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How Do You Make a Paper Bitcoin Wallet?

Because bitcoin wallets and balances are little more than a few lines of code, it is often desired to move the wallet offline into paper form. Generally speaking, it is not a difficult process. The way bitcoin transactions work, funds are sent to a specific address that signifies the wallet of the payee. People can possess multiple wallet addresses, which can be quickly generated at no cost, and this is often preferential for security and privacy reasons. Services such as bitaddress.org allow users to generate new wallet addresses and then help users encrypt and print paper versions of the necessary information to keep their bitcoin balances offline for cold storage in physical form. Extensive tutorials on how to do this exist online in forums and videos. Some people like this option because it removes any chance of their wallet being hacked. Continue reading...

What was the Mt. Gox Incident?

There have been many incidents where cryptocurrency has been stolen, but the Mt. Gox incident is the largest to date Mt. Gox was at one time the largest cryptocurrency exchange on the net, facilitating as much as 80% of global bitcoin trades, according to some sources. And then about 850,000 bitcoin suddenly went missing. At the exchange rate in 2014, when the problem came to light, that many bitcoin were worth about $450 USD. At the time of this writing, with Bitcoin at a high in 2017, that man... Continue reading...

How Do You Buy Litecoin?

Similar to other cryptocurrencies, litecoin can be purchased through major cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet apps. Many reputable exchanges exist for buying and trading cryptocurrencies, and several of these will allow you to purchase litecoin with credit cards, wire transfers, and bank deposits.  There may be issues with buying enough litecoins to suit your fancy if you aren’t willing to verify your identity, or if the exchange simply won’t allow you to exchange for a large balance of litecoin in single transactions. One option that may open more doors is to purchase bitcoin first, and then exchange those for litecoin. Many people search for good ways to buy litecoin or Bitcoin with Paypal, but it is probably more trouble than it’s worth. Paypal has a somewhat over-active reversible charge system, which favors some buyers or sellers over others by default and can be used by bad actors to reverse the payment owed to someone transacting business in cryptocurrencies. Continue reading...

How Do You Store Your Bitcoin?

In your “bitcoin wallet,” of course... Once you have acquired bitcoin, you will want to make sure that you store it in a secure fashion that suits your taste and needs. You have several options for this, since technically all you’re storing is a few lines of code, and this can be done on a computer, in a cloud, on a removable storage device, or on some sort of physical medium such as paper or even a physical manufactured bitcoin. Continue reading...

How Do You Accept Bitcoin Payments for Your Store?

Several services make it easy to accept bitcoin payments, or a programmer can help you set up your own node. The most convenient way to accept bitcoin payments as a merchant is to use the services made available by exchanges like Coinbase and Bitpay, who make it simple enough to add a button to your website and to accept payments in person via NFC and QR codes. These exchanges have established what is called Full Nodes on the blockchain, which are slightly more efficient than using regular client software on the blockchain, and have optimized them for merchant services. Continue reading...

What is the Lightning Network?

The Lightning Network is a system that allows for extremely fast Bitcoin transactions off-chain. Lightning Network is a smart contract protocol that uses existing blockchains to mediate transactions off-chain to increase the speed at which they can be finalized. Such a technology is much sought-after in the Bitcoin community, where transactions can take hours to clear if the workflow for miners gets backed up. With the fast pace of business today, the emergence of many other options for faster settlement, such as Ethereum and Ripple, developers know that something like Lightning Network may be needed to keep Bitcoin relevant and make it more scalable. Continue reading...

How Can I Buy Bitcoin?

The most common way to buy Bitcoin is through online services such as Coinbase, Bitpanda, Bitquick, Localbitcoins, and Spectrocoin, where customers can use credit cards, bank accounts, and various other payment methods to convert cash into coin. Transfers are based on frequently updated rates of exchange and may involve a combination of flat fees and percentages that go to the service. There are also some physical locations where you can perform these transactions, such as Bitcoin ATM machines and convenience stores that can help you transfer money through the same machines that add funds to prepaid phones. Each of these methods offers different advantages in terms of convenience, anonymity, and security. Continue reading...

What Can You Buy with Bitcoin?

With every day that passes, bitcoin is becoming a more usable and accepted form of payment for a variety of goods and services, even those in the mainstream economy. To be sure, it’s arguably a long way off from being able to use bitcoin for small purchases at your local coffee shop or for big purchases like buying a house, but it is not unfathomable. The financial company Visa (ticker: V) has been working with bitcoin wallet services and various cryptocurrency exchanges to make cryptocurrency debit cards easy to acquire and use. These cards are known by names such as the Shift Card, Bitwala, BitPay, and others, partially depending on the region of the world in which they can be used. These cards allow users to transfer funds from Bitcoin wallets and immediately convert them into spendable fiat currency wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. Customers can also withdraw national currencies from Visa debit ATM machines based on bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange rates, which often fluctuate wildly. Continue reading...

How do Bitcoin Transactions Work?

Two words: blockchain technology. Transactions in bitcoin are encoded, packed into a block of other transactions, and all of these are sent out to thousands of computers running blockchain computations, known as hashes. All of these computers are running similar algorithms designed to force honest work and to take time for the computers to complete. The purpose of this step is merely forcing the blockchain to require time, energy, and effort, and to be randomized and decentralized when it is validating transactions. Whichever computer solves it first receives an incentive reward, and the entire blockchain, comprised of all computers running bitcoin client software, then updates the ledger to include the most recent validated transactions. Continue reading...

What is the Difference Between Litecoin and Bitcoin?

Litecoin is very similar to bitcoin, but there are some distinct differences.  Litecoin was designed with a blockchain protocol called Scrypt rather than SHA 256, which powers bitcoin. In Scrypt, blocks have solved an average of every 2.5 minutes rather than the 10 minutes that bitcoin requires. Let’s face it -- 10 minutes is a really long time in the digital world, and litecoin was created in an effort to get things moving a little faster. This means that each confirmation takes less work and energy for the network to confirm, which should translate into lower transaction costs. Continue reading...

What is a Bitcoin Fork?

The code for most cryptocurrencies is open-source, and the community operates by consensus, so sometimes newly modified code is released that is adopted by some, creating what’s called a fork. A Bitcoin Fork is when the blockchain, made up of interconnected computers holding a distributed and permanent record of all bitcoin transactions up to that point, is offered a modified currency protocol that is adopted by some of the Bitcoin community, which creates a “fork” in the previously longitudinal history of the ledger (i.e. “a fork in the road”), where one ledger continues to grow based on the changed protocol, and one ledger continues to grow with the old protocol still intact. Continue reading...

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is secured and maintained by a peer-to-peer network of millions of users online, making it a decentralized, fast, secure, cheap, and efficient as a digital currency. Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be acquired via traditional currency, trades, or work, and can be used for transactions in an ever-expanding network of users and merchants. It is legitimized and maintained by a peer-to-peer network of millions of users online, making it a decentralized, fast, secure, cheap, and efficient digital currency that exists independent of any centralized gatekeepers such as governments, regulated markets, or corporations. Continue reading...

Can My Employer Pay Me In Bitcoin?

The IRS has already paved the way for employers to pay wages using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and more services to facilitate this activity are being established. If your employer is willing to facilitate it, you can indeed receive your paycheck, or part of it, in bitcoins. Several financial services companies that deal in bitcoins exist that can help you accomplish this, and there will likely be more of them in the future. One such company, Bitwage, acts as an intermediary between your payroll service and Bitcoin exchanges, such as Coinbase, before sending the balance to your Bitcoin Wallet. The IRS has already established guidance on the subject. As an employer, you are free to pay employees in bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies” as long as you adhere to the same withholding and reporting requirements that would pertain to employee remunerations in US dollars, including FICA taxes and the rest of it. Continue reading...

Why Use Bitcoin?

Do you like security, speed, and low to zero transaction costs when conducting financial transactions? Bitcoin aims to offer all three. Security, speed, and low transaction costs are among bitcoin’s objectives. In a peer-to-peer network, there are no middle-men charging fees for clearing transactions, operating a call center, or maintaining the security of a database. Some types of fraud are much less likely than in traditional systems since the existence of a balance and the validity of transactions are constantly checked and updated by thousands of distributed, independent nodes in the network that do not close based on traditional banking hours. Transactions clear almost immediately instead of waiting on a large market or a Federal bank to balance its books. Continue reading...

How Do You Set Up a Bitcoin Miner?

Setting up a bitcoin miner can be as simple as downloading a mining client program, or as complicated as building a custom rig. Bitcoin mining used to be cheaper and easier to do than it is today, but it can still be relatively simple to execute. In the past, a computer with a CPU could crunch through enough hashes to solve a few blocks and turn a profit. Now, a good GPU, that is, a Graphics Processing Unit card connected to the motherboard of a computer, or a series of GPUs, is par for the course because they can perform many times as many hashes per second than a CPU can alone. This is the case even if the CPU has several cores, and it just has to do with the way that GPUs handle their work. Continue reading...

Is Bitcoin Legal?

Bitcoin remains a technology and a currency that primarily exists outside of the influence and control of governments and regulated markets. In most places, it is accepted for what it is. In some countries, it is explicitly banned. Bitcoin is technically illegal in a few parts of the world, but for the most part, it remains in the extra-legal realm, existing outside of the traditional legal system and the regulated markets. Bitcoin was created in large part to be difficult to understand and to pin down, to be part of the fringe and underground that could not be controlled by a central authority. It is open-source, so no one owns the rights to the code, and the community of programmers interested in shaping the future of cryptocurrency frequently attempts to make small upgrades and tweaks to blockchain technology in the interest of creating more efficient, more scalable blockchain cryptocurrency. Continue reading...

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

The pseudonymous inventor(s) of bitcoin and blockchain technology, Satoshi Nakamoto, likely walks among us today. Satoshi Nakamoto was the pen-name of the author(s) who anonymously gave the world the design and code for bitcoin and blockchain technology. Penning a white-paper entitled “Bitcoin: a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” the author(s) described the need for a decentralized digital currency and proposed blockchain technology as the way to validate digital transactions with a distributed ledger. Continue reading...

How Will Ethereum Scale?

With cryptocurrencies, there is always a question of how the blockchain will scale as technology changes and the currency grows in demand. Blockchains are meant to be immutable, meaning that once a change has been made to it, such as the data for a particular transaction, the record of the transaction cannot be changed or forgotten. This means that, for one thing, the distributed ledger that holds the record of all the transactions will inevitably get larger and larger, and any computer that wishes to be a node may have to download a potential cumbersome file with all that data. Continue reading...

Why do ICOs Matter to Ethereum and Bitcoin?

ICOs can help the market and developers test the waters for new concepts using blockchain technology. When a new idea succeeds or fails after using an ICO, it could be said that the company had made use of every advantage at its disposal and that it had the best chance at success in that environment as it could have had anywhere else. It could have done so more cheaply, and with less interference, than in the “real world,” generally speaking. Continue reading...

How does Bitcoin Mining Work?

Anyone with a computer connected to the internet can potentially be a bitcoin miner. Bitcoin’s blockchain technology requires that a large network of computers, running the same client software, be used to randomly succeed at validating blocks of encrypted transactions every 10 minutes or so. That’s where bitcoin mining comes in. Mining is the act of letting one’s computer run what’s known as the “hash function” over and over and over in an attempt to crack the codes on the blocks that need validation. The codes that need cracking are all similar and are only difficult enough to require an average of 10 minutes for a random mining computer to get the right answer. The code and the answers are only significant in that they take time to complete, and that they allow the transactions to be validated and added to the ledger of all bitcoin transactions. Continue reading...

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