BitcoinHelper was created to provide a free educational resource to new Cryptocurrency users. This site offers high-quality customer support, which can be accessed through the contact page. In addition, we update our site with new guides on the FAQs of Bitcoin, and other Cryptocurrencies weekly. Our hope is to provide users with all the tools they need to get started in this blossoming market.
An aspect of Cryptocurrency that is crucial to understand is that transactions are irreversible. Once funds have been sent, there is no way to retrieve them. In contrast, with fiat currency, which has the ability to cancel online transfers as the banks still have access to the funds. This, along with Bitcoin’s encryption and the fact that most users are still very new to the process, make people vulnerable to being scammed when getting started in Cryptocurrency.
If you’re buying Bitcoin as an investment, there’s very little risk of being scammed as long as you’re buying from a reputable source. However, if you’re buying BTC for the sole purpose of making an online purchase, the risk is much higher. If someone is offering a product in exchange for BTC, and won’t accept any other form of payment, avoid that seller. The most common scams are usually listings for car parts and concert tickets, with Craigslist and social media being common places to find said scams. How these exchanges usually go, is that once the funds have been sent, the seller cuts contact and there is no way to retrieve your money or track down the culprit. Thus, unless you are certain of the seller, it’s dangerous to make any type of purchase online.
In short, the privacy features of BTC and other Cryptocurrencies cause more risk for buyers, but as long as people are educated on how Cryptocurrency works that danger can be minimized.
During my two years as a customer service representative for BitcoinNW, many individuals, brand-new to cryptocurrency, reached out to me with questions about getting started. This page has a collection of these commonly-asked questions and my answers. If your question is not listed, or if you’d like for me to elaborate on an answer, please contact customer support.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin, or BTC, is a form of digital currency, otherwise known as Cryptocurrency. It is decentralized, produced and managed through its own unique peer-to-peer network rather than a central bank or government. Since a single administrator doesn’t dictate the price, the value of Bitcoin works in the same manner as stocks, with the price fluctuating in relation to the amount being bought and sold. For a more in-depth explanation, click here.
What is the Blockchain?
The Blockchain is the decentralized peer-to-peer network that Bitcoin and all other Cryptocurrencies run on. For a more in-depth explanation, click here.
Where do I buy Bitcoin?
The most common option for purchasing Cryptocurrency is through online marketplaces. Exchanges such as Coinbase allow users to make an account and buy directly through the interface using one’s credit card or bank account. The advantages to buying on these exchanges are that funds can be stored directly on the wallet provided by the exchange, and it’s convenient and easy for new users. However, online exchanges often involve a verification process requiring an ID or driver’s license. There is often a delay as well, between when you purchased and actually receive your BTC.
Another option is to buy BTC from Cryptocurrency ATMs. This usually doesn’t require a verification process for smaller purchases and can also be completed using cash. Another benefit is that they are much faster, and you can expect to receive your funds within an hour or two. The drawback is that, depending on your location, there might not be one located close by. In addition, most ATMs will require users to own a pre-existing wallet to store the purchased funds.
How do I store my Bitcoin?
- There are several options for Bitcoin storage: mobile/desktop wallets, exchanges, and cold storage. The most popular of these options are mobile and desktop wallets, as they are often free and easy for new users to set up. Wallets such as Mycelium, Jaxx, and the Breadwallet can be found and downloaded directly from your mobile device’s app store. These wallets have medium security and are perfect for newer users.
- Cold storage is better if you are looking to store your investments long-term, and require heavier security. The reason cold storage is safer than a mobile or desktop wallet is that it’s stored offline. No one can breach the wallet’s security by using malware or other hacking systems unless they have the physical wallet in their possession. Cold storage can come in the form of a hardware wallet, thumb drive, or paper wallet. The disadvantage of using this method is that it is much slower to move funds, and if the physical wallet gets lost or destroyed, there often isn’t a way to retrieve the lost funds. However, some wallets do provide a seed which when entered can restore a copy of the lost wallet.
- If you’re hoping to engage in frequent trading, the best option is to store funds directly on an exchange. Exchanges such as Coinbase, Poloniex, or Binance are perfect for those that want to sell, buy, or trade quickly. One thing to be aware of is that the security for exchanges is slightly worse than that of a mobile wallet.
For a more advanced guide on storage, click here.
What wallet should I get?
There are plenty of secure, easy-to-use wallets available, and many of these can be found for free on mobile and desktop devices. For mobile wallets, I would personally recommend downloading the app Mycelium. Mycelium was a commonly-used wallet among our customers at BitcoinNW, favored for its low fees and straightforward interface. If you do not have an Android or Apple, I would recommend the Exodus desktop wallet found here. Exodus is easy for new users and offers more security than your average wallet. However, if security is your main focus and you’re planning on holding investments for a long time, cold storage is a great option. More advanced than most wallets, cold storage wallets allow you to store your funds offline. I would recommend Trezor or the Ledger Nano s.
I was sent or I purchased BTC and it hasn’t shown up yet. Is it lost?
BTC is much faster to transfer than fiat currency. However, there can be significant wait-times depending on the speed of the Blockchain and the fee attached to your transaction. If BTC is purchased from an exchange like Coinbase, it’s not unusual for there to be a delay of a few days between purchase and receipt. This is due to the purchase being made using a credit card, which means it is still required to go through the banking system. If purchased funds haven’t haven’t shown up after a week, contact Coinbase customer support. If buying from an ATM or making a transfer from one wallet to another, transaction speeds are much faster. These transactions are usually completed within an hour.
To check on the progress of any transaction copy/paste your receive address from your BTC wallet into the Blockchain. The Blockchain acts as a public ledger and can display how many confirmations a transaction has, and how many it still needs. If a transaction isn’t displayed when an address is plugged in, nothing has yet been sent to that address.
I sent funds to the wrong account. Is there any way to retrieve it?
A common mistake that can result in lost funds is sending BTC to the wrong address. If you’re sending to another wallet, double check that the address you’re sending to is correct, as all transactions are irreversible.
This is an expanding list and will be updated frequently. If your question wasn’t listed please contact us here.