet address and paste it into an email or a document.  The wallet address that we’ll use in this example is bitcoin-address  The sender could even type this in by hand if they didn’t have any other means.

electrum-receive-2

After selecting the QR code option, you will see the code representing your bitcoin wallet address displayed, along with the written address below.  If the person sending you bitcoins has a smartphone or tablet with a camera built-in, they can point their device at this code and the address will be read automatically by their bitcoin wallet app.

Electrum receive display QR code

Click on close once the sender has your wallet address.

Once the other person has sent an amount to your address, after a few seconds the amount will appear in the balance column against the wallet address you used.

Electrum received

Notice that the wallet balance still reads zero, but shows the newly sent amount as unconfirmed.  See the confirmations section for more details about this.

Click on the History tab and you will see a list of all the transactions in your wallet along with their confirmation status.

Electrum receive pending

The transaction will go through several stages of confirmation.

Electrum unconfirmed

Each confirmation step takes, on average, ten minutes.

Electrum confirmations

Until, finally, a green tick appears next to the transaction, which means that it is fully confirmed.  You can only spend bitcoins when you have an adequate amount of bitcoins in your wallet.

Electrum receive confirmed total

Sending bitcoins.

To send bitcoins to someone, you will first need to know their wallet address.  This could be copy and pasted into an email or document or you could just type it in by hand.

Electrum send details

Also, note that the Electrum wallet will, by default, add on a tiny fee of 0.0002 bitcoins for each transaction, so make sure that you have enough funds to cover this before you spend.  This fee is used to keep Bitcoin running.

Click on the Send button once you’re ready.

If you need to work out how many bitcoins to send in your local currency, open your web browser and go to preev.com, which will work out an instant currency conversion for you based on the latest price of bitcoin.

Preev bitcoin currency conversion

Before sending the Electrum wallet will ask you to enter your password.

Electrum enter password

And then, you will receive a notification that the payment has been sent.

Electrum payment sent

Click on OK and return to the History tab to see the progress of the transaction.

Electrum send pending

The transaction will start off as Pending, but will then go through the confirmation process.

Electrum send unconfirmed

To see more about this process see the confirmations section.

Electrum confirmed

Once the transaction is fully confirmed, you will see a green tick next to the transaction and the wallet balance will be updated accordingly.

Confirmations.

It can be wise to wait until a transaction is marked Confirmed when dealing with large amounts.  The general rule of thumb is to wait for 6 confirmations before being 100% sure that the transaction is legitimate, although for smaller amounts many people are happy to trust that the transaction won’t be a problem.

On average each confirmation takes around 10 minutes.  If the transaction is for a cup of coffee, it’s probably fine not to wait.  If the transaction is for a house purchase, then definitely wait for proper confirmation!

Buy some bitcoins.

Once you have your Bitcoin wallet setup and ready to use, you will obviously need some bitcoins to put in it.

If you’re just starting out, the easiest way is to exchange some of your local currency for some bitcoins, in much the same way that you exchange currency when you travel abroad.

Here, you will find the places that we consider to be the best and easiest ways that we have found to do purchase bitcoins at the moment.

localbitcoins.com -LocalBitcoins provides a great way of buying and selling bitcoins in hundreds of countries all over the world.  You can buy bitcoins locally, face-to-face, with cash or over the internet using a bank-transfer or other payment methods.  Sellers are rated according to the reputation they’ve built up.  Just take a look, find the best offer that suits you and make the trade.  Once you have bought your chosen quantity of bitcoins you can then send them directly from Localbitcoins to your own wallet that you set up earlier (as explained above).

BTCJam.com – BTCJam is the first global peer-to-peer lending network powered by Bitcoin. Connecting individual lenders looking for attractive returns with borrowers looking for accessible and affordable loans.

Once the bitcoins arrive in your own wallet, welcome to the world of Bitcoin.  Have fun!

Purse.io – Get 20% Off Items At Amazon Using Bitcoin,  or buy Bitcoin through any payment option that Amazon accepts.