What is a Bitcoin ATM?

What is a Bitcoin ATM?
A Bitcoin ATM is a physical terminal used to exchange fiat currencies for Bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies. Some Bitcoin ATMs or sometimes referred to as BTMs for Bitcoin Teller Machine and are capable of making two way exchanges so you can either buy or sell bitcoin for fiat at a physical terminal.

Bitcoin ATMs Are All Around the World

Bitcoin ATMs offer a unique interface with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general because of their familiarity with consumers. Most people are familiar with a standard ATM for getting cash with their debit card in countries all around the world. I have used my bank card to withdraw cash in probably about a dozen countries and the process is pretty much the same everywhere I go. Bitcoin ATMs offer a similar on-ramp in that they are something that people are relatively familiar with using and this absolutely helps to bring new users into the bitcoin space.

Why use Bitcoin ATMs?

Bitcoin AMTs often offer a couple of advantages over buying from an exchange or using peer-to-peer services to buy or sell bitcoin.

Bitcoin ATMs are about as instant as they come. When you use a bitcoin ATM, you simply insert fiat and with just a couple taps on screen, you have bitcoin sent to your wallet moments later. This is as simple and easy as it comes in the bitcoin space.

Bitcoin ATMs also typically offer more privacy than dealing with any sort of large centralized exchange. While most ATMs in the US will require some sort of personal information, other terminals around the world offer more privacy for their users.

Unfortunately, the biggest downside of using bitcoin ATMs that that the convenience often comes with a premium price tag and most ATM operators often charge premiums well above 10%. Regardless of the premium price tag, people still use them to buy and sell and what’s even more interesting is that the placement of new bitcoin ATMs is still growing. There are probably even pretty good number of ATMs that are not publicly listed and operate on more of a peer-to-peer network of users.

Where Can I Find a Bitcoin ATM?

The best resource online for all things related to bitcoin ATMs is a service named Coin ATM Radar. Their service helps users not only locate the ATMs nearest to them but also gives information on fees, hours of operation, type of ATM terminal and some other useful pieces of information about each terminal on their map.

Additional Info on Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs are often talked about in bitcoin related news publications. Here are some articles that might help you to better understand how bitcoin ATMs are being used around the world and possibly learn more about the opportunity to operate a bitcoin ATM yourself.

Global Bitcoin ATM Proliferation Nearly Doubled in May 2017

How to Start Your Own Bitcoin ATM Business

Bitcoin ATMs Popping Up Across the US

Bitlish Plans to Open 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs in Europe

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What is a Bitcoin Exchange?

What is a Bitcoin Exchange?
A Bitcoin Exchange or Digital Currency Exchange is a business that allows customers to trade digital currencies for other assets such as conventional fiat money or other digital currencies. Different bitcoin exchanges around the world are what sets the price of Bitcoin.

Types of Bitcoin Exchanges

Since bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are all completely digital there are a number of different types of bitcoin exchanges and many different ways to buy and sell bitcoin. Some exchanges are for buying bitcoin with cash while others are for buying with an ACH transfer directly from your bank account and others are exclusively for trading digital currencies similar to a forex market.

If you want some bitcoin to experiment with or to save for years down the road, you are likely going to use a bitcoin exchange that sells bitcoins directly to end users. Here are the most popular exchanges for getting bitcoins both for personal use or for speculation purposes. Some of these are for buying directly, while others are trading platforms for day trading bitcoin against other cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase

Based in San Francisco, California, Coinbase is the oldest and largest bitcoin exchange in the United States for business to consumer bitcoin sales. To purchase bitcoin from Coinbase, you will need to initiate an ACH transfer directly from your bank account. Coinbase charges a premium of 1% for both buy and sell orders.

ShapeShift

Based in Switzerland, ShapeShift is exclusively for trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with other active users around the world. What I like (and probably most other users) the most about shapeshift is their focus on user privacy. No accounts or logins are required to trade on shapeshift. All you need is since these transactions are “on chain” you will need to pay a transaction fee for each transaction.

In my personal opinion, ShapeShift is probably the best cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

Bitcoin “ATMs” or BTMs

Bitcoin ATMs or “Bitcoin Teller Machines” are one of the easiest and quickest ways to purchase bitcoin with cash. I think that most of these terminals are one way terminals for buying bitcoin only but some of them are two-way machines so you can both buy and sell bitcoin. Bitcoin ATMs are incredibly convenient because of their speed but they often charge high fees. Premiums of 10-20% over spot price are very common. If you would like to buy some bitcoin using a BTM, you can use Coin ATM Radar to locate the nearest bitcoin ATM.

Local Bitcoins

Local Bitcoins is one of the oldest and most trusted place to buy and sell bitcoins. LBTC is a peer-to-peer marketplace for exchanging bitcoins with other bitcoin users. Payment mechanisms range from bank wire transfers to face to face meetings with cash payments. When large trading platforms go down or are shut down by governments, users usually resort to trading here on local bitcoins. Be careful on here since there are lots of scams and fraud.

Wall of Coins

Based in Sarasota, Florida, Wall of Coins is a great way to both buy and sell bitcoin with cash deposits into the bank accounts. The process usually takes about 30 minutes from when you start the trade to when you have your bitcoins but the premiums on here can get pretty steep. You can expect to pay about 20%+ over spot price for the convenience and privacy.

Paxful

Paxful is on of tne of the most prominent bitcoin exchanges in the world for selling at a premium and allowing the largest number of payment mechanisms, Paxful is a the premiums on here are the highest I have ever seen ranging from 20%+ to well over 100%. There are a lot of scammers and fraud on here so be careful when buying or selling from users without a lot of good ratings/reviews.

Bitcoin Trading Platforms

Not all bitcoin exchanges are for buying bitcoins to hold yourself. Some bitcoin exchanges are strictly for speculating on the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make a profit. These sorts of trading platforms are almost always custodial (they control your bitcoins) and usually have much lower premiums than the consumer exchanges listed above. These fees are usually around .1% to .25% for each trade that you make. Let’s take a look at some of these exchanges around the world.

Poloniex

Based in Deleware, Poloniex has more currency pairs than any other custodial exchange in the world.

BitTrex

Based in Seattle Washington, BitTrex is one of the largest trading platforms in the US.

Kracken

Based in San Francisco, California, Kracken is a trading platform with roughly 30 different currency pairs. You can trade bitcoin against USD as well as a number of different cryptocurrency combinations.

BitFinex

BitFinex has the largest bitcoin volume of trades against the US Dollar so it is often the most trustworthy place to get the price of bitcoin from since it is the most stable on this exchange. Here on BitFinex, you can trade bitcoin against a few other cryptocurrencies and also USD.

Conclusion

That pretty much sums up all of the different types of bitcoin exchanges around the world. With all of these different ways to buy and sell bitcoin, there is no shortage of ways to turn a profit in the bitcoins space or just to hodl some of your own coins for years in the future. No matter what you plan on doing in the bitcoin space, there are a multitude of services there to help spread bitcoin across the globe.

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What is Cold Storage?

What is Cold Storage?

Cold Storage is achieved when bitcoin private keys are created and stored in a secure offline environment. Cold storage is important for anyone with bitcoin holdings. Online computers are vulnerable to hackers and should not be used to store a significant amount of bitcoins. The most common types of cold storage are hardware wallets and paper wallets.

Hardware Wallets

Hardware wallets are probably the most common means of storing bitcoins offline with quick and easy access for both sending coins when needed and capable of easily receiving additional coins while still preserving privacy. Most, if not all, hardware wallets are equipped with something called Hierarchical Deterministic (HD for short) functionality. HD wallets allow hardware wallets to create multiple addresses from a single starting point known as a seed or seed phrase.

This seed is usually a collection of 12 random words that can be written down on paper to restore your wallet if you ever want to erase your hardware wallet to sell or if you just want more security. In doing this, the user creates a form of paper wallet. KeepKey is one hardware wallet that is capable of doing this.

Paper Wallets

Paper wallets are a more static form of cold storage. They have much less flexibility than hardware wallets because each paper wallet only has one public key and one corresponding private key. Technically a paper wallet can receive bitcoins more than once but each and every additional payment to the same address erodes the privacy of not just the user but of the entire bitcoin network.

Paper Wallets are more like a savings account that you do not want to access after you have made your initial deposit. Since paper wallets can be printed on a whim, you can print a new wallet every time that you want to receive and store funds. To remove funds from a paper wallet, you will need a way to import or sweep the private key with a mobile wallet like bread wallet or an online wallet like blockchain.info.

Piper Wallet

Piper Wallet is a Raspberry Pi based paper wallet printer (Piper is a combination of Pi and Paper) that lives entirely offline for increased privacy and the ability to print paper wallets a the push of a button. If a paper wallet has never been online, then the private key can never be compromised by a hacker.

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What is a Bitcoin Faucet?

What is a Bitcoin Faucet?

A Bitcoin Faucet is a reward system, in the form of a website or app, that dispenses bitcoin for visitors to claim in exchange for completing a captcha or task as described by the website. The term faucet is used as a reference to a tap or valve for turning on the flow of free bitcoins.

Nothing is Free

In the early days of Bitcoin, faucets began as a learning mechanism to incentivize new users to download a bitcoin wallet to accept and experiment with some bitcoin. As a first point of contact with bitcoin, new users could paste a bitcoin public key and receive small amounts of bitcoin such as 1000 satoshis for free.

After their debut, it didn’t take long before hackers programmed bot scripts that would outsmart these websites by automatically creating hundreds or even thousands of public keys to receive small amounts of bitcoin and after a while all of these micro donations would add up to a pretty substantial amounts of bitcoin.

Bitcoin faucets have since evolved into a service for mining personal information for advertisers. The more primitive faucets require simple actions from the user like viewing a short video ad, becoming a member, join their mailing list or sometimes by clicking on an ad to a specific website. More advanced faucets will vet their users and only “give” away the bitcoin if you are a member of their target audience.

The Most Addicting Bitcoin Faucet

Bit Kong
Most bitcoin faucets are nothing more than spammy flash in the pan type sites that offer no long term value for the end user which is why most of them die off after a while.

Some faucets can see the big picture and have found ways to keep their users coming back such as BitKong, a popular bitcoin gambling site that allows you to place simple wagers as you climb a ladder to win up to 10 bitcoins. BitKong offers up to 2000 free satoshis every 10 minutes (up to 50 times per user) with the hope that you will deposit more bitcoin and keep playing. In fact they tote themselves as “The Most Addictive Bitcoin Game Ever” and judging by their numbers, they just might be the most successful bitcoin faucet ever.

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What is a Block Explorer?

What is a Block Explorer?

A block explorer is an online blockchain browser which displays the contents of individual cryptocurrency blocks, transactions, the transaction histories and balances of addresses. A Bitcoin block explorer is used for exploring the bitcoin blockchain while other block explorers may be specific to other cryptocurrencies.

Popular Block Explorers

As you go further and further down the bitcoin rabbit hole, you will probably find yourself needing some information on a particular transaction, address, block or hash. The following block explorers are the most popular in the bitcoin space for finding out just about any information that the blockchain has to offer. It will definitely benefit you to learn how they all work and what they can do for you.

Blockchain.Info

Blockchain.info is not only one of the first block explorers but it probably one of the most trusted sources for data on the bitcoin blockchain. It is equipped with several useful bitcoin tools such as an HD wallet, charts and a robust API that includes some merchant tools and a donate button. One of the things that I personally do not like about their wallet is that you are required to sign in with an e.mail address which means that this is not a zero-knowledge nor a permissionless wallet and this can erode your personal privacy.

Blockchain.info

Blockonomics.co

Blockonomics.co is my personal favorite block explorer primarily because of its simplicity and privacy enhancing features. Not only does it provide some great visual features, it is also equipped with a permissionless, zero-knowledge merchant service such as an invoice generator that is pegged to a fiat price rather than a bitcoin price. This means that you can sell goods for bitcoin but price them in a fiat currency so you don’t have to worry about bitcoin price volatility. I have spoken highly of this service in the past and I personally believe this service has the potential to be the most useful block explorer in the bitcoin space.

Blockonomics.co

BlockExplorer.com

BlockExplorer.com is probably the most obviously named block explorer. It is able to give you basic information on the blockchain and has some basic API services. According to their landing page they are “an open source web tool that allows you to view information about blocks, addresses, and transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. Their source code is available on GitHub.

blockexplorer.com

Additional Block Explorers

There are probably dozens of block explorers and I will end up making this post 2,000 words if I list them all in detail but here are a few others that you might like.
Blockr.io
Blocktrail.com
BlockCypher.com

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Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Satoshi Nakamoto is the founder of Bitcoin and initial creator of the original Bitcoin client. He has said in a P2P foundation profile that he is from Japan. Beyond that, not much else is known about him or his identity. He has been working on the Bitcoin project since 2007. The smallest unit of measure in bitcoin has been named in honor of Satoshi.

The Search for Satoshi Nakamoto

In November of 2009, Satoshi created one of the most disruptive experiments in human history when he published a white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. This new design would allow two (or more) parties to transact value without the need for a trusted third party. This has immense implications for global trade but the trusted third parties that have been in the middle of every financial transaction for centuries are not so happy about such an invention. This puts has put Satoshi at the top of the wanted list of the legacy banking cartels.

When Satoshi published this paper, he published a model that would change the world forever. The world finally had a mechanism for people and institutions to create privately issued money but even more importantly, bitcoin was the blueprint for creating bits of information that cannot be duplicated or counterfeit. This is why bitcoin is capable of functioning as money. Satoshi’s new invention will create a number of problems for governments and banks around the world which is likely why he has kept his identity a secret.

Ever since bitcoin has found its use as a safe haven asset around the world, Satoshi has gone into hiding and the search for his true identity continues.

Dorian Nakamoto

In 2013, Newsweek received some sort of anonymous tip that a man named Dorian Nakamoto was living in California and was remotely associated with some sort of cryptographic work for the government a couple years prior. Thanks to today’s poor journalism and everyone’s lust to be the first to publish a story, Dorian was dragged into the spotlight as being Satoshi Nakamoto. It was later proven false but Dorian’s face is still often used in bitcoin memes. There was even an art piece auctioned off to help him and his family with legal damage created by Newsweek’s careless “journalism”.

Craig Wright

In December of 2015, the search for Satoshi seemed to take yet another turn when an Australian computer scientist named Craig Wright was outed as being Satoshi. It didn’t take long for freelance journalists to swarm his Brisbane residence to completely invade his privacy looking for answers. Since he has fallen into the public spotlight, he has actually made claims that he is in fact Satoshi Nakamoto only to be mathematically eliminated as a fraud for not supplying a key signature that Satoshi is known to control. In short, he’s a fraud.

Conspiracy Theories

Since nobody knows Satoshi’s real identity or background, there have been a number of conspiracy theories that have surfaced. Some theories suggest that he is a member of the new world order and published bitcoin to create a one world money that the NWO will use to control the entire planet while other theories suggest that he is a former government employee who went rogue and released a cryptographic software system that the government had been using for years called “blockchain”. We may never know for sure but the search will likely continue as long as some people still care.

Satoshi is part of the New World Order

One of the first conspiracy theories was that Satoshi is actually a consortium of bankers who are working to establish a new world order. The anonymous creator is not actually a single individual but rather a group of banksters who published the bitcoin white paper to establish a global control of money and unleash the mark of the beast on the world. This is likely not the case since the bitcoin code is open source for all to view and can be changed. This makes it very difficult to control by any central power.

Satoshi is a former NSA Employee

Another Conspiracy theory is that Satoshi was working for the NSA and had been part of a project that was using a technology that was incredibly secure because it wasn’t centralized and required very complex cryptography to operate. Satoshi stole this model and altered it so that it could be used by the people rather than being monopolized by the government. After he figured out a feasible way to make it work as a peer-to-peer network, he published the Bitcoin White Paper to get some tech experts to fine tune it. Ever since it began to catch on, Satoshi has been forced into hiding for fear of being exposed and sentenced to torture or even death.

These are only a couple conspiracies but as time goes on, there will only be more crazy ideas that get added to the mix. Check back here from time to time to learn more about Satoshi Nakamoto.

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What is a Satoshi?

A Satoshi is the smallest fraction of a bitcoin that can currently be sent: 0.00000001 BTC, that is, a hundred millionth BTC. In the future, however, the protocol may be updated to allow further subdivisions, should they be needed.

Bitcoin Divisibility

A single bitcoin can be divided out to 8 decimal places or into 100 million (100,000,000) smaller units. As you may have guessed, this can create some confusion when it comes to denominating bitcoin for making smaller purchases. For instance, buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks for $3.50 would be 0.00346421 BTC (at today’s bitcoin price) or 346,421 satoshi. In an attempt to reduce this kind of confusion and increase user adoption, four primary denominations of bitcoin have emerged; Bitcoins (BTC), MilliBits (mBTC), Bits (µBTC) and Satoshis (s).

1 BTC = 1.00000000 Bitcoin = 1,000.00000 mBTC = 1,000,000.00 µBTC = 100,000,000 satoshi.

BTC

A bitcoin is the largest denomination within the bitcoin space as it denotes one entire bitcoin. This is primarily used for quoting prices of goods and services with a price that is equal to or greater than 1 bitcoin. Think of things like cars, computers or even houses to be purchased with entire bitcoins. It isn’t common to use these

mBTC

MilliBit is the second largest denomination of bitcoin at 1/1000 of an entire bitcoin. With the current price right around $1,000 USD a millibit seems to be a very popular option since 1 millibit is about $1. So a $3.50 cup of coffee would be about 3.5 mBTC.

If 1 Bitcoin is worth $1,000 then 1 mBTC is worth $1 because a millibit is 1/1000 of an entire bitcoin. This allows users to send amounts of bitcoin using whole numbers rather than carrying numbers out several decimal places. That $3.50 cup of coffee would be 3.5 mBTC. You can see how this makes it quite a bit less confusing to spend bitcoin on a daily basis.

µBTC

Micro bitcoins or more commonly known as “bits” are one millionth (1/1,000,000) of a bitcoin. Bits are also a very common denomination of bitcoin around the world because fiat currencies are not all equal to one US dollar so dealing in bits allows for an easy common denomination between multiple countries and currencies. 1 Mexican Peso is worth less than 1 US Dollar and 1 Japanese Yen is worth less than 1 Mexican Peso so dealing with bits between all of these currencies allows for a common unit of measure and still deal in whole numbers.

Satoshi

The term “Satoshi” was coined back in 2010 in tribute to the creator of the bitcoin protocol, Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi as a unit of measure is not very common because it is so small but the word satoshi is used all over the bitcoin space. SatoshiDice is a gambling site that helped bitcoin to gain traction in its early days by providing provably fair gambling online. SatoshiGallery is an Italian artist based in the UK who creates bitcoin related art. Some websites called bitcoin faucets will give away satoshis or even bits for completing certain tasks or viewing ads. If you do any looking you will find the word Satoshi used all over the bitcoin space.

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