Step 1 ---> Get a Bitcoin wallet
There are many Bitcoin wallets to choose from with various levels of security, convenience and complexity.
A great path would be (1) a mobile wallet like Airbitz (iPhone, Android), Breadwallet (iPhone) or Andreas Bitcoin Wallet (Android), (2) acquire bitcoins from a friend, as payment for a good or service or buy bitcoins from Circle and then (3) if you decide to store large amounts of bitcoins and want to know they are absolutely safe then use Armory.
Mobile Phone Bitcoin WalletsThere are iPhone and Android apps available. Two popular choices are:
Bitcoin Software WalletsSoftware wallets are downloaded and run from your computer. They are considered more secure because the user has more control and does not depend on a 3rd party service. Most software wallets require nearly a full day or longer constructing a local copy of the blockchain before use.
- BitcoinQT - The original Satoshi wallet from bitcoin.org
- Armory - (Highly Recommended) Armory is the most mature, secure and full featured Bitcoin wallet but it can be technologically intimidating for users. Whether you are an individual storing $1,000 or institution storing $1,000,000,000 this is the most secure option available. Users are in complete control of the generation and storage of all Bitcoin private keys.
Bitcoin Web WalletsWeb wallets are the easiest and most convenient to use but are potentially less secure than wallet software run on your own computer.
Bitcoin Hardware WalletsHardware wallets are the most secure because they don't expose your private keys to the network.
Step 2 ---> Get Bitcoins
Buy BitcoinsWith the Bitcoin price so volatile many people seem curious about getting some. Buying bitcoins is getting simpler every day. Here are our recommendations:
- Local Bitcoins - This fantastic service allows you to search for people in your community willing to sell bitcoins to you directly. But be careful!
- Circle - An easy to use bitcoin broker to link with your bank account
- Kraken - The largest European exchange with same-day SEPA
Earn BitcoinsMany people find that the best way to get bitcoins is to accept them as payment for the products or services they already sell. Just give your customers the option to pay in bitcoin.
To make it easy, you may want to sign up for a bitcoin merchant account which allows you to send invoices and integrate bitcoin payments into your online order pages for most of the popular shopping cart systems.
- WeUseCoins Bitcoin Faucet - Get free bitcoins that are provided by sponsors
- BitPay - (Highly Recommended) - Merchant tools and account services
- Jobs 4 Bitcoin - Subreddit where you can find jobs
- Coinkite - Merchant Terminal / POS system
Mining BitcoinsMining bitcoins requires an investment in specialized bitcoin mining hardware designed to process double round sha256 hash verifications at high speed. Many excellent systems are available.
It's important to point out that bitcoin mining is highly competitive and risky for would be participants. Please see our bitcoin mining page for more detail.
Step 3 ---> What can I do with my bitcoins?
Bitcoins can be used to purchase just about anything you want. Dental services, a brand new car, travel and even luxury real estate.
We recommend searching the merchant directories below to locate the merchants you're interested in. You can buy gift cards with bitcoin and spend them in most of the stores you already use.
Bitcoin Merchant Directories
- Airbitz - Find bitcoin friendly merchants near you and online
- Coinmap - Find bitcoin friendly merchants near you
- Purse.io - Get discounts greater than 20% on Amazon.com
Gift CardsAvailable from Gyft and spendable at:
- We Use Coins - Donations greatly appreciated: 1CXiG6hZmMWUsr6sgF3Tx5nfKj1FN8dU1c
- BitGive - BitGive is a non-profit foundation that is accepting donations from the Bitcoin community and providing charitable gifts to environmental and public health causes worldwide.
Step 4 ---> Keeping up to date with Bitcoin news
Here are some good places to keep up with bitcoin news and discussion: