Chapter I – Bitcoin Clients
Since you’ve managed to obtain a general understanding about the structure of the most famous crypto-currency, the time to begin using it as online currency just arrived outside your door.
There are two types of wallets you can hold and do it simultaneously if you want so. The ones you can have installed in your computer as well as the online wallets in an interface similar to Paypal’s. The basic software to store and transact bitcoins is the Bitcoin-Qt which you can find in the official page of bitcoin right here and available for all the major operating systems. It ensures highest security but on the other hand it lacks in features and needs a lot of resources to operate, especially RAM. You also be required to wait and get synchronized with the network in order to use it (receive and send transactions). Another lighter solution is the MultiBit which is a very convenient client for the average Bitcoin user, however it is considered less secure than Bitcoin-Qt is. Armory is a middle solution for those who want to have both security and agility. For the Android, there is the solution of Bitcoin Wallet you can find on Google Play.
Having and operating a Bitcoin client in your computer requires from you to be precautious. First of all, do backups. In the early stages of bitcoins there are people who have bought bitcoins when their value was around a nickel. They deleted the wallet, they lost their bitcoins and at this time they feel “conned” by their own negligence. So be careful, do your backups and stay in the earning zone. We are talking about your money, money you may have stored in a bank account, with the variance that in this case you have the responsibility of keeping your money safe. And since we mentioned the word “safe”, you have the option to encrypt your wallet with a secret combination of characters. Best thing to remember the secret password? Write it down on a paper and don’t lose it. Once encrypted, you can only decrypt it with the password. There is no other way to recover so watch out.
Another way for having bitcoins is by registering and holding an account in an online client, dealing with an interface very familiar for those who have a paypal account and buy or sell from ebay or use it on other occasions. Our favorite one is the Coinbase with very easy to use layout. Many users wonder and this make them cautious over the currency for the fact they can use the currency on limited persistence. The mainstream online shops don’t offer an option to pay with bitcoins so what is the practical use of maintaining a bitcoin balance? First of all, Bitcoin became mainstream in the early 2013 and the list of online shops that are due to putting it as an option is being increased. Secondly, you can exchange bitcoins to US dollars, Euros or other fiat currencies either from your Coinbase or Trading Platforms such as the popular Mtgox and Campbx. Keep in mind that you need to link a bank account for doing it. Other payment options are included, depending on the client you are registered. Online wallets are less secure than having the bitcoins in your computer for the simple reason that an online popular entity is more vulnerable to hidden enemies. A grand example that supports our allegation is the hacking attack against InstaWallet. Hopefully, the users received a refund.
No matter what the type of wallet you use, a bitcoin address is written in the following format:
You must become accustomed with this format since it is the method to get paid or pay to, instead of dealing with an e-mail address as you may have been used to. You can generate numerous addresses with the same client which unquestionably belong to you whatsoever. Furthermore, you can categorize the addresses using a label for each one in order to be informed about the sending source when you receive money. Sending money is not a problem with any address.
After reading this article, you must have got a grip about how you can manage the bitcoin currency. In the next chapter you will get info about earning and shopping with bitcoins. Coming soon.