Lesson

Sending and Receiving Bitcoin

Bitcoin is worthless without a way to send and receive it. If you bought Bitcoin from an exchange or institution, that place will provide a way for you to send Bitcoin to your wallet. The process is pretty similar regardless of whether the wallets are online or in hardware or in software. The steps are more or less as follows. First get the recipient address. This is usually represented either by a string of alphanumeric characters, which you’ll copy and paste, or as a QR code, which you capture with your device’s camera.

Then you enter all the details. Most important are the amount and the recipient address. You might also add notes to accompany the transaction. These will actually be written into the public block chain, so don’t include any secret data. If you’re using a wallet that doesn’t automatically calculate the transaction fee, you can figure out how much to include by doing a search for Bitcoin transaction fee calculator. Then you confirm all the information and hit send. The Bitcoin should show up in the recipient’s account within about 10 minutes, although it could be much longer if your transaction fee wasn’t high enough.

You can track your transaction’s process through the system.

Whatever wallet you use, here are a few things to keep in mind when sending or receiving Bitcoin. First, payments are completely irreversible.

Be absolutely sure you want to send the money before you hit send. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that small numbers like a thousandth of a Bitcoin mean small financial value, so confirm the amount in a familiar currency like dollars or Euros before sending, especially if you’re new to Bitcoin. Finally, allow enough time for the transaction to get confirmed. The Bitcoin network confirms a block about every 10 minutes. For extra security, wait for several blocks to be confirmed before considering it a done deal.