You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments. It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly deflationary. The halving countdown can be found here.
Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works. You can even run a node on a Raspberry Pi.
Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoins reside has the authority to move them.
Low fee scaling - On chain transaction fees depend on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate on chain fees automatically but you can view current fees here and mempool activity here. On chain fees may rise occasionally due to network demand, however instant micropayments that do not require confirmations are happening via the Lightning Network, a second layer scaling solution currently rolling out on the Bitcoin mainnet.
Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
Portable - Bitcoins are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can even be transported by simply memorizing a string of words for wallet recovery (while cool this method is generally not recommended due to potential for insecure key generation by inexperienced users. Hardware wallets are the preferred method for new users due to ease of use and additional security).
Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage. Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".
Securing your bitcoins
With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, then you will need to create your own wallet and keep it secure. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor, Ledger or ColdCard is recommended. Alternatively there are many software wallet options to choose from here depending on your use case.
If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Gemini but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email! 2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".
Where can I spend bitcoins?
Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out. If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.
Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.
The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
1,000 per bitcoin
used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
1,000,000 per bitcoin
colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
100,000,000 per bitcoin
smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki. Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval. Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
Once in Raspi-config there are a few steps. You'll need to 1) expand the file system, 2) enable SSH, 3) auto boot to desktop and 4) change the internationalisation options. I left the account as pi for mine since this will only be a local device with no outside access. However, most places recommend you change the account/password from default for security reasons.
OPTIONAL: I found for the monitor I used, I had to enable overscan in order for the image to fill the screen.
STRONGLY ENCOURAGED: It's probably best to set a static IP address for the Pi. You have two options to do this. You can either set a dhcp reservation on the router or modify the /etc/network/interfaces file on the Pi itself. In ther interfaces file, you'll need to modify the line that says:
iface eth0 inet dhcp
to something like the below (with the data filled out). A good set of instructions are here:
You will need a program called unclutter to remove the mouse cursor during the display
sudo apt-get install unclutter
At this point, you will want to disable the screen saver. Head to /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart and you'll want to comment out (add a #) to the line that says
and you'll want to add these lines to the bottom of the file
@xset s off @xset -dpms @xset s noblank @sed -i 's/"exited_cleanly": false/"exited_cleanly": true/' ~/.config/chromium-browseDefault/Preferences
OPTIONAL: I decided to have my Pi turn on/off the hdmi on a regular schedule (I don't need the dashboard during the night hours). Follow this guide to create the files. He has the path to where the files are to be saved at the top of each file. Modify the /etc/cron.d/raspi-monitor-scheduler to your preferences. I have mine turn on at 6am, off at 8:30am, on at 5pm, and off at 11pm during the weekdays.
Create a folder in your home pi directory for the html files for your dashboard.
sudo mkdir /home/pi/html/
Finally create a new desktop file to tell the Pi to automatically load Chromium upon boot:
IMPORTANT: I pointed Chromium to load a file that I called Dashboard.html. It's your call on what you want to name the file, but make sure you point it to the right one.
Step 2: Set up the HTML File to Display
This is entirely your choice to what you want to display (and how). I included a calendar, news widget, stock ticker, to do list, traffic, and weather. There are a lot of ways to do this, and I'd even encourage borrowing from the magic mirror project. But, I'll provide links for my approach.
I built it as a main page (Dashboard.html) with the page elements being pulled through via iframes. I found it easier to align and space things this way since I was combining so many different elements.
I only added a few elements in the html heading to add a background image (vs. white) and to have the webpage "auto-refresh". Since I am only interacting via ssh, it was easier than writing a script to hit f5 or leaving the page completely static.
My Folder structure looks like
Background.png - I used this as my background. I just searched for something that I liked that is 1920 x 1080.
News - I used Feed Grabbr for my news feed. Their service is free if you have 1 widget with <3 RSS feeds. My minor gripes is that they only refresh every 9h for the free service (which, frankly, is totally fair) and its only one format unless you pay (again, totally fair).
Map - I used Google Maps to show a local map with traffic. The most difficult process here is that you need to create an API key to pull the data. As long as you have 25k requests/day or less, the service is free.
Stocks - I used Trading View for coming up with a stock widget. I used a single tab with a few stocks that I follow (+ the VIX, S&P 500, and the 10yr Treasury). It seems to have a fairly comprehensive reach of data (from FRED, to bitcoin, to futures/forex). I personally ignored the chart since I won't be interacting with the board.
To Do - I used FeedWind to come up with a short RSS widget that pulls in my to do list from Remember the Milk. I decided on this one since it was free and fairly customizable.
Weather - I decided to use Forecast.io for a weather widget.
Calendar - I used this link for a google calendar embed. Personally, I took off everything but the time zone in the headings. I really don't like the "baby blue" and am looking at replacing this one next.
To wrap it up, my html code looks like the below. I fiddled with the sizing, but I'm sure someone can come up with a more elegant solution.
top section bottom section - -
FINAL Comments. This project probably took me 1h to set up the pi. And 4ish hours stumbling around to get the dashboard set up. My only real outlay was a monitor mount and a new monitor. Best of luck! EDIT Here is the link for the current version of the dashboard. I removed the traffic for the weekend, but this is the dashboard. I have some formatting I really want to do (headings et al), but this should be a decent start. I have also included the color scheme I used.
[HOWTO] Turn your RaspberryPi into a standalone Bitcoin chart monitor
With this method you will be able to display BitcoinWisdom data or even your custom Tradingview chart into a auto-bootable fullscreen minimalist linux device. The chart stored in the Tradingview can be easily customized from any computer on-the-fly without needing to change anything on Pi. This project consists in configure Raspi to load a fullscreen Chromium instance using the least possible resources. Of course, you can use this same method to standalone display any service you want.
Turn your RaspberryPi into a standalone Bitcoin chart monitor
With this method you will be able to display BitcoinWisdom data or even your custom Tradingview chart into a auto-bootable fullscreen minimalist linux device. The chart stored in the Tradingview can be easily customized from any computer on-the-fly without needing to change anything on Pi. This project consists in configure Raspi to load a fullscreen Chromium instance using the least possible resources. Of course, you can use this same method to standalone display any service you want. ** Howto, SDCard image and Video preview here: http://dann.com.b2014/bitcoin-turn-your-raspberry-pi-into-a-powerful-standalone-bitcoin-chart-monito Test and give me feedback please. **Edit: finished SD img upload.
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