Bitcoin spurs a lot of questions and we totally understand why. Bitcoin is new and different from what we are used to.

You may have researched the internet for information but were met with outlandish price predictions, alternate coins and news articles proclaiming Bitcoin is dead. You see the price changing quickly. Add this all together and it was enough to throw in the towel before getting started.  You are interested, you keep hearing about Bitcoin but the learning curve keeps you at bay. Does this sound like you?

It doesn’t have to be that way. We promise. Bitcoin can actually be really simple. The best thing you can do is start with the basics and learn step-by-step.

So follow along and learn the basics of Bitcoin with CoinTap!

What is Bitcoin?

The most important thing to know is this; Bitcoin is a reinvention of money.

This can be a real “aha” moment when you being to understand how smart this innovation is. Throughout your life, I bet you have rarely pondered deeply about money or how it works. I for one, didn’t never thought about money needing to change.

The thesis from the Bitcoin white-paper states that it is: “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

What makes it unique?

Bitcoin is an open network that allows money to be transferred between people without the need for a business or government to act as a middle person. Bitcoin is a completely digital monetary system that is designed to work on the internet. Think of it as online cash.

Bitcoin can be used 24/7 and from anywhere on earth. There are no bank hours or holds on your money. Just like sending an email to a friends email address, Bitcoin can be sent to a receiving wallet address without time, geographic, political, economic or any other feasible restrictions.

No single entity controls Bitcoin. It is community driven, open-source, public and encouraged for any person to use. The minimum requirements to fully use Bitcoin is some type of computing power (mobile phone, computer etc.) and an internet connection. However, there are methods to utilize Bitcoin with only a piece of paper.

Why use Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has many unique properties that make it useful to different people. Such as;

  • No bank or business required to facilitate transactions
  • Low transaction costs
  • Low barrier to entry
  • Near instant settlement
  • Transactions cannot be reversed
  • Simple tool for remittance
  • Transactions cannot be blocked or intercepted
  • Highly secure, robust network that can verify the authenticity of transactions
  • Known supply of 21 million total coins and a predictable inflation rate
  • Lower volatility and better store of value than most government currencies (fiat)

Is Bitcoin safe?

Yes, Bitcoin is very safe. The Bitcoin network has been online with 99.9859% uptime since 2009 and has never been hacked.

You must be careful when handling Bitcoin. There are no users protections such as insurance policies, refunds or a customer support team to call.

You are your own bank when using Bitcoin. This level of liberation comes with a high degree of personal responsibility.

How can I use Bitcoin?

A Bitcoin wallet is required to store, send and receive coins. There are plenty of options available but choosing the correct one for your use case is important.

Please see our list of recommended wallets to make an informed decision for yourself.

Is Bitcoin legal?

Yes, it is legal to use. A few countries have attempted to ban it (China and India are the most notable) with minimal success. The only way governments can implement forms of regulation are through Bitcoin business that transact between government currency (fiat) and Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin Private?

No, it is not private or even anonymous. Bitcoin is what is known as pseudonymous. it offers a reasonable amount of obscurity for making payments, much like cash. However the key difference is that every transaction is viewable on the Bitcoin “Blockchain”. On face value, no transaction has personal information. All that is seen is wallet addresses and coin balances. It is important to know these records will last forever and are publicly viewable. Many tools are available to extract more information about transaction history and information. There are numerous cases of individuals being traced through their transaction history after performing illicit actions. Unless you have the practice and technical abilities, do not treat Bitcoin as a private tool or network. 

Do I have to buy a whole Bitcoin? Its so expensive!

Nope! You can buy any amount of Bitcoin you want. Each “full” Bitcoin (1.00000000) divides down into 100,000,000 parts or the eight decimal places 0.00000001. The smallest amount of Bitcoin is known as a “Satoshi” or “Sats”, named after the inventor of Bitcoin.

At the time of writing (January 2, 2021), $1 Canadian will purchase you 0.00002474 BTC or 2,474 Sats. 

These conversions are used to make it easier to use bitcoin without referring to another currency. Currently Bitcoin’s purchasing power is typically compared to the United States Dollars or your local currency. If or when Bitcoin is the standards measure of currency, referring to prices in Satoshis is much easier than a fraction of a full Bitcoin.

How many Bitcoin are there?

Only 21 million Bitcoin will ever exist. 18.5 million have been released so far, which is 88% of the total supply. The final Bitcoin is estimated to be released in the year 2140.

  • The total supply of Bitcoin, amount of new Bitcoin being released every year, transaction wait times,  mining fees and more are all viewable online.
  • See www.blockchain.info or www.bitbo.io to see for yourself!

What do I need to pay to use Bitcoin?

Using Bitcoin is free! There are tons of great free wallets available for mobile and desktop that you can get started with right away. The only true cost of sending bitcoin is the “mining fees” which are essentially just transaction fees. These are small and can be set to a custom amount depending on how quickly you would like your transactions to process.

Using Bitcoin services however, is not fee. Exchanges, ATMs and OTC desks all take spreads and fees so make sure you understand the costs for using each service.

How does Bitcoin work?

There are many factors, actors and variables that make Bitcoin work. The network was created and slowly tested extremely intelligently, which is one of the major reasons why it is so successful and will continue to be used. We won’t go into detail about how each piece of Bitcoin works. Instead please check out some further resources below to learn more about all the different pieces of Bitcoin. 

Or take a few minutes for this simple explanation of Bitcoin by the Guardian

Where can I find more information about Bitcoin?

If you’d like more information about Bitcoin, we always recommend start out on the official Bitcoin website at www.bitcoin.org.

  • They have a great frequently asked question section, recommended wallets and lots of information ranging from introductory to advanced.

Other great Bitcoin resources:

This all sounds great – where do I get some Bitcoin? 

  • Right here! CoinTap is a great place to get your first Bitcoin
  • Press Buy Bitcoin” to begin, read our information section or contact us for more information