You’ve set up your bitcoin wallet and have acquired some bitcoins, and now you’re ready to use them – what’s next? Here’s a step-by-step guide to transferring bitcoins from one party to another using a software wallet.
Step #1: Get the destination wallet address.
This is the place you want to send your coins (or receive them, if someone else is transferring coins to you). You can usually access this from the Receive/Deposit section of the receiving platform you are using. You can even generate new destination wallet addresses for increased privacy, all of which are tied to your account.
Step #2: Make sure the destination address is correct.
Now that you have the address, copy and paste it to your platform’s Send/Withdraw section. But be VERY careful to double- or triple-check that the address is correct – crypto transactions are irreversible, and a typo almost certainly means permanently losing the bitcoins you were trying to send.
One way to avoid potential slip-ups is to scan a QR code (when available) for the destination address. It’s also helpful to practice the process first from start to finish using a smaller amount before you send over the bulk, so that any mistakes you make will have minimal impact on your (software) wallet.
Step #3: Confirm the transaction.
After you have checked the correct address, hit the confirm/send button to complete the transfer.
Step #4: Now, you wait.
Bitcoin transaction confirmation times vary based on the number of blocks in the blockchain required for confirmation. Six (6) blocks has been adopted by the Bitcoin community as the standard confirmation period, and an average block typically takes 10 minutes to be confirmed into the blockchain, so an average transaction takes one hour to be finalized.
Will it always be an hour of wait time?
No. Wait time varies based on many factors – a congested network, varying block confirmations, a server being down for maintenance, and more can affect the time it takes.
I’m concerned about my unconfirmed transaction. Where can I check on it?
You can go to https://blockchain.info/unconfirmed-transactions for a real-time look at how many transactions are waiting to be confirmed.
Can I check the transaction status?
Yes, you can, by inputting the transaction hash or ID (which you received after the transaction was successfully submitted) in your blockchain explorer.You can also use the origin or destination address, but this involves manually locating your transaction within the address.
Are there transaction fees?
Occasionally. It differs based on network congestion and which service you are using to send bitcoins. Sending within an exchange is usually free, but sending between exchanges will often charge a fee.
Check your destination for your updated balance.
Everything looks good? Congratulations – you just transferred your first bitcoins!