Bitcoin is a digital currency. Bitcoins can be used to transfer value over the Internet in a matter of seconds just like you would send an email. The value of bitcoin and its transactions are stored in the blockchain. Everyone can run the open source Bitcoin software on his PC, laptop or smartphone to store, receive or send Bitcoins.
Bitcoin is not controlled by any bank, government or company, it is a decentralized peer-to-peer network and is managed by millions of computer worldwide running the Bitcoin software. Bitcoins possess value because only a limited number of bitcoins exist and people value the decentralized, anonymous and virtual characteristics.
Bitcoin is often called a virtual currency, which is a somewhat misleading as most currencies we use today are mainly stored virtually as 1 and 0 in a bank computer. The main difference is fiat currencies are backed by governments and digital currencies are backed by mathematics and computer power.
A short (1:36min) video introduction to Bitcoin from WeUseCoins
To use Bitcoin you need a wallet, this can either be a piece of software or an account with one of the wallet providers. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
|Provider||Type||Positive||Negative||Manual||Blockchain.info||Online||No installation of software is needed||Your wallet is administered by a third party. You provide a good backup and a strong password.||Setup Blockchain.info wallet|
|Mycelium||Mobile Wallet (Android)||Fast and easy to use. Bitcoins stored on your phone, you are in control of your bitcoins.||If you have no backup and you lose your phone, the bitcoins are gone.||Setup Mycelium wallet|
|Electrum||Desktop||A lot of functionality and control over your bitcoins. You can create different bitcoin accounts. Good privacy settings.||Somewhat complex navigation. If you don't make a back-up and your computer crashes you lose everything. For this reason always make a back-up on USB, paper, etc!||Setup Electrum wallet|
|Exodus||Desktop||Beautiful design and very userfriendly. Supports many coins like Dash, Etherium and Litecoin which you can easily exchange in your wallet through Shapeshift.||The advanced bitcoin uses will miss some functionality and privacy is not optimized for all coins|
|GreenAddress||Software & Online||Quick set-up and a wide range of functionality. Available for desktop, mobile and online.||Control over Bitcoins is shared between GreenAddress and your software.|
Once you have set up a wallet you are ready to buy some Bitcoins. There are many places where you can buy bitcoins with a (SEPA) Bank Transfer, iDeal, Sofort, Paypal or cash.
|Buy Bitcoins||Payment Methods||Description|
|HappyCoins||Sofort, Mister Cash, iDEAL, Giropay, MyBank, Sepa Transfer||Pay with any of the above payment methods and receive your bitcoins within a couple of minutes. Only email and Bitcoin address needed.|
|Kraken||Deposit with international Wire or SEPA Transfer. SEPA takes just one business day.||Buy Bitcoins on the market a this exchange. Works as a bank account so an extended identity verification is needed.|
|LocalBitcoins||All payment methods you can think off...||A marketplace for trading Bitcoins. Buy Bitcoins from another person locally for cash or with an online payments method. LocalBitcoins works as an escrow so you have no risk of loosing money.|
|Coinbase||Buy Bitcoins with a SEPA or international wire transfer||Once you have verified your identity and created an account it is easy to buy Bitcoins with a bank transfer.|
Thanks to the popularity of the bitcoin network and the limit of the number of transactions the costs for a transaction have risen quite a bit. For smaller payments, it pays to look into other crypto valuta. For the average user, the working won't be much different to Bitcoin. And with a wallet like Exodus exchanging crypto valuta has become a piece of cake.
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