First-time buyers guide
This is a guide on how to make your first purchase with Bitcoin without any prior knowledge of the subject.
This guide does not go into detail explaining what Bitcoin is or isn't. Most information not necessary for making a purchase are avoided. Similarly, more complicated ways of getting bitcoins are also avoided in order not to confuse further.
Step one - What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a new form of internet currency. It allows for person-to-person payments that don't go through a third party. If you want to find out more, read on, or check this page out.
Step two - get yourself an Address
What are Addresses?
Bitcoin payments operate like bank transfers. Each person has their own "account", called a Bitcoin Address. An address looks like this:
A person can have as many Addresses as they wish and store them together in an electronic Wallet. So lets get you your first Address!
You can get an Address in a very easy way by registering for a Wallet at one of the following sites:
- https://blockchain.info/wallet/new - input a password and a captcha, follow the given URL (note - save it! If you lose it, you lose your funds) and you will find your Address in big letters on the left middle side of the site.
- https://easywallet.org - just go there and you will be redirected to your new wallet. Save the URL, if you lose it, you will lose your funds
- https://www.zenwallet.org - just go there and you will be redirected to your new wallet. Save the URL, if you lose it, you will lose your funds
- https://www.instawallet.org - just go there and you will be redirected to your new wallet. Save the URL, if you lose it, you will lose your funds
I have the Address, what do I need it for?
Well, an Address is like a bank account - before you can spend any money, you need to put some money in. You can use your Address to store more funds than you need for just one purchase, so you won't have to do the following steps each time you want to buy something.
Step three - geting some bitcoins
As Bitcoin is a form of currency, it costs money. The easiest ways to get bitcoins are:
- https://www.bitinstant.com/ - Go onto the website. Under "Pay to" select "Bitcoin Address", under "Pay from", select your convenient method of purchase. In the table below be sure to input your Bitcoin Address, amount of money you want to convert and so forth. Proceed along with instructions.
- https://blockchain.info/wallet/ - If you have created an eWallet on this site, you can get some bitcoins instantly either through PingIt Deposit or Phone Deposit. It's as easy as putting your phone number in to the site and sending a more expensive SMS.
Step four - make a payment
I assume you have funds on your Address now. Good!
Find out the payment details
Find out what Address you need to pay your money TO and HOW MUCH you need to pay. It might be as easy as sending 1 bitcoin to 1MauqJEVKx7mohEXXaHXnn96RFvLEGnVjV, or a bit more complicated, as sending 123.12345678 bitcoins to 1MauqJEVKx7mohEXXaHXnn96RFvLEGnVjV. As you most likely will be doing this on your computer, just copy and paste everything.
Send the money
Go to the website you used to get your Address from. Find the location where you can input your recipient's Address and amount and send the payment. It shouldn't be fairly straightforward.
Step five - the next level
You have gotten your feet wet with Bitcoin, but do you want to find out how deep the rabbit hole goes? This part of the guide is for people that want to advance their knowledge a step further than just a casual use.
Get a client
eWallets are good if you are on the go or dealing with pocket change. If you want to control your own security and be independant, you will need a Client. A Client is an application that manages your Wallet independently from third party software on your computer. With it, you become your own bank.
There are many Clients out there. The one developed by the core team is the Standard Client, also known as Bitcoin-QT. You can download it from here. After you start it, it will synchronise itself with the Bitcoin Network. It might be a long process and take up a couple gigabytes of your hard drive space, but this is the way to ensure nobody is trying to cheat.
Once that is done, the Client will control your Wallet file. Be sure to protect it with a password and back it up regularly. It is stored in a file called "wallet.dat" in your Bitcoin data directory. If you lose it or it gets stolen, you lose your money.
Get onto an exchange
There are many ways to buy bitcoins. Traditionally, the most popular method of obtaining bitcoins is through an . Pick any one that is trading in your local currency, register and trade. If you have doubts as which one you should use, your best bet would be MtGox. It has been around for awhile, supports a lot of currencies and is generally trusted.
Buy bitcoins locally
There is a number of people wanting to trade bitcoins locally. You can get in contact with them through the Local Bitcoins website.
Mining used to be a viable way of earning Bitcoins by just running an application on your computer. Right now you probably won't earn much, unless you are willing to put in a lot of money up front. As Mining is still one of the core reasons why Bitcoin is secure, this section is present here.
Last steps on your way
There are many more aspects to discover about Bitcoin, too many to cover in this guide. If you have completed each step in this guide, you are already capable of using Bitcoin in most situations. To learn more, read this Wiki, ask questions on the StackExchange, go onto the forums, or read a comprehensive master thesis on Bitcoin by ThePiachu. You now know everything you need to free your money from banks and fiat currencies.
- WhereToBuyCryptocoins.com. Shows exchanges, markets, faucets, sites to spend cryptocoins and more.
- Buy Bitcoin Worldwide - Get help finding a Bitcoin exchange.