As you can imagine I get asked a lot of questions about Bitcoin and Crypto so to save me from running out of breath I am creating a frequently asked questions page to cover the things I hear over and over again.
Any short questions and answers will be covered here and if something warrants a more in-depth explanation then I will expand on it by creating an article.
If you have a question that isn't covered on this page or anywhere else on the site then feel free to contact me and ask, if it's a good question I will likely add it to this list.
Q: What do I do if I can't afford a whole Bitcoin?
A: This is a common question and is a result of unit bias. You don't have to buy 1 Bitcoin, you can buy a fractional amount because it is divisible to 8 decimal places there are 100 million satoshis in one Bitcoin. So instead of having 100 cents to the dollar, and two decimal places, Bitcoin has 8 decimal places meaning you can buy much smaller amounts and don't need to worry about not being able to buy a whole bitcoin.
Q: Who Created Bitcoin?
A: A person or group of people operating under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. The whitepaper was published in 2008 and the blockchain began in January 2009. Satoshi announced he was leaving and handing over the keys in 2011. More on this on our start page.
Q: What is a cryptocurrency wallet?
A: A cryptocurrency wallet is a piece of software that allows you to store your public and private keys and allows you to interact with the blockchain enabling you to send and receive digital assets like Bitcoin. You can also use your wallet to keep track of your balance. If you want to buy and store any Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies then you will need a wallet. A common misconception is that the coins actually exist in the wallet, when in fact the ownership of coins is written on the public ledger and the wallet simply allows you to interface with the network.
Q: What are best Bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets?
A: This depends, do you want to store just Bitcoin or do you also intend on storing other altcoins? We wrote a guide on this over at Best Cryptocurrency Wallets.
Q: How do I open a Bitcoin account?
A: Bitcoin isn't like Paypal or a traditional bank, therefore, you don't open an actual account for Bitcoin. What you do is create a Bitcoin wallet address so you can "be your own bank". You will need some accounts though but these aren't Bitcoin accounts, they are accounts with third party vendors or exchanges that allow you to buy, sell and trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in most cases. If you are asking "How to open a Bitcoin account" I am going to hazard a guess you are new to space, welcome! I highly recommend you sign up for our Bitcoin email course for beginners by scrolling to the bottom of this page and signing up with your email address. (It's completely free!)
Q: I'm new to crypto, is there anywhere I can learn about Bitcoin Basics?
A: There sure is! Visit our start guide to get a good primer on cryptocurrencies and how Bitcoin works, we cover all of the basics in our free 6 part email course too.
Q: Do Bitcoin trading bots work?
A: They can! BUT and it's a big but! They are not a set it and forget it solution and involve work. These should be seen as assistive trading tools and not automatic bots. If somebody had a bot that could make free money on autopilot 247, would they show the world or sell it? I doubt it.
Q: How do you get Bitcoins? What is the Best way to get Bitcoins?
A: There are a lot of ways to acquire Bitcoin, most people buy it, in the early day's people used faucets, some people mine it if they have the resources and know-how and others work for crypto rather than traditional money. We have written various articles on this website that cover buying bitcoin and ways to earn bitcoin.
Q: Where is my Bitcoin wallet login?
A: This will depend greatly on which type of wallet you are using, the best bet is to consult the wallet documentation. Alternatively look on YouTube as watching a video is often the best way to learn. A real Bitcoin wallet doesn't have a login perse. You have a public key and a private key, the latter is sort of like your password but used for signing transactions rather than logging into anything. If you are using a web wallet or app provided by Coinbase or another provider then you may have a login to your account but that's still not your Bitcoin wallet login. If you would like more Bitcoin information then scroll to the footer and sign up for our free Bitcoin guide.
Q: Isn't Bitcoin only good for the dark web and nefarious activities?
A: No, this is one of the biggest misconceptions amongst those new to crypto and is a result of a media witchhunt several years ago after the rise of several darkweb marketplaces such as the Silk Road.
Q: How do I get a Bitcoin address?
A: There are many different ways to get a Bitcoin address. The most straightforward is to go to Blockchain Wallet and click on receive money, then click on new address, ensure you label the address so you know what it is used for, don't worry this is private by default.
Q: What is the trading symbol for Bitcoin? BTC or XBT?
A: There's a story behind it but you may see it listed as XBT and as BTC. Within the Bitcoin community, you will see BTC used however because BT is the country code for Bhutan XE decided to use XBT for Bitcoin as the X stands for international currency. So the non-crypto world will use XBT and on Bitcoin exchanges, you will see BTC used.
Q: How can I see Bitcoins trading history?
A: Head over to TradingView. This is one of the best charting sites to look at the history of Bitcoin on various exchanges.
Q: Is it too late to buy Bitcoin?
A: Ultimately it will never be too late to buy Bitcoin, however, the question of should you buy Bitcoin now depends on the current conditions and when is the best time to buy Bitcoin? Always yesterday, second best time is today but this is not financial advice and just my personal opinion.
Q: What are the best exchanges for buying altcoins?
A: It depends on which altcoins you are interested in, we have written a guide on which exchanges to try our guide - Best Crypto Exchange.
Q: What can you buy with Bitcoins? / Where can you spend Bitcoin?
A: There's an increasing number of places both online and offline that will accept Bitcoin for purchases and services. We are currently writing a guide on this and will add it here soon. One development is that you can not only spend Bitcoins but many vendors are also accepting various cryptocurrencies like Litecoin and others.
Q: Who are the Bitcoin developers?
A: Since Satoshi stepped away the keys were handed over initially to Gavin Andresen who was one of the earliest developers to assist Satoshi along with Hal Finney and others. Gavin worked with what is known as Bitcoin Core but eventually left or was made to leave the project under acrimonious circumstances. Since then Bitcoin has continued to be developed by the Bitcoin Core team which is an open source community of contributors and funded by Blockstream.
Q: Which Bitcoin should I buy? or Which Bitcoin is the real Bitcoin?
A: There is only ONE Bitcoin, and that's Bitcoin (BTC/XBT), there are forks of Bitcoin that have kept the name and added a word, examples are Bitcoin Cash (BCC/BCH) also known as BCash, and then there are several others that have forked since such as Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond and others that aren't worth mentioning.
Q: Is Bitcoin a bubble?
A: In my opinion no, if you ask most experts in the cryptocurrency space they will also say no, but we have a vested interest so why would you take our word for it?
Well here are a few things to consider.
Q: What is the difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin?
A: There are several similarities and many differences between these two cryptocurrencies, we have written a full guide you can see at What is Ethereum.
Current Market Cap - Bitcoin market cap is well under a trillion dollars, the dot com crash in 2000 in March of 2000 reached a combined valuation of 7 trillion USD and that was nearly two decades ago!
It then recovered and after whittling out the overvalued businesses went on to thrive and the market value of all dot-coms combined today would be a mind-blowing number compared to the mere 7 trillion valuation at the turn of the century. See the diagram below and if you want an up to date market cap for the combined cryptocurrency market go to coinmarketcap.com.
Scarcity - Also onsider that there can only ever be 21 million Bitcoins which is an extremely scarce number when you consider the number of USD in circulation around the world.
Early Days - Adoption is still very low with around 1-2% of people owning Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, that means the growth potential is still massive and you could compare the current state of cryptocurrency to the mid to late 90s for the development of the internet.
Of course as with anything that is highly speculative you should consult as many sources as possible to come up with your own opinion on whether Bitcoin is in a bubble or not.
Q: Is Bitcoin Safe?
A: Yes, Bitcoin is totally safe to buy and use provided you take precautions and follow the necessary security measures we outline in our guide. The main thing to consider with Bitcoin is that you are your own bank, and as such you don't have anyone to call if you make a mistake or you get hacked for some reason but provided you don't do anything silly you will be totally fine just remember to only buy from approved and verified sources like Coinbase if you aren't comfortable
Q: Is Bitcoin Legal?
A: This depends on what country you live in but for the vast majority of the worlds 195 countries Bitcoin is perfectly legal but often not considered an accepted form of legal tender (yet at least). Though Japan made bitcoin a legal currency in 2017 and are one of the countries leading the way in cryptocurrency legislation and regulation while embracing the new technology rather than stifling its progress with red tape.
Places like Nepal, Ecuador, Bolivia, Morocco and Kyrgyzstan have all made Bitcoin illegal and while Bitcoin itself is still legal in China, they have banned and unbanned trading of cryptocurrencies multiple times though this is still being mulled over by the government it seems.
Q: Is Bitcoin Mining worth it?
A: In our opinion unless you have large sums of money and the ability to run ASICs in countries with low ambient room temperatures and cheap electricity the answer to this question is no. The mining difficulty has become extremely difficult meaning only those with massive amounts of hash power can effectively mine Bitcoin and swallow the power costs in doing so. These people have become highly effective at mining and companies such as BitMain form part of a close polypoly on the space, one reason some proponents of Bitcoin argue for more decentralization.
Other cryptocurrencies may still be profitable to mine however mining difficulty quickly increases when people jump on a new coin and begin mining it, this means you often have to switch between the coins you are managing. Of course if you get lucky and mine a coin that is cheap today and eventually grows massively in value you can project those earnings, but since this is all speculative it's a big risk.
The most cost effective way to get more cryptocurrency or Bitcoin is to buy it.
Q: I need help getting setup with Bitcoin, can somebody help me?
A: There are lots of people in the space that can help you. If you have a friend or family member that can help then that's great, you should take them up on it and learn from their experience. If you don't know anybody that can help then check our Bitcoin Consulting service.
While I won't dispute the merits of these other coins as legitimate altcoins they certainly aren't Bitcoin and there's no reason why they would ever be worth as much as the original Bitcoin. If people tell you BCash is the real Bitcoin, stop them! with a shovel! :p
Q: I'm worried about security, how can I stay safe with Bitcoin?
A: It's completely understandable to be concerned about a new technology especially when there have been some horror stories of people not taking precautions and losing all of their crypto. Review our safety tips guide and follow the advice and you should be fine.
Do you have any questions for us? or think we are missing any commonly asked questions about Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain tech? Let us know by getting in touch.
Q: Everytime I want to buy altcoins, I first have to convert back to bitcoin and then buy the other one? That seems illogical to me, but I'm not finding an xlm/ven option for example...
Unfortunately, you can't trade altcoin to altcoin pairs on most exchanges and if you can it's only with the altcoin of the specific exchange you are using like the BNB token on Binance or the COB token on Cobinhood. This varies on exchanges but you won't find any altcoin to altcoin pairs.
Basically, these are called trading pairs and most markets have either BTC>Altcoin pairs or USDT>Altcoin pair.
On Binance there are also ETH>Altcoin pairs (So Ethereum as your market) or BNB>Altcoin pairs (Binance's own coin used for trading).
So usually most people keep a certain amount of their crypto portfolio back in BTC so they can always buy more altcoins, if all of your portfolio is already heavily invested in altcoins then yes you would need to sell positions so you had to get more Bitcoin.
Compare it to walking into a shop and trying to buy a Mars bar with a Snickers you brought from home. The real world market accepts government printed fiat.
Or think of stocks and shares, you don't buy Microsoft shares with Coca-Cola shares, you have to sell your shares for money first, which is US dollars, Pounds or Euros before you can buy more stocks or shares with the markets accepted currency.
The only difference in crypto is that Bitcoin is considered the main form of "digital money" but other marketplaces are adding new pairs for Ethereum, USDT and even Bitcoin Cash.
Q: How can I learn Solidity & Blockchain Development?
A: Fortunately now the industry has had a little time to mature there are a good number of high quality blockchain courses available from Udemy and other platforms where you can learn:
Solidity / ERC-20 Tokens & Smart Contracts on the Ethereum network
Check our Blockchain courses page to learn more and browse some of the best options available. So if you want to be a Blockchain developer and help build the future, what are you waiting for!
Q: ICO vs IPO - What is an ICO?
A: An 'Initial Coin Offering' is a new type of financial mechanism for crowdfunding using cryptocurrency and not to be confused with IPO which stands for 'Initial Public Offering'. You can read more about this on our ICO investing guide to learn the difference and more information about ICOs.
Q: Is Bittrex a wallet?
A: Not exactly. When you hold your coins on an exchange you are essentially using web wallets provided to you by the exchange, whether that exchange is Bittrex, Binance, Bitfinex or even Coinbase you are trusting these centralized organizations with custody of your private keys and as such your coins or tokens.
To have a full wallet you will need to look into the instructions for the specific coin but any proper Bitcoin or cryptocurrency wallet puts you in control of both your public AND private keys.
Q: How can I see accurate Bitcoin Historical Data?
A: If you are mostly looking at the price on an exchange where it's a USDT pair or doesn't go back far enough you want to check additional charts on CoinMarketCap, TradingView and BitcoinCharts.
Q: What are Privacy Coins?
A: Privacy coins, also known as anonymous cryptrocurrencies are pretty much self-explanatory in the fact they are cryptocurrencies with additional privacy features offering anonymous transactions instead of the pseudonymous transactions made available by the majority of crypto coins and tokens available.
Popular privacy coins include Monero, Dash, ZCash, PivX, and Verge though these popular features are often being adopted by new and existing cryptocurrencies.
Many of these currencies allow you to send both public and private transactions and their existence lies in the origins of cryptocurrency and cryptography in that the purpose was to decentralize the monetary system and avoid censorship.