The Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin

The Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin

by Michael Miller

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780133581379
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 10/08/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Michael Miller has written more than 150 non-fiction how-to books over the past two decades, as well as a variety of web articles. His best-selling books include Que’s Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics, The Ultimate Digital Music Guide, and Is It Safe? Protecting Your Computer, Your Business, and Yourself Online. Collectively, his books have sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.


Miller has established a reputation for clearly explaining technical topics to nontechnical readers, and for offering useful real-world advice about complicated topics. More information can be found at the author’s website, located at

Table of Contents

1  Bitcoin: The Future of Currency?     1
Bitcoin in the News     2
What Is Bitcoin?     3
No, Really, What Is Bitcoin?     5
What Famous People Are Saying About Bitcoin     6
Does Bitcoin Really Matter to You?     7

2  Understanding Virtual Currency     9
What Is Currency?     10
What Is Virtual Currency?     11
What Are Digital Currency and Cryptocurrency?     13
Is Bitcoin a Virtual Currency?     14


3  A Short History of Bitcoin     17
Virtual Currency Before Bitcoin     18
Then Came Bitcoin     23
Bitcoin Today     32


4  How Bitcoin Works     33
Understanding Bitcoins     34
Walking Through Some Typical Bitcoin Transactions     35
Managing Bitcoin Transactions     40
Understanding Bitcoin Denominations     42
Verifying Transactions and Creating New Bitcoins     43
Understanding Bitcoin Encryption     45


5  Determining Bitcoin Value     49
Does Bitcoin Have Value?     50
Who (or What) Decides How Much a Bitcoin Is Worth?     52
How Much Is a Bitcoin Worth, Anyway?     53
How Has Bitcoin’s Value Changed Over Time?     54
Where Can You Find the Current Value of Bitcoin?     57


6  Should You Use Bitcoin?     61
Who Bitcoin Was Originally Designed For     62
Who Uses Bitcoin Today—and Why     63
Is Bitcoin for You?     67
What Next?     70


7  Trading on Bitcoin Exchanges     73
How Bitcoin Exchanges Work     74
How to Choose the Right Exchange     76
Exploring the Big Five Bitcoin Exchanges     77
Discovering Other Popular Exchanges     82
Making a Trade     85


8  Storing Bitcoins with a Bitcoin Wallet     89
Understanding Bitcoin Wallets     90
Examining Different Types of Bitcoin Wallets     91
Using a Bitcoin Wallet     97
Securing Your Bitcoin Wallet     98


9  Spending Bitcoins     103
Who Accepts Bitcoin Payments?     104
Paying with Bitcoin     108
Converting Bitcoin to Gift Cards     110
Using Bitcoin ATMs     111


10  Accepting Bitcoin Payments     115
Should You Accept Bitcoin Payments?     116
Evaluating Bitcoin Payment Processors     117
Accepting Bitcoin on Etsy     120


11  Mining Bitcoins     123
What Is Bitcoin Mining?     124
How Bitcoin Mining Works     125
Can You Be a Bitcoin Miner?     129
Joining a Bitcoin Mining Pool     134
Making Money Mining—Or Not     138


12  Speculating in Bitcoin     141
How to Speculate in Bitcoin     142
Speculating Is Risky     143
Speculating Can Pay Big Rewards     145
Should You Speculate in Bitcoin?     145
Five Tips for Speculating in Bitcoin     148


13  The Many Risks of Using Bitcoin     151
It’s Not Legal Tender     152
It’s Not Backed by Anything or Anybody     152
It’s Not Regulated or Insured     153
You Can’t Get Your Money Back     153
It’s Not Completely Secure     154
It’s Extremely Volatile     155
Some of the Players Are Less Than Upstanding     156
It’s Not Widely Accepted     156
It’s Not Understood     157
Powerful People Don’t Like It     157
It’s an Experiment     158
Bottom Line: You Could Lose Your Money     158


14  Exploring Other Virtual Currencies     161
Why Do We Need Even More Virtual Currencies?     162
Evaluating Alternative Virtual Currencies     163
Where Can You Trade All These Virtual Currencies?     172


15  Peering into the Future of Bitcoin     175
Scenario #1: Everything Is Awesome!     176
Scenario #2: Realizing Potential     177
Scenario #3: More of the Same     178
Scenario #4: It’s Marginalized     179
Scenario #5: Hell in a Handbasket     180
Which Future Will It Be?    181


A  Glossary     183


B  Resources     191
Information and Advocacy     191
Pricing and Charts     192
Feeds, Forums, and Message Boards     192
Exchanges     192
Wallets     194
Payment Processors     195
Mining Hardware     195
Mining Software     195
Mining Pools     195
Other Virtual Currencies     196


C  How to Read Bitcoin Charts     197
Line Pricing Charts     198
Candlestick Pricing Charts     198
Column Volume Charts     200
Combination Charts     200
Trend Lines and Channels     201


D  Donating (and Accepting) Bitcoins for Charity     203
Giving with Bitcoin     203
Accepting Bitcoins for Your Charity     206


E  Creating an Unhackable Paper Bitcoin Wallet     207
Understanding Paper Wallets     207
Creating a Paper Wallet     208


F  Why Prices Go Down     11


G  Bitcoin and Apple Pay     215


Index     217

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