The best way to understand about bitcoin, is to jump in and get a few in your “pocket” to obtain a feel for how they work.

Despite the hype about how difficult and dangerous it could be, getting bitcoins is a lot easier and safer than you might think. In plenty of ways, it really is probably easier than opening an account at a traditional bank. And, given what has been happening in the bank operating system, it really is probably safer too.

There are a few things to learn: getting and using a software wallet, learning how exactly to receive and send money, learning how exactly to buy bitcoin from a person or an exchange.

Spice Preparation

Before getting started, you will need to get yourself a wallet. You can certainly do this easily enough by registering with one of the exchanges that may host wallet for you personally. And, although I think you are going to want to have one or more exchange wallets eventually, you should start with one by yourself computer both to have a better feel for bitcoin and because the exchanges are still experimental themselves. When we reach that stage of the discussion, I am advising that you get in the habit of moving your money and coins off the exchanges or diversifying across exchanges to help keep your money safe.

What is a wallet?

It is a solution to store your bitcoins. Specifically, it is software that has been made to store bitcoin. It could be run on your desktop computer, laptop, mobile device (except, as yet, Apple) and can also be made to store bitcoins on things such as thumb drives. For anyone who is worried about being hacked, then that is a good option. Even the Winklevoss* twins, who have millions committed to bitcoin, put their investment on hard drives which they then placed into a safety deposit box.

*The Winklevoss twins are the ones who originally had the theory for a social media site that became Facebook. They hired Mark Zuckerberg who took their idea as his own and became immensely rich.

What do you need to know about having a bitcoin wallet on your computer?

Below you can download the original bitcoin wallet, or client, in Windows or Mac format. They are not just wallets, but are in fact section of the bitcoin network. They will receive, store, and send your bitcoins. You can create a number of addresses with a click (an address is a number that looks like this: 1LyFcQatbg4BvT9gGTz6VdqqHKpPn5QBuk). You will notice a field where you can copy and paste a number like this from the person you wish to send money to and off it’ll go directly into that person’s wallet. You can even create a QR code that will let someone have a picture with an app on the phone and send you some bitcoin. It really is perfectly safe to give these out – the address and QR code are both for my donations page. Feel absolve to donate!

NOTE: This sort of wallet acts both as a wallet for you personally and as part of the bitcoin system. The reason bitcoin works is that every transaction is broadcast and recorded as a number over the entire system (and therefore every transaction is confirmed and made irreversible by the network itself). Any computer with the proper software can be part of that system, checking and supporting the network. This wallet serves as your individual wallet and also as a support for that system. Therefore, be aware that it will take up 8-9 gigabytes of your computer’s memory. Once you install the wallet, it will require as much as a day for the wallet to sync with the network. That is normal, does not harm your computer, and makes the system all together more secure, so it’s a good idea.

Bitcoin Qt

The original wallet.
This can be a full-featured wallet: create multiple addresses to receive bitcoins, send bitcoins easily, track transactions, and back up your wallet.
Outside of the time it requires to sync, this is a very easy to use option.
Seek out Bitcoin Qt wallet download to get their site.
Armory

Runs on top of Bitcoi Qt, so that it has all of the same syncing requirements.
Armory enables you to back up, encrypt, and the capability to store your bitcoins off line.
Seek out Bitcoin Armory Wallet to find their site.
If you don’t want to have that much memory used or don’t desire to wait for your wallet to sync, you can find good wallets that not make you sync the entire history of bitcocin:

Multibit

A lightweight wallet that syncs quickly. This is good for new users.
Seek out Bitcoin Multibit Wallet to find their site.
Electum

Not only is it quick and light, this wallet enables you to recover lost data utilizing a passcode.
Search for Bitcoin Electum Wallet to get their site.
After you obtain the wallet set up, take a few minutes clicking around. What to look for:

o There will be a page that shows you just how many bitcoins are in your wallet. Remember that bitcoins can be broken up into smaller pieces, so you might see a decimal with plenty of zeros after it. (Interesting note, 0.00000001 is one Satoshi, named after the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin).

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