A beginner’s guide to bitcoin.

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What is Bitcoin?

If you want to know what is Bitcoin, how you can get it and how it can help you, without floundering into technical details, this guide is for you. It will also direct you to resources that will help you store and use your first pieces of digital currency.

Bitcoin is a digital asset and a payment system. It is commonly called a decentralized digital currency. It is an open source software. This means, that no person, company or country owns this network just like no one owns the Internet.

Once you own bitcoins, they possess value and trade just as if they were nuggets of gold in your pocket. You can use your bitcoins to purchase goods and services online, or you can tuck them away and hope that their value increases over the years. Bitcoins are traded from one personal ‘wallet’ to another.

How to store your bitcoins?

There are many ways of bitcoin storage and many different types of wallet software. A Bitcoin wallet is a software program where Bitcoins are stored. To be technically accurate, Bitcoins are not stored anywhere; there is a private key (secret number) for every Bitcoin address that is saved in the Bitcoin wallet of the person who owns the balance.

Bitcoin wallets facilitate sending and receiving Bitcoins and give ownership of the Bitcoin balance to the user. The Bitcoin wallet comes in many forms; desktop, mobile, web and hardware are the four main types of wallets.

Where can I find Bitcoins?

You can get your first bitcoins from any of these four places.

  • A cryptocurrency exchange where you can exchange ‘regular’ coins for bitcoins, or for satoshis, which are like the BTC-type of cents.
  • A Bitcoin ATM (or cryptocurrency exchange) where you can change bitcoins or cash for another cryptocurrency.
  • A classified service where you can find a seller who will help you trade bitcoins for cash.
  • Ask a friend to give you some in an exchange with your local currency.

Get ready to use it

Whether you plan to ultimately sell your bitcoin (hopefully at a profit) or use it to purchase something, be ready to do so at a moment’s notice. The way bitcoin value fluctuates it’s important to have your end-game planned our early on. Be prepared by setting up a seller account now, or figure out how to buy what you want with it before you actually plan to. That way when the time comes, you’ll not have a panicked rush while everyone else is trying to do the same.

About the author

Adarsh Vengarathodi
By Adarsh Vengarathodi

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