You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments. It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly deflationary. The halving countdown can be found here.
Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works. You can even run a node on a Raspberry Pi.
Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoins reside has the authority to move them.
Low fee scaling - On chain transaction fees depend on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate on chain fees automatically but you can view current fees here and mempool activity here. On chain fees may rise occasionally due to network demand, however instant micropayments that do not require confirmations are happening via the Lightning Network, a second layer scaling solution currently rolling out on the Bitcoin mainnet.
Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
Portable - Bitcoins are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can even be transported by simply memorizing a string of words for wallet recovery (while cool this method is generally not recommended due to potential for insecure key generation by inexperienced users. Hardware wallets are the preferred method for new users due to ease of use and additional security).
Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage. Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".
Securing your bitcoins
With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, then you will need to create your own wallet and keep it secure. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor, Ledger or ColdCard is recommended. Alternatively there are many software wallet options to choose from here depending on your use case.
If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Gemini but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email! 2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".
Where can I spend bitcoins?
Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out. If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.
Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.
The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
1,000 per bitcoin
used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
1,000,000 per bitcoin
colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
100,000,000 per bitcoin
smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki. Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval. Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
Local Bitcoin ATM Heist at 14 Stores in North Carolina
I live in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. I usually convert raw cash into BTC by going to a franchise of vape shops around the area that have Bitcoin ATMs. The last few days I’ve gone around to them to put some cash in and according to 1 vape shop employees “the owners just pulled them out, don’t know why”. Found out today that the real reason is that someone with a sledgehammer broke into 14 different machines in the vape shops after smashing the windows. Apparently it was successful for the thieves. But now I have to wait until new ones get out in to convert cash. Not a big deal but I prefer that method. All machines were owned by Coinflip. Which has the best fees it seems. Tried going to “Liberty” locations but those ATMs only allow you to buy BTC by card at god awful rates.
List of bitcoin person-to-person (P2P) bitcoin exchanges (e.g., Bisq, HodlHodl, LocalCoinSwap, etc.)
Following is a list of P2P exchanges for trading Bitcoin. Common payment methods include bank transfer, cash deposited in the seller's bank account, in-person cash (face-to-face) trades as well as payment networks such as Zelle, Alipay, even Cash App and PayPal, for example. Any that I am missing?
ok, so I'm trying to buy something from a website that only takes crypto. I've never done this. I've researched it a little but it still seems confusing. I downloaded Edge to use as my wallet and then that told me I needed LibertyX so I downloaded that too. On LibertyX it shows places I can go to locally to add bitcoin to my wallet. So I go on LibertyX and find a place and click the "buy bitcoin here" tab. When I do that it asks for a bitcoin address. How do I get that? Also apparently on LibertyX I have to create an order number. It shows an example of how to do it, but when I actually choose a store to go to there's no option to do that. I went to one of the gas stations that was on the app and on the ATM I saw the LibertyX logo, but it also asked for a 6 digit pin. I'm completely lost and have no idea how to do this. I just want to buy something. Can someone please help me?
LibertyX Allows BTC Purchases in Cash at 7-Eleven, CVS, and Rite Aid
LibertyX, the firm that launched one of the early Bitcoin ATMs, has just made purchasing Bitcoin in cash possible at more than 20,000 retail locations across the United States. In a June 22 announcement on LibertyX’s Twitter account, the crypto ATM service company said customers of retailers including 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacy, and Rite Aid would […]
Buy Bitcoin From an ATM (Debit Card) Instead of having to go take out cash and find a cash-to-bitcoin kiosk, you can now buy bitcoin using your debit card from the ATM at many convenient locations. The process is very similar to using an ATM, except instead of receiving cash at the end of the transaction, we will send you bitcoin digitally. LibertyX, the largest U.S. retail bitcoin exchange, is partnering with Hyosung to add the ability to sell bitcoin to any ATM with just a few steps. Fill out the form below to request an application package. A representative will be in touch to walk you through the simple upgrade process. How to buy bitcoin with debit card. In addition to our 5,000 traditional ATM partner locations where you can buy bitcoin with your debit card, certain independent stores also accept debit card payments for bitcoin. Look for the "debit" tag on the store locator to see if a location near you accepts debit cards. In 2014, LibertyX (formerly Liberty Teller) released the world’s first bitcoin ATMs, designed to give people the ability to swap cash for bitcoin at physical kiosks. LibertyX has continued to expand, partnering with local vendors throughout the US to create a network of real-world exchange points. Bitcoin ATM kiosks are machines which are connected to the Internet, allowing the insertion of cash or a credit card in exchange for Bitcoin. They look like traditional ATMs, but they do not connect to a bank account and instead connect the customer directly to a Bitcoin exchange for a localized and convenient way to purchase Bitcoin in person.