Author(s): Michael Miller
The whole truth about Bitcoin...So you can decide for yourself! Bitcoin: it's the worldwide virtual currency everyone's talking about. But most explanations of Bitcoin are completely bewildering-they're either written by people in thrall with it or by those appalled by the very notion of an alternative currency. What's the real story? How does Bitcoin work? Where did it come from? What's it good for? How do you get, store, and spend Bitcoins? And should you? The Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin answers all your questions-honestly, objectively, and in plain English. Michael Miller has spent his life demystifying complicated ideas and technologies: he's helped more than 1,000,000 readers in over 150 easy-tounderstand books. Now, he explains Bitcoin in ways everyone can understand. Miller will help you decide for yourself if Bitcoin should be part of your life. And if the answer is "Yes," he'll help you make the most of it! * Is Bitcoin the currency of the future-or just the latest scam? * Why does anyone think Bitcoins have value? * Are Bitcoins legal? * Are Bitcoins really untraceable? * How and where can I buy Bitcoins? * How do I choose a Bitcoin exchange?
* How do I find out what my Bitcoins are worth? * Can I trade Bitcoin just like other currencies? * Can I really mine my own new Bitcoins? * Is Bitcoin taxable? * Where should I store my Bitcoins? * How much Bitcoin fraud and theft really exists? * Which merchants accept Bitcoin? * How safe-or risky-is Bitcoin? * How does Bitcoin compare to other virtual currencies? * What's the future of Bitcoin?
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 www.molehillgroup.com.
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