The best way to learn about bitcoin, is to jump in and get a few in your “pocket” to obtain a feel for how they work.

Despite the hype about how difficult and dangerous it might be, getting bitcoins is a lot easier and safer than you may think. In a lot of ways, it really is probably easier than opening an account at a normal bank. And, given what has been happening in the bank operating system, it really is probably safer too.

There are a few things to learn: getting and utilizing a software wallet, learning how exactly to receive and send money, learning how to buy bitcoin from a person or an exchange.

Preparation

Before getting started, you will have to get yourself a wallet. You can certainly do this easily enough by registering with one of many exchanges that will host wallet for you. And, although I think you are going to want to have a number of exchange wallets eventually, you should start with one all on your own computer both to get a better feel for bitcoin and as the exchanges remain experimental themselves. When we get to that stage of the discussion, I will be advising that you will get in the habit of moving your cash and coins off the exchanges or diversifying across exchanges to help keep your money safe.

What is a wallet?

It is a solution to store your bitcoins. Specifically, it really is software that has been designed to store bitcoin. It is usually run on your desktop computer, laptop, mobile device (except, as yet, Apple) and can also be produced to store bitcoins on things like thumb drives. If you are worried about being hacked, then that is a great option. Even the Winklevoss* twins, who’ve millions invested in bitcoin, put their investment on hard drives which they then placed into a safety deposit box.

*The Winklevoss twins are the ones who originally had the idea for a social networking site that became Facebook. They hired Mark Zuckerberg who took their idea as their own and became immensely rich.

What do you have to know about having a bitcoin wallet on your computer?

Below you can download the original bitcoin wallet, or client, in Windows or Mac format. These are not just wallets, but are in fact section of the bitcoin network. They’ll receive, store, and send your bitcoins. You can create one or more addresses with a click (an address is a number that appears like this: 1LyFcQatbg4BvT9gGTz6VdqqHKpPn5QBuk). Bitcoin Cash Reference will notice a field where you could copy and paste lots like this from a person you want to send money to and off it’ll go directly into that person’s wallet. You can even create a QR code which will let someone take a picture with an app on the phone and send you some bitcoin. It is perfectly safe to provide these out – the address and QR code are both for my donations page. Feel absolve to donate!

NOTE: This kind of wallet acts both as a wallet for you personally and as part of the bitcoin system. The reason bitcoin works is that each transaction is broadcast and recorded as a number over the entire system (meaning that every transaction is confirmed and made irreversible by the network itself). Any computer with the proper software can be part of that system, checking and supporting the network. This wallet serves as your personal wallet and also as a support for that system. Therefore, be aware that it will require up 8-9 gigabytes of one’s computer’s memory. After you install the wallet, it will take as much as each day for the wallet to sync with the network. This is normal, does not harm your personal computer, and makes the system all together more secure, so it’s a good idea.