By now, you’ve probably heard a little about Bitcoin and know just enough about it to be interested in having some, but not quite knowledgeable enough to call yourself an expert.
This site is dedicated to educating people about Bitcoin, and other similar digital currency options. Within these pages, we will be exploring the history of Bitcoin, and we will be making some predictions about the future of digital currency and the more common “fiat currency” – also known as cash. (As a side note, the Internal Revenue Service recently announced that they would treat Bitcoin as a commodity, like gold or silver, rather than like cash.)
The first thing anyone needs in order to start learning about and using Bitcoin, is a wallet. Digital Wallets come in a few shapes and sizes, and each one is functionally the same for simply accumulating Bitcoin and sending some off to a website or a friend now and again.
It’s only when working with the more specialized aspects of Bitcoin, such as mining or day-trading Bitcoin on an exchange against other cryptocurrencies, or accepting Bitcoin transactions at the point of sale that the exact functionality of a more advanced wallet becomes important.
There are cloud wallets and then there are software download wallets that install securely onto a local hard drive on your computer. Many wallets are even available on smart phones.
(Be careful in choosing a wallet if you decide to download it to your computer. There are many predatory, imposter websites which offer virus-infected or hacked wallets, so let the buyer beware when it comes to those.)
There is immense speculation about where the price of a Bitcoin will be in the future. Many people are simply buying Bitcoin on an exchange with some of their low-interest savings account money, in hopes of seeing an increase in value of several hundred percent. Many are now considering a periodic buying approach to diversify their legacy investment portfolio.
Accepting Bitcoin Payments
A fast-growing adoption of Bitcoin by some of the major retail enterprises, including computer manufacturer Dell, Electronics giant Tiger Direct and even precious metals experts Amagi Metals, are now accepting Bitcoin as payment at the point of sale. This approach can take two basic forms – either collecting the Bitcoin and speculating on the price, or instantly locking in the currency exchange rate, resulting in the money being deposited in the merchant’s bank account much like a credit card transaction, but with much lower costs.
Mining for Bitcoin
The nature of Bitcoin is that it allows people to earn their own Bitcoin payments by using computing power to contribute to the Bitcoin Block Chain in a process called mining. This process contributes to the ongoing verification and reconciliation of the block chain, and of Bitcoin protocol in general. In other words, it keeps it safe and secure.
Some people mine using their computers, but that is fast becoming inefficient due to the cost of high end graphics cards and the amount of power the computer uses when mining. Much more cost effective are the latest ASIC mining gear and cloud mining. In both cases, nearly everyone is now mining in pools, rather than solo mining. That approach allows a more consistent payout from the mining operation. Cloud mining will normally be done within a pool, but it involves significantly more risk as there is no real guarantee that the cloud mining company will stick around for the duration of the contract. Many have taken the money and disappeared recently.
Bitcoin can be spent directly for goods or services, or it can be converted into cash, gold, silver, or other currencies or assets. There are websites dedicated to the serious investment trading professional and those designed for everyday people who don’t know much about investing, Forex, binary options or Bitcoin.
CoinBase.com – Online Wallet, Bitcoin to USD Exchange and Merchant Bitcoin Acceptance Tools. Accept Bitcoin payments, convert them instantly to US Dollars, and deposit them automatically into your bank account. Fees for Bitcoin transactions are much lower than standard credit cards.
AmagiMetals.com – Buy precious metals using Bitcoin or traditional payment methods. Invest in gold, silver and other metals including coins, bars and online escrow accounts.
Cryptsy.com – Exchange hundreds of different cryptocurrency units for Bitcoin or US Dollars. Trade between different alternate cryptocurrency units (altcoins) and Bitcoin. Cryptsy.com also provides a wallet address for over 200 different digital currencies and also allows cloud mining contracts. Earn interest on several popular coins as well.
Bter.com – Exchange dozens of different cryptocurrency units for Bitcoin or US Dollars.
Bitcoin Mining Pools
Eligius.st – is a pool for ASIC mining Bitcoin using SHA-256. Simply point your mining rigs to the server address and begin mining, using your Bitcoin address as a username. No registration required.
BTCGuild.com – was a pool for ASIC mining Bitcoin using SHA-256. It has now closed down and is no longer accepting shares.
Multipool.us – is a pool for mining most major SHA-256, Scrypt, Scrypt N and X-11 coins. Directly integrates with Cryptsy.com for daily payouts and automatic conversion to Bitcoin if desired.
Research Digital Currency
Satoshi Nakamoto’s White Paper – Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. This is the research paper that got digital currency started. PDF.
Understanding Bitcoin – The Liberty Lover’s Guide to Understanding the Mechanics and Economics of Crypto-Currency.
Blockchain.info – provides real-time and historic information about each block mined and each transaction. Also has charts, stats, markets and an online Bitcoin wallet. Search for blocks by height, address, block hash, transaction hash, hash160 or ipv4.
Coindesk.com – Digital Currency News Desk with multiple resources including .
Digital Currency Council – Provides a standard training curriculum and digital currency certification for various professional needs.
HistoryofBitcoin.org – offers a timeline perspective of the evolution of Bitcoin. Follow all of the major advances and stories over time, from the genesis block to recent developments.
History of Bitcoin