Written by Greg Walker
What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is an electronic payment system, but really it’s just a computer program.
When you run the program, it connects to other computers running the same program all over the world. This creates a massive network of computers that can communicate and share information with each other. All of this happens for one reason… to share a file, and this file is called the blockchain.
The blockchain is a file that contains transactions. Anyone can make a transaction and insert it in to a computer on the network. From here, it will be passed from computer to computer until everyone has a copy. Eventually, this transaction makes it in to the blockchain.
However, there’s a problem.
You can actually insert two conflicting transactions in to the network at the same time. For example, you can buy a pizza in one transaction, then create another transaction and use the same bitcoin to buy some beer. If you insert both of these transactions in to different ends of the network at the same time, some computers will get the pizza transaction first, and some computers will get the beer transaction first.
Who should get the bitcoin?
Both of these transactions can’t be written to the file, as that would be a “double-spend”. Still, we have a network of computers with conflicting transactions on them, and no single computer is in charge. So how can we decide?
Bitcoin solves this problem through a system called “mining”. Instead of writing all new transactions on to the blockchain (and writing double-spends on to the file), all new transactions get held in a waiting area called the “memory pool”. From here, each computer can collect the transactions from their memory pool in to a “block”, and try to add this block of transactions on to the blockchain. Whoever adds their block on to the blockchain first decides which transaction makes it.
So this is where the competition starts…
Each computer starts by putting their block (every block is different) through what’s called a “hash function”. This hash function takes in a block, and scrambles it to produce a random number from it. Unusual, I know, but this is what hash functions do. Interestingly, nobody knows what number a hash function will spit out based on the data you feed in to it – you just have to try it and find out.
Anyway, the contest here is to try and get a number from this hash function (or to be precise, a “block hash”) that is below a certain threshold number. If you can manage to get a low enough number from your block, you can add it on to the blockchain.
And that’s the competition.
For example, let’s say I have the beer transaction in my memory pool. I will construct a block, put that beer transaction inside it, then put that block through the hash function. If the number that comes out isn’t below the threshold, my attempt has failed. However, I can always make a tiny adjustment to the data inside the block (e.g. add a bit of extra data to the end of the block), and put it through the hash function again.
So “mining” basically involves hashing my block as fast as I can, trying to be the first to get a result below the threshold. If I get lucky, I will be the first computer on the network to do so. If this happens, I can send this block to all the other computers on the network, and they will add it on to their blockchain. Then, because this block contains the beer transaction, the conflicting pizza transaction gets kicked out of memory.
So by pure luck and randomness, the beer transaction is the one that makes it in to the blockchain.
The beer transaction may have entered the network slightly after the pizza transaction, but it doesn’t matter. It just so happened that a computer with the beer transaction in its memory was able to build a block and get a low enough hash for it before anyone else, so all nodes accept this block and add it to their file. Any conflicting transactions that are in memory get thrown away.
Upon receiving this new successful block, nodes will drop the current block they were working on and go back in to their memory pool to create a new one. This means that the blockchain is constantly being built, with new blocks of transactions being added on to the chain roughly every 10 minutes.
As a result, we have a system where anyone can insert transactions in to a network of computers, and these computers will all work hard to try and add them on to a shared file.
Thanks to this system of “mining” (preventing any double-spends from being written to the file), we have created an electronic payment system that runs over a network of computers, and it all runs without a cental point of control.
Download Bitcoin Core to get started for free today.
These hardware projects explicitly state that they support bitcoin only.
Node: Buy (Plug and Play)
|Bitcoin Core - Guide||Install Core on your computer|
|MyNode - Guide||Full Stack (Rock64 / Pi3 / Pi4)|
|Samourai DOJO||Full Node with API (PC / Pi4)|
|Raspibolt / Raspiblitz||Lightning Node (Pi3 / Pi4)|
|RoninDojo||Full Stack (Rockpro 64 / Pi4 / Odroid N2)|
|Thundroid||Lightning Node (Odroid HC2)|
|Node Launcher||UI to install Full Stack on PC|
|Other DIY Bitcoin Hardware||Other DIY Hardware Projects|
* Currently only Bitcoin versions exist. NVK says this will probably always be the case.
These wallets have explicitly stated that they support bitcoin only .
It is very important that you learn how to backup your mnemonic seed & that if you use a passphrase you back that up too. Read this document to learn more about backing up your wallet and check out the privacy page. See this report for a comparison of the features of many of the wallets listed below.
|ABCore||Bitcoin Core Full Node for Android||Android|
|Armory||Cold Storage & Multisig||Desktop|
|Bitcoin Core||Full node & Bitcoin wallet.||Desktop|
|Blockstream Green||Easy to use wallet. Use Google Authentication not Email/Phone.||iOS & Android|
|Caravan||Stateless Multisig Coordinator.||Desktop|
|Casa Keymaster||Multisig Bitcoin [see Google Drive note below]||iOS & Android|
|Electrum||The most feature rich bitcoin desktop wallet available today.||Desktop & Android|
|Fully Noded||Bitcoin Core GUI for iOS device||iOS|
|GreenAddress||Desktop companion to Blockstream Green mobile wallet.||Deskop|
|Hodl Wallet||Relatively new wallet with simple UI.||iOS & Android|
|Lily Wallet||Relatively new multisig wallet with simple UI||Desktop|
|Specter||Relatively new desktop GUI for Bitcoin Core optimised to work with hardware wallets||Desktop|
|Muun Wallet||Relatively new wallet with novel multi-sig 2-of-2 spending.||Android|
|Samourai Wallet||The most feature rich and advanced bitcoin wallet available on Android today.||Android|
|Wasabi Wallet||Privacy focused Bitcoin wallet, that implements trustless coin shuffling||Desktop|
|BLW||A standalone SPV Bitcoin node with a fully functional built-in Lightning node.||Android|
|Breez||Mobile Non-Custodial Wallet [see Google Drive note below]||iOS & Android (Beta)|
|Eclair||Lightning Node Software||Desktop|
|Eclair Mobile||Lightning-ready Bitcoin wallet||Android|
|Sparrow Wallet||Relatively new desktop wallet with better UI/UX||Desktop|
|RTL||An easy to use interface for LND||Desktop|
|Sats App||Mobile Non-Custodial Wallet connected to Casa Node||iOS & Android (Beta)|
|Zap||Desktop Lightning Wallet. Mobile LND Interface||Desktop, iOS & Android|
|Zeus||Mobile app for LND users||iOS & Android|
[Note: Google Drive] : Google Drive backups on Breeze & Casa Keymaster allows those companies to access your email address, name and google profile picture. Strongly recommend using a separate google account to use these apps.
 : Blue Wallet's Lightning is Custodial by Default but users can opt to connect their app to their own Lightning Node using LNDhub. The On-Chain functionality is non-custodial.
 : Wallet of Satoshi is fully custodial meaning you do not have your private keys, thus you are not guaranteed full control of your funds.
 : Tippin.me is fully custodial meaning you do not have your private keys, thus you are not guaranteed full control of your funds.
 : Opennode is fully custodial meaning you do not have your private keys, thus you are not guaranteed full control of your funds. You can (and should) set reoccurring withdrawals to send any bitcoin you receive to your own wallet.
 : Bottle.li is fully custodial meaning you do not have your private keys, thus you are not guaranteed full control of your funds
|Bitcoin Forge||Toolkit for tinkering with scripts, TXs and addresses.|
|Bitcoin Optec Dashboard||Detailed Live Bitcoin Stats|
|bitcoin-s||Scala Bitcoin Library|
|Bitcoin Playground||Explore Raw tx Data|
|bitcoin-s||Scala Bitcoin Library|
|Braiins OS||Opensource Mining Software|
|CoinBin||Web Wallet to learn|
|Dojo||End-to-end Bitcoin Wallet backing server|
|LibreTX||Create Bitcoin tx's to learn|
|LNdash||Simple web dashboard for LND|
|LNtop||Lightning Network channel management|
|Mule Tools||Bitcoin transaction broadcasting|
|Node Launcher||Easy Launch Core & LND|
|Python Bitcoinlib||Python Bitcoin Library|
|WebLN||Interract with LN node via browser|
|Bitcoin Dev Network||Tutorials for aspiring Bitcoin Dev's|
|Bitcoin Reader||Learn about Bitcoin Script (GitHub)|
|Command Line Bitcoin||Learning Bitcoin From The Command Line|
|Lightning Hood||Information / Resources|
|Mastering Bitcoin||How Bitcoin works - high level (Hardcopy | GitHub)|
|Programming Bitcoin||How Bitcoin works - technical level (Hardcopy | GitHub)|
|Programming the Blockchain in C#||Guide to Bitcoin in C#|
|Script Explorer||Learn about Bitcoin Script (GitHub)|
bitcoin only meetups website: bitcoinmeetup.info
Watch the following videos:
1) The Bitcoin Standard - Saifedean Ammous on hard money
2) Why Bitcoin Matters - Aleks Svetski on the future of money
3) Bitcoin Genesis - Max Keiser on the origins of bitcoin
Then work through the step by step Bitcoin software tutorials by 402PaymentRequired
* Skip 'The Difficulties in ...' & 'Bitcoin Engineering ...' (poor audio)
These books explicitly cover bitcoin only.
|The Bitcoin Standard (Hardcopy)||Essential reading.||Saifedean Ammous|
|Inventing Bitcoin (Kindle / PDF)||Beginner's intro to bitcoin.||Yan Pritzker|
|Bitcoin Money (Direct , Amazon)||Bitcoin Story Book for Kids||Michael Caras|
|Grokking Bitcoin (Direct)||Illustrated Bitcoin Explainer||Kalle Rosenbaum|
|The Little Bitcoin Book (Direct , Amazon)||Intro to Bitcoin||Alex Gladstein , Jimmy Song|
|Q/A about Bitcoin (Direct , Amazon)||Common Questions and Answers||David Coen|
|Sovereignty Through Mathematics (Amazon)||Properties of Bitcoin||Knut Svanholm|
More technical resources can be found in dev-tools.
These periodicals explicitly cover bitcoin only.
These classes explicitly cover bitcoin only.
|21 Lectures (Beginner)||2-day Course (In development)|
|21 Lectures (Advanced)||4-day Course|
|Bitcoin Studio||1-day Workshops|
|Buidl Bootcamp||6-week Course (20h/week) online|
|Learn Me A Bitcoin||1-day Workshop|
|Programming Blockchain||2-day Seminar|
|Programming With Bitcoin||2-day Workshop|
|Smart Custody||1-day Workshop|
|Teach Bitcoin||4-week Course (10h/week) online|
|The Bitcoin Standard Academy||10-week Course online|
These websites explicitly cover bitcoin only.
|10hoursofbitcoin||Links to 10h of Bitcoin Lessons|
|21lessons||Superb Bitcoin Lessons (Audio 1|2|3)|
|Background Reading||Understanding the technical side of bitcoin|
|Bitcoin Designed||Striking Bitcoin Infographics|
|Bitcoin Q & A||Extensive Questions & Answers|
|Bitcoin Rabbit Hole||Index of Bitcoin Content|
|Bitcoin Slides||Comprehensive Slides|
|Bitcoin Translated||Russian Translations of Articles & Books|
|BitKnow||Quality Bitcoin Blog|
|Chaincode Study Groups||Bitcoin & Lightning study guides|
|Hungry Hodler||Informative Bitcoin Evangelizing|
|L2B Global||Blog from an OTC desk|
|Learn Me A Bitcoin||Bitcoin Explained|
|Look Into Bitcoin||Live valuation charts|
|Ministry Of Nodes||Articles, Videos and Workshops/Webinars|
|Nakamoto Institute||Everything Satoshi|
|River Learning Center||Basics Guide & Glossary|
|Towards Liberty||Open Source Bitcoin Archive|
|Veriphi||Bitcoin Tech Explained|
|Why Hold Bitcoin||Reviews, Guides & Resources|
|WORDS||A monthly Bitcoin journal|
First listen to 'SLP71: Intro to Bitcoin Austrian Thought' by Stephan Livera
These podcasts explicitly cover bitcoin only.
|Bitcoin Audible||Narrations of the best bitcoin articles|
|Bitcoin Echo Chamber||Interviews with Bitcoiners|
|Bitcoinheiros||Brazilian Portuguese Podcast|
|Bitcoin Matters||Conversations with @Beautyon_|
|Bitcoin Rapid Fire||Interviews with Bitcoiners|
|Bitcoin Rehab||Interviews with Bitcoiners|
|Blockdigest||Casual bitcoin news podcast|
|Bottomshelf Bitcoin||Putting Bitcoin within everyone's reach|
|The Chaincode Podcast||Interviews with Bitcoin Engineers|
|Citizen Bitcoin||Interviews with Bitcoiners|
|De Bitcoin Show||Dutch weekly bitcoin news|
|Fun With Bitcoin||Interviews with Bitcoiners|
|Noded||Michael Goldstein and Pierre Rochard|
|Reckless Review||Lawrence Nahum & Udi Wertheimer|
|Stephan Livera||Bitcoin and Austrian Economics|
|Swan Signal||Interviews with Bitcoiners|
|TFTC21||Tales from the crypt|
|The Bitcoin Basics Podcast||Bitcoin for Beginners|
|The Chaincode Podcast||Interviews with Bitcoin Engineers|
|The Bitcoin Standard Podcast||Weekly Bitcoin & Economics Seminars w/ Saifedean Ammous|
|The Total Connector||Interviews with Bitcoiners|
These explorers support bitcoin only.
Fees / Mempool
|Bitcoiner Live||Simple Fee Estimation|
|What The Fee||Simple Fee Estimation|
|BTC moe||Mempool Visualisation|
|Mempool.Space||Mempool / Block Visualisation & Fee Charts|
|Mempool.Observer||Mempool / Block Visualisation & Fee Charts|
|What The Fee||Simple Fee Estimation|
Earn bitcoin with MicroLancer
You can get bitcoin using these services.
[*] : Tallycoin & jfgi could at any time swap out your donation address for their own.
You can buy a fraction of a bitcoin, so don't let a high price per bitcoin put you off. Many people are #stackingsats (regularly spending a fixed $ amount on buying bitcoin, also known as Dollar Cost Averaging), you can see that this method has historically been a good way of accumulating bitcoin by looking at dcabtc.com & hodl.camp.
Do your own research as well before using any exchange. Not your keys not your bitcoin.
Long gone are the days that you could mine Bitcoin using common hardware. Bitcoin mining is now dominated by specialist hardware powered by low cost electricity. This video gives a simple overview.
Bitcoin enables anyone to tap into a truly global marketplace. Consider the impact on your privacy if you buy goods which link to your identity or require physical delivery. It's best to avoid getting things delivered to your home address for this reason.
|Bitrefill||Purchase Gift Cards or Mobile Refills from more than 1650 businesses in 170 countries|
|Bitscribble||Write 40 bytes of data to the blockchain|
|BullBitcoin||Non-Custodial Bitcoin Services|
|Bylls||Pay Bills (Canada)|
|Fold App||Buy Vouchers with Bitcoin Cashback|
|Njalla||Domain Name Registration Service|
|LNsms||Send texts worldwide and pay with Lightning|
|Spacebit||Send messages via satellite|
Fun & Play
Remember to check that gambling sites are fair, fairlightning.network helps check this.
Stores and Services
|Cheapair||Book flight tickets|
|1.21 Jigawatts||Stamps, Stickers & More|
|21X||Bitcoin Art, Designs, and Merchandise|
|Arnhem Bitcoin City||A Bitcoin Friendly City|
|Bitcoin Merit Badge||Bitcoin Badges|
|Bitcoin Shirt||Bitcoin Merchandise|
|Bitcoin Tunnels||Clothing, Mugs & More|
|CryptoCloaks||3D Printed Cases & Custom Nodes|
|DIYnodes||Bitcoin Nodes & More|
|Layer One BTC||Bitcoin apparel and more|
|Liberty Mugs||Mugs, T-shirts & More|
|Lightning Hood||Consultation, T-shirts & More|
|Lightning Hosted||Simple Image Hosting|
|Moneybadger Shop||T-shirts, Mugs & More|
|Original Satoshi||Stickers & More|
|PirateHash||Bitcoin curiosities and educational materials.|
|Quinsolo||Coasters, Magnets & More|
|Start 2 Bitcoin||Fun Bitcoin Info Pack|
|Von Bitcoin||T-Shirts, Prints, & More|
|Wears My Liberty||Liberty Shirts, Hats, Hoodies & More|
|White Rabbit Store||Bitcoin Bookmarks & Accessories|
Remind yourself of the buying power of a Satoshi with cent2sat.
These tools help you accept bitcoin.
[*] : Opennode is fully custodial meaning you do not have your private keys, thus you are not guaranteed full control of your funds. You can (and should) set reoccurring withdrawals to send any bitcoin you receive to your own wallet. You are now also required to submit KYC Documentation to be an Opennode merchant.
These conferences are bitcoin only.
|Bitcoin Only India||Feb 2020|
|The Lightning Conference||2019|
|Portland Bitcoin Conf||2019|
|Baltic Honeybadger||2019: Day 1 | Day 2 / 2018|
|Breaking Bitcoin||2019: Day 1 | Day 2|
|Lightning Hack Day||2019: Day 1 | Day 2|
|Paralelna Polis||None Found|
|Scaling Bitcoin||2019: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4|
|Understanding BTC||2019: Day 1 | Day 2|
|Value of Bitcoin Conf||2019|
Read my FAQ on how to Hold bitcoin Privately.
Preserve your privacy when using bitcoin.
Have any questions? Need some help? Follow on Twitter and Subscribe to Youtube channel.
Thanks to 6102 and everyone who contributes in bitcoin-only.com's github repository. This website is just a fork of it customized for Indians and few changes that we agreed to in our community.
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