What is Bitcoin and how to ship with Bitcoin
All around the world, people use the the Hong Kong Dollar, the Chinese Renminbi, or the US Dollar to make their purchases. These currencies exist in both physical form and digital form. You can spend paper money physically or send it digitally. The currencies are controlled by the central authorities, who can choose to create inflation or deflation by either printing money or withholding supply at any time.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a new type of currency. It exists only in digital form and does not have a physical location. Bitcoin lives on the internet. It is controlled and powered by everyone, which means that no one in particular has control of it. Bitcoin is border-less; you can send money to anyone from anywhere. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet. If you would like to start using Bitcoin, be sure to educate yourself on how to keep your wallet secure and check out the official Bitcoin website (click here) for a getting started guide.
Where are my Bitcoins stored?
The Bitcoin network itself is decentralized, meaning that your bitcoins are essentially “in the cloud”. When you open up a wallet, you get a set of keys- there is a public key and a private key. The public key is your address and is safe to give away to anyone that you expect to receive coins from. The private key is your password to withdraw money and must be kept safe and secure at all times.
How do I get started with Bitcoin?
First, you need to download a wallet application. There are several to choose from, however we recommend Electrum. The most important thing to remember when choosing a wallet application is that if you lose your wallet file or the laptop on which it was saved, your Bitcoins will be lost forever (just like if you lose cash). Once you have a wallet application, it will create a public key and private key for you. That information will be used for all future transactions. Keep in mind that the public and private key is a separate thing from the password used to actually open the wallet program.
My wallet is empty. How do I actually get the coins?
You can buy bitcoins using any of the fiat currencies such as the Chinese Yuan (CNY ¥), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD $), U.S Dollar (USD $), and many others. All you have to do is go to a currency exchange. A few popular exchanges include Coinbase and Kraken. When you open an account with these places, keep in mind that there is usually some kind of verification process. It may take several days to verify your payment to make sure it doesn’t bounce.
How do I send and receive Bitcoin?
Once you have your public key/private key, you can send and receive Bitcoin.
To receive coins, simply give your public key to the person or service that is sending you the coins. Never give your private key.
To send coins, you will need your private key and an address (or public key) to send them to.
How long does a Bitcoin transaction take?
Bitcoin transactions are not instant, however they are pretty fast. When a transaction gets broadcast into the network, other computers on the network will begin to verify that there were enough funds to send the transaction. Once verification is complete, a confirmation gets saved into the blockchain network. A typical confirmation takes around 5-10 minutes. A transaction is generally considered safe and practically irreversible after it receives 6 confirmations.
How do I keep my coins secure from hackers?
Protect your private key at all costs. Do not keep it online. Do not lose it. If you lose your computer, you will lose your wallet as well. Make sure you have a back-up copy if it stored in a safe or safety deposit box. Make sure you test your back-up copy to make sure it works. If someone can guess or get access to your key they will be able to take money out of your wallet. We do not recommend keeping any Bitcoins on an online website or exchange. Those websites can get compromised and hacked and you risk losing your coins if that happens. This is why downloading a wallet application and keeping the wallet address and key saved locally on your computer is the most secure way.