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Author : Bitcoins Basics 101 PDF Ebook by DAVID DODGE and BRIAN DIXON
Step One: Get a Bitcoin Wallet. The very first thing you're going to need is a Bitcoin Wallet - aka a Bitcoin client. No matter what type of computer you're running, there's going to be an installer program to get you up and running in no time at all. Most people find it takes around 5 to 10 minutes to get a Bitcoin client installed and connected to the network. Be sure you take your time to find a client you're comfortable with using. Most are very similar, but some have some extra bells and whistles that might make it easier for you to get started. The most popular option for Windows, Mac and Linux is currently MultiBit. Bitcoin Wallet for Android OS is also available. Another option is to use a web based Bitcoin Wallet, although this isn't really recommended. While you may be able to find a service that offers a high level of security, it's not the same level you'd have if you install the software on your own computer where you have complete control. Coinbase is one of the more popular online Bitcoin wallets currently. Whichever you choose, once it's installed the next step is easy. You'll generate a public and private key. This is your Bitcoin address that will allow people to send BTC to your account. After you have your Bitcoin Wallet setup, you have a few different options on how to accrue BTC in your wallet. We're going to go over these - one by one - next. Bitcoin Exchanges. Bitcoin exchanges weren't around when Bitcoin first came out, but they're now an integral part of how the whole Bitcoin ecosystem works.
There are exchanges that include Bitcoin among other virtual currencies online as well as marketplaces that deal exclusively with BTC transactions. It's interesting to note that some of these marketplaces will hold a balance for you - outside of your Bitcoin Wallet - in order to make it easier to conduct trades. Choosing the right Bitcoin Exchange is important if you want to stay safe and not risk losing your BTC balance due to a scam or technical problems. Here's a look at the major factors you need to look at before choosing a Bitcoin Exchange. Security – The most important aspect you want to think about is security. If a Bitcoin Exchange is new to the Internet and is missing contact information, this is a good sign that they probably don't care too much about the security of your personal information. It's important to do your homework so that you can determine which Bitcoin Exchange website has the best track record when it comes to security. Luckily, if you spend any amount of time on the many Bitcoin forums and communities online, you'll see which exchanges have problems and which exchanges are recommended. Geography - While Bitcoin is a decentralized network that spreads around the globe, you still need to think about your physical location. For example, some Bitcoin Exchanges will not allow you to withdraw funds to a US bank account. It's a good idea to make sure whatever exchange you're thinking about using has a way for you to convert your BTC to your local currency easily and safely.
In 2013, some people began complaining about the amount of time it took MtGox to transfer funds to the US, so it's a good idea to once again hit the forums and try to gauge public opinion about any exchange you're thinking of using. Next, let's take a quick look at some of the major Bitcoin Exchanges currently operating. New ones are appearing all the time, but it's generally a safer bet working with one that has been around for a while and has managed to build up a track record of being reputable and honest. CoinBase – This is one of the most popular Bitcoin Exchanges at the moment. They offer the ability to transfer funds to US bank accounts. Having said that, if you live elsewhere in the world, you may not be happy about not being able to transfer funds to your local bank account. MtGox – At one time, MtGox was responsible for the majority of Bitcoin transactions in the world. This has changed recently as they've run into some legal problems in different countries around the world, but they're still a very popular Bitcoin Exchange that many people use on a daily basis. BTC-E – This website is based in an unknown city in Bulgaria, so you might be cautious about keeping any BTC here. The prices per BTC are generally a lot lower here, but this is because it takes a ridiculous amount of time to confirm a transaction. Still, it's an option you might look at depending on where you live currently. Bitstamp – This exchange is similar to CoinBase in a lot of ways.
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