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Start Using Bitcoin

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Guiding Principles
Step Description Done
1. Get a Wallet  
2. Buy some bitcoin  
3. Why use bitcoin?  
4. What is bitcoin?  
5. Further Learning  
6. Better Backup  
7. Running a Node  
8. Joining In  
9. Bitcoin Privacy  
10. Bitcoin MicroPayments (Lightning)  
11. Technical Details  
12. Buying privately  

Step 1. Get a Wallet

Aim: Make and backup a bitcoin wallet

  1. Download Samourai Wallet for Android or Blockstream Green wallet for iOS.
  2. Make a new wallet and write down the words presented to you using pen and paper. These words act as a key to access your bitcoin.
  3. Make another copy of these words (again, using pen and paper) and put them both somewhere hidden/safe in your house.
  4. In the wallet, click receive and copy the address shown on screen, this can be done by clicking on the QR code.

Step 2. Buy some bitcoin

Aim: Get a small amount of bitcoin

USD (1.5% Fee)

  1. Check cashapp on Trustpilot
  2. Download Cashapp from the app store.
  3. Make an account & connect a Debit Card.
  4. Buy 25 USD of BTC.
  5. Find the Withdraw Bitcoin button, specify an amount and paste your first bitcoin address from Step 1. 5. Wait for the funds to appear in green wallet (< 24 hrs).

AUD (0% Fee)

  1. Check Bitaroo on Trustpilot
  2. Go to Bitaroo Express Buy.
  3. Sign up & deposit 25 AUD.
  4. Buy 25 AUD of BTC.
  5. Click ‘Withdraw’, paste your first bitcoin address from Step 1, click ‘max’ amount to withdraw, confirm.
  6. Wait for the funds to appear in green wallet (< 24 hrs).

CAD (BullBitcoin - 0.25% Fee)

  1. Check BullBitcoin on Trustpilot
  2. Go to Bull Bitcoin.
  3. Deposit 25 CAD & Buy 25 CAD worth of bitcoin
  4. Paste your first bitcoin address from Step 1
  5. Wait for the funds to appear in green wallet (< 24 hrs)

CHF (any SBB ticket machine - 6% Fee)

  1. Withdraw cash (CHF or EUR) & Locate an SBB ticket machine.
  2. Select “Prepaid” then “Top up Bitcoin”
  3. Scan the QR code on your Bitcoin wallet
  4. Enter your desired amount (any sum between CHF 100 and CHF 500)
  5. Confirm the offer received
  6. Enter your mobile number and the security code (mTAN) sent to your phone

Congrats you now officially hold some BTC. As long as you keep those 24 words safe nobody can steal the funds from the wallet you have created. Without these words (known as your seed words or your private key) nobody can access your bitcoin wallet.

Step 3. Why use bitcoin?

Aim: Learn why bitcoin is useful

  1. Read ‘Why Bitcoin’ by Wiz
  2. Read ‘The Bullish Case for Bitcoin’ by Vijay Boyapati
  3. Watch ‘Why Bitcoin Matters’ by Aleks Svetski

Step 4. What is bitcoin?

Aim: Learn what bitcoin is

  1. Read ‘What Is Bitcoin’ by Greg Walker
  2. Watch ‘Bitcoin - The Genesis’ by RT

Step 5. Further Learning

Aim: Further develop your understanding of bitcoin

  1. The Bitcoin Standard
  2. Intro to Bitcoin Austrian thought
  1. The Little Bitcoin Book
  2. Sovereignty through mathematics
  3. The Bitcoin Standard (Listen to the prologue)

Step 6. Better Backup

Aim: Improve your backup so you are ready in-case bitcoin goes up in price or you decide to buy more.

  1. Read the Seed FAQ
  2. Pick a setup (e.g. Two full backups, one on paper one on stamped metal)
  3. Implement your selected setup

Step 7. Running a Node

Aim: Understand how and why bitcoiners run their own full nodes.

Note: Running a node only benefits you if you use your node to send and receive transactions.

  1. Watch Benefits of a Full Node
  2. Evaluate below tables to determine which route seems most suitable given:
  Route A Route B Route C Route D
Cost Zero Zero Low High
Time Requirement Low High Mid/High Low
Setup Difficulty Low High Mid Low
Downtime High Low Low Low
Route Ideal User Positives Negatives
A Non-technical Beginner Free, Easy and Quick When your computer is off your node will not be running so when you do want to use it you will have to wait for it to sync.
B Technical Enthusiast Free Requires significant time to setup & is technologically difficult if you have not used linux before.
C Less Technical Enthusiast Reasonably low cost & quick Requires some time to setup though typically guides specify hardware making setup as simple as following instructions precisely.
D Anyone who can comfortably afford this option Quick and Easy High cost compared to alternatives
Route A: Bitcoin-Core on your day to day computer
Route B: Bitcoin-core on an available always-on computer
Route C: Build a standalone node
Route D: Buy a pre-built standalone node

Step 8. Joining In

Aim: Discover how to get involved in discussions about bitcoin.

  1. Attend a local meetup
  2. Subscribe to bitcoin op-tech
  3. Join Twitter and follow bitcoiners you come across.

Step 9. Bitcoin privacy

Aim: Understand how and why to use bitcoin in a private way

  1. Read how to Hodl Privately
  2. Read about What is bitcoin taint, Are Chain Analysis Heuristics reliable & Blacklisting, Distance & Proximity
  3. Learn more about CoinJoin

Step 10. Bitcoin MicroPayments

Aim: Understand what the lightning network is and how you can use it.

  1. Download a non-custodial bitcoin lightning wallet
  2. Transfer some bitcoin to it (a small amount)
  3. Send bitcoin over lightning
  4. Watch The Importance of Layer Two
  5. Read LNP/BP as compared to TCP/IP (extract from Q/A About Bitcoin).

Step 11. Technical Details

Aim: Better understand how bitcoin works & the terminology

  1. Watch But How does bitcoin actually work
  2. Watch How Bitcoin Works Under the Hood

Step 12. Buying Privately

Though the methods explained in Step 2 are simple and easy for buying your first bitcoin it is worth considering more private options for further buying.

Overview table
  Private Methods Semi-Private Methods Non-Private Methods
Method of Payment Cash Bank Transfer Debit Card
Interface In person Website Website
Email & Phone Not Required Required Required
Name & Address Not Required Not Required Required
Relative Privacy Great Fair Fair
Examples BISQ / Vouchers Bittr CashApp / Bull Bitcoin
  1. Download & Install BISQ
  2. Set local currency
  3. Look for local sellers (Select BUY BTC button on top ribbon )
  4. Buy from local seller (Select Create new offer to buy BTC with … )
  5. Withdraw bitcoin to bitcoin address from Step 1.

Note: As stated when installing BISQ, the user is responsible for using the software in compliance with local laws.

  1. Check whether there are any merchants near you who sell vouchers on Azteco or FastBitcoins
  2. If there aren’t any local voucher vendors check out the below options. If there are, buy the minimum voucher denomination and follow the voucher instructions to redeem the bitcoin to your own wallet.
  3. When prompted, paste your first bitcoin address from Step 1.