What is a wallet?

A wallet is where you store your bitcoins.  It is a unique, encrypted address formed by a set of characters that looks like this:

My Wallet: 1E5TDs4QWSjvRaw8hCp9LysB4uki7sZBCh

Using a bitcoin wallet application, you can create as many wallets as you want to store bitcoins in different accounts such as savings, petty cash, vacation savings, etc.  In your wallet client, you can copy someone’s address and directly send them funds or send your address that others can use to send you funds.  I use a client called MultiBit on my MacBook, which you can see below:

If you click on the picture you can zoom in and follow along with my overview of MultiBit’s features.

To start a wallet, all you need to do is click on the “New Wallet” tab on the bottom left. A dialogue box will appear that will allow you to name it whatever you want, click OK and you now have your first wallet.
If you click on “request” on the center of the page, you will now see your wallet’s address. This is a unique address to this particular wallet that no one else will ever own. It’s a good idea to have separate wallets that have separate purposes. Although it is very difficult for a hacker to get into your funds, its good practice to have large funds you don’t plan on using anytime soon in “cold storage“, or off any physical computer that someone can connect to via the internet.

As you can see from my wallets, a majority of my funds are in an account that I only know the address and don’t share with others.  My other wallets I can place everywhere I’d like.  The address at the top of this page is the real address of my donation account “Website”, so if you like any of the information I have provided on this site feel free to donate some of your bitcoin!  You can also easily copy this address in your app by clicking the little papers next to the address which copies it to your clipboard.  On the right side you will see a QR Code that you can scan with a smartphone and use to send bitcoins that way.  I clicked the papers symbol right above it and copied it to put it right here as an example:


This is a useful tool if you want to add this to an email to someone who wants to send you bitcoin, post to your website, or even print it off to accept bitcoin as payment at your place of business(forget credit card fees!).

If you click on transactions you can see where all the bitcoin you send and receive is going.  Right click on any transaction and you can view more detailed information about it, as well as technical details on where it passed through the internet by clicking on “View at blockchain.info”.

Now you want to send money to someone.  Click on “Send” and you can fill out the address you want to send money to, enter a memo stating what the transaction was for, and the amount of bitcoin/currency you want to send.  Make sure to deduct .001 BTC as a fee, press send and you are golden.  If this is your first transaction you may want to experiment with a small amount to make sure you’re doing it right.  You can do this by having two wallets and sending between both of them until you understand the process and can then send as much as you’d like to.

Other than displaying market data, that’s about all there is to your wallet.  Exchanges and other settings can be edited in your preferences the MultiBit tab on your task bar.  If you are interested in storing your wallets off your computer or other information about wallets, check out the links below.


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