I Bitcoin (BTC) are digital currencies, or rather a cryptocurrency, and just like euros or dollars they can be used for the purchase and sale of goods and services. You have surely heard about it on the Net, in the newspapers or on TV. But what sets them apart from traditional currencies? Everything, I would say. First of all, Bitcoins do not have a central bank or an institution that acts as an intermediary between the people who exchange them: it is all based on an open source peer-to-peer network that uses a database distributed among the nodes, i.e. between the computers of the users.
This database contains all the transactions that took place on the Bitcoin network and can be freely consulted by anyone, which means that even if you can participate in the creation of digital coins without providing your personal details, all the movements you make are public and easily traceable. Bitcoins are legal all over the world and the regularity of transactions is guaranteed by a public key cryptography system that prevents users from spending the same coins more than once or "rigging" their wallet by inserting Bitcoins of which they are not they are legitimately owners.
Their value fluctuates based on many factors and can be constantly monitored thanks to special services that show the current valuation of BTCs on all the main trading markets of the Network. Furthermore, their number is not infinite: a maximum number of 21 million and every four years the amount of coins created is halved under a deflationary rule.
At this point you are surely wondering how to earn Bitcoin, and I'm here today to try to clarify your ideas a little bit. So let's see what are the basic concepts of this new economy and if investing in it is really as convenient as it seems.
Bitcoin Coin Purse
Before starting to earn Bitcoins you must create your digital wallet, that is the file in which the coins will be saved (technically called wallet). It is not a complicated operation: all you have to do is choose a client, that is a program, among those available on the Internet and follow the instructions contained in it to open your Bitcoin wallet.
Among the most common clients is Bitcoin Core which is a multi-platform program compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux through which to manage the purse, make and receive payments in BTC. Its operation is quite simple. After you download and install it (just launch the package .exe and always click on forward or, if you are using a Mac, drag the software icon into the folder Applications) you have to launch it and choose the folder in which to save your wallet.
Once the operation is completed, immediately secure the wallet by activating its encryption (menu Settings> Coin purse encryption) and from time to time don't forget to make backup copies by calling up the voice Coin purse backup available in the application menu. Remember, your digital wallet is as if it were your real wallet: if you lose it, you also lose the money inside it!
Another important precaution regarding the use of Bitcoin Core is to wait for the software to fully synchronize with the Bitcoin network. This means that it must be downloaded to the PC blockchain on which the system is based. What is it about? I'll explain it to you right away.
The blockchain is the database in which all Bitcoin transactions are recorded and, as the name suggests, is structured in blocks. These blocks are unique (i.e. one different from the other) and contain a fixed number of coins plus the public keys of the person making the transactions (i.e. their public addresses) and the data of the previous block. The number of Bitcoins created per block was initially 50 but this number has been programmed to decrease over time, more precisely it halves every four years. On the Bitcoin Clock site you can check the estimated date for the next block value change.
To find out what the address of your purse is, go to the menu File> Receiving addresses of Bitcoin Core. If you want to create your own (which always refer to the same wallet), click on the button New.
The Bitcoin Core program can be downloaded for free from the Bitcoin.org website, on which many other clients are also available for all major operating systems (including Android and iOS). To find out the main features of each software click on its icon. To download it, however, first click on its icon and then on the button to access the relevant download website or the relevant section of the digital stores for smartphones and tablets.
Il mining is the operation through which it is possible to obtain Bitcoins: technically it involves attacking the data protected with encryption based on the SHA-256 algorithm using the brute force technique, in practical terms we can say that it is like trying to open a safe trying several billion possible combinations.
It goes without saying that such an operation requires a lot of computing power, and this is precisely the main problem of Bitcoin miners. Everyone, in theory, can "mine" and go in search of coins with their computer but it is an almost suicidal mission.
Mining involves the use of the computing power of the CPU and, above all, of the GPU (ie the processor that equips the graphics card of the computer) and doing it on a normal computer not only jeopardizes the "health" of the machine but requires a energy consumption so high that it would make any Bitcoin collection null and void, indeed expensive. Here alternative solutions come into play.
Some companies, for example, have placed computers on the market to earn Bitcoin while consuming less energy than traditional PCs: the ASIC Bitcoin Miner. While this may sound tempting, it is good to keep in mind that many of these specific computers are characterized by poor build quality and reduce their performance in a short time. In any case, for what concerns the purchase you can turn to all the most common online platforms for electronic commerce, such as eBay.
Among the most effective solutions to earn Bitcoins without melting your computer and without spending a fortune on electricity is the mining pool. By taking advantage of distributed computing technology, this system allows multiple users around the world to join forces - the computing powers of their computers - to mine. Upon successful operation, the value of the mined block is divided among all participants.
There are many mining pool systems, one of the most famous is Slushpool, and to exploit them you need to use special clients, such as BFGMiner which takes advantage of the computing power of the GPU and is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac (if you are a macOS / OS X user download it from here).
Another method to collect Bitcoin effectively is to rely on ASIC (acronym for Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) in USB format that cost from € 50,00 upwards and can help in mining from traditional computers. In fact, these are integrated circuits designed to solve very precise calculations quickly and effectively.
They have significantly reduced energy consumption and can be found on online stores. Their appearance resembles that of common pendrives used for data storage.
There are also online services that allow you to get Bitcoins without lifting almost a finger. I refer to affiliate systems like QoinPro which reward users who subscribe to them by paying a small amount of Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies) into their wallets every day. This sum increases significantly if the user subscribes other people to the service through a specific referral link.
Clearly, no one prohibits the direct purchase of Bitcoin through dedicated services, as in the case of Bitstamp (which among other things also shows the current value of Bitcoins) which allows you to open an account and easily fill it with digital coins bought by other users of the site. More precisely, to buy Bitcoin on Bitstamp, you must connect to the main Web page of the service, click on the item Open account located at the top right, fill in the form that is proposed to you by entering your data and, to conclude, click on the button Sign Up.
Then you must access the e-mail address relating to the email address you provided during registration, you must open the e-mail that was automatically sent to you by Bitstamp and you must take note of the data that you find in correspondence with the items Client ID: e Password:. Once done, go back to the Bitstamp website, click on the item Login present at the top right, enter the data previously noted in the form displayed on the screen and click on the button Login to immediately connect to your account.
Follow now the automatic password change procedure that is proposed to you and click on the item Buy / Sell at the top then presses on the link Verify your account. Finally, provide and send all the data and documents requested relating to your person (the verification of all data may take up to a couple of days ... try to be patient!).
After this initial phase, you can start buying your first Bitcoins by clicking again on Buy / Sell and then on Buy Bitcoins. Therefore enter how much money you want to convert into Bitcoin and finalize the procedure by clicking on Buy Bitcoins
As you can see, getting Bitcoins is not a mission impossible. Indeed, let's say it's easy. However, it is quite another matter to transform digital money revenues into real gain. You need to know how to organize yourself optimally and invest a considerable amount of time and money in mining.
For further information, I suggest you take a look at the section dedicated to how to get started on the Bitcoin.org website which includes a guide to take the first steps in the world of Bitcoin with many useful links and tips.