Establishing a Wallet – How to start accepting and trading Bitcoins

The Bitcoin phenomenon is moving at a pace unimaginable just years ago and time is of the essence.  As such, we are presenting the introduction to Section II as well as the first and most important step to personal Bitcoin adoption, establishing a Bitcoin wallet as a public service here at The Mint.  This section is part of our Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin adoption entitled:

Bitcoins:  What they are and how to use them:  A Beginner’s Guide to adopting the Gold Standard in Digital Currencies

Which can be purchased in PDF form for Bitcoins here at The Mint, in all other eBook formats at Smashwords.com, as well as on Amazon’s Kindle.  Enjoy!

SECTION II:  How to get Started Accepting and Trading Bitcoins

The ability to accept Bitcoins as a form of payment is quickly becoming an important part of any online merchant’s payment acceptance scheme.  Indeed, the ability to receive Bitcoin payments will not only give merchants a chance to accept the relatively new form of digital gold in exchange for goods or services, it also will give the merchant ready access to the market of newly minted Bitcoin millionaires who come into existence with each uptick in the Bitcoin/USD price ratio.

The following list of services is not all-inclusive, nor is it a step-by-step guide.  It may be best described as a road map.  Each step presented in this section is like a city on the highway to a do it yourself digital storefront presence which can accept Bitcoin payments.  With the obvious exception of establishing a Bitcoin wallet, which is presented in step 1 below, the services are optional and, while many of them are free, some of them, such as the domain registration and the web hosting services, must be paid for.  Think of these charges as simply putting gas in the tank along the way to the ultimate destination.

As one arrives at each city, it will be necessary to grab a more detailed street level map of the city, which can be found at each of the above provider’s websites as of this writing.  While we are clearly endorsing the following services by virtue of including them, we cannot guarantee that they will serve each merchant’s specific needs.  Indeed, we write of them as a fellow customer, and share them to the extent we have used them to benefit our own endeavors.

The following is a brief, and by no means all-inclusive, guide to establishing the means to accept Bitcoins as a method of payment online.  The Bitcoin space, in terms of payment processing, is still gestating in the womb, so to speak, and has not even reached birth, let alone infancy.  As such, this guide, which we offer circa April 2013, may become obsolete.  However, the mere action of taking these steps should launch one into the Bitcoin space with enough momentum to keep abreast of the rapidly changing landscape.

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Step 1 – Establish a Bitcoin wallet

The wallet is the basis of the Bitcoin experience.  The term wallet sufficiently describes the purpose of the mechanism.  We recommend using a trusted service such as blockchain.info to open an online wallet.  This can be done for free and all that is required is the ability to access the website and create a user ID and password.

The advantage to having an online wallet is that the Bitcoins can easily travel with you.  In the same way cloud solutions such as Apple’s iCloud, Google’s Drive, and Dropbox allow one to store files on the internet which can then by accessed by simply using the correct user ID and password, an online Bitcoin wallet allows the Bitcoins which are attributed to the wallet to be accessed anywhere the internet can be accessed by the person(s) who possess the wallet’s credentials.

Naturally, it is highly advisable to create an offline backup of the blockchain.info wallet.  Blockchain has built this functionality into its site and it is very easy to use.  A word of caution, as wonderful as Blockchain’s ability to create and reasonably protect a Bitcoin wallet is, it has its inherent limitations.  As such, we do not recommend storing a great deal of wealth in any online medium.  This includes all Commercial bank and brokerage accounts, PayPal, and Bitcoin accounts.

Blockchain.info does a good job of describing the inherent risks of digital currency in its disclaimer page, which can be read here:

https://blockchain.info/disclaimer

Once you have generated the Bitcoin wallet, be sure to record the alias and password* in a safe place.

{*As with any online password that one desires to not have hacked, it is recommended that the password include both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, as well as be at least seven characters in length.  A mere word, such as one’s pet’s name, is inadequate protection.}

Got it?  Now get over to blockchain.info and get started.  It is fast, free, and easy!

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