Visit www.reddit.com/r/bitcoin and check out their newbie friendly guides. Ignore most of the posts. It’s a lot of people arguing about irrelevant issues to actually using bitcoin on a day to day basis.
Pick a wallet
You have to store your bitcoins somewhere independent of third parties who can freeze or take your funds but you also have to concern yourself with security.
We recommend Bitcoin Core. It is a full Bitcoin client and builds the backbone of the network. It offers high levels of security, privacy, and stability. However, it has fewer features and it takes a lot of space and memory.
- Control over your money
- Full validation
- Complete transparency
- Improved privacy
An alternative that’s a bit more secure is a hardware solution like Trezor because computers and phones can be compromised at the manufacturer level ( thanks NSA ). Trezor is a hardware wallet providing a high level of security without sacrificing convenience. Unlike cold storage, Trezor is able to sign transactions while connected to an online device. That means spending bitcoins is secure even when using a compromised computer.
Pick an exchange
Coinbase.com is the easiest to buy from in the United States but also most notorious for cooperating with the IRS. They aren’t stealing your bitcoins but your identity is compromised with them.
There are exchanges across the world but if you want to keep operational security a priority then you really need to use Local Bitcoins and use cash or some form of prepaid gift card that a vendor will accept. It’s super easy. It’s an escrow based system for extra security. You don’t have to compromise your identity in many transactions. Some vendors require it, but just know there are plenty of other vendors who don’t need it. Depending on where you live, there are ATM machines for buying bitcoin as well. The main downside to them is how most of them offer high exchange rates to pay for their upkeep and make a profit. The benefit is it’s really easy, cash based, and no middleman to compromise your identity.
Things to know
Bitcoin works with an unprecedented level of transparency that most people are not used to dealing with. All Bitcoin transactions are public, traceable, and permanently stored in the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin addresses are the only information used to define where bitcoins are allocated and where they are sent. These addresses are created privately by each user’s wallets. However, once addresses are used, they become tainted by the history of all transactions they are involved with. Anyone can see the balance and all transactions of any address. Since users usually have to reveal their identity in order to receive services or goods, Bitcoin addresses cannot remain fully anonymous. As the block chain is permanent, it’s important to note that something not traceable currently may become trivial to trace in the future. For these reasons, Bitcoin addresses should only be used once and users must be careful not to disclose their addresses.