BitPay Tutorial – How To Get Started With Bitcoin

[Update]

In recent days, BitPay has proven to be a bad actor in the Bitcoin ecosystem. They have attempted to hoodwinkle people into upgrading to Bitcoin Cash software and have been condemned for this by the community. BitPay is in the pocket of Jihan Wu / BitMain. Also bad actors.

I cannot in good conscience recommend the BitPay wallet anymore. Instead, I recommend the Electrum wallet. It’s currently the best wallet recommended on bitcoin.org, which itself no longer lists Bit(Main)Pay.

I currently have no time to update this tutorial from BitPay to Electrum. You’re welcome to email me if you have questions.

[/Update]

Managing Bitcoin is done using a so called Bitcoin wallet, or wallet for short.

There are many programs that will let you create and manage wallets.

I use BitPay to manage my Bitcoin, because it’s simple, user friendly, secure and works well.

It’s a great way to get started with Bitcoin.

Keep reading to learn how to buy, sell, send & receive your first Bitcoin!

0. Download & Install BitPay

Download BitPay and install it.

No need to create an online account on the BitPay website.

1. BitPay Main Screen

When you fire BitPay up, it will show you the main screen.

This one shows my own personal wallet, which already has some funds, as you can see.

If you install BitPay for the first time, it will show you no wallets and no funds.

Click ‘+’ to add a wallet.

2. Add Wallet

Here you can add a wallet.

It can be a new wallet, or an imported wallet.

Since you’re new to BitPay, you have no existing wallets that you could import.

Create a new wallet by by clicking ‘New personal wallet’.

3. New Wallet

Provide a name for your wallet.

Don’t worry about the advanced options just yet.

Click ‘Create new wallet’.

4. New Wallet Added

You can see a new wallet is now added.

Click on it.

5. Wallet Not Backed Up Yet

BitPay will tell you the wallet hasn’t been backed up yet.

Before you do anything, back up your wallet first.

Backing up your wallet allows you to import it later on, on any device where you have installed BitPay.

Click ‘Wallet not backed up yet’.

6. 12 Word Recovery Phrase

BitPay will now provide you with a 12 word recovery phrase.

Just so long as you have access to this 12 word recovery phrase, you will always be able to access your Bitcoin wallet.

These 12 words are the master key to your Bitcoin, so store these safely somewhere so that only you can access them.

7. 12 Word Recovery Phrase Verification

On the next screen, you will have to verify that you have written down your 12 word recovery phrase correctly.

8. 12 Word Recovery Phrase Verification Confirmation

If you’ve verified your 12 word recovery phrase correctly, then BitPay will confirm this to you.

9. Select Wallet For Receiving

Let’s look at the receive addresses in your wallet.

In the bottom menu, click ‘Receive’, choose your wallet, and click on the string of ‘random’ characters listed right above your wallet.

10. Receive Addresses

One such string of ‘random’ characters is one of your Bitcoin receive addresses.

Anybody, including you yourself, can send Bitcoin to this address.

By the way, they aren’t truly random… they just sorta look like it.

You can add all the receive addresses you want by clicking ‘+’.

I recommend not creating too many, since it will just clutter up your interface.

Clicking a receive address will instantly copy it to your clipboard.

This is so you won’t make a typing error and provide a wrong receive address, when you are giving it to somebody that wants to send you Bitcoin.

If you want to buy Bitcoin and receive it on one of your Bitcoin receive addresses, you must find a Bitcoin broker.

Which guy is gonna be your Bitcoin broker, depends on in which country you live.

Google “where can i buy bitcoin in usa” or any other similar search term with the country of your choosing, and you’ll find one.

You will pay him in your local currency (usd, eur, etc.) for a specified amount of Bitcoin.

Then you provide him with your Bitcoin receive address.

You will then receive Bitcoin on your specified address and it will show up in your wallet after a while.

11. Encrypting Your Local Wallet Files

Before sending any Bitcoin, it is important that you set a spending password.

A spending password will encrypt your local Bitcoin wallet files.

This prevents a thief, who has stolen the physical device on which your BitPay Bitcoin wallet remains, from spending your Bitcoin.

Once you’ve set a spending password, you will have to provide it every time you want to send Bitcoin.

This is extremely important!!!

Uninstalling BitPay does not remove your wallet files.

A thief who steals your device and reinstalls BitPay, will have instant access to your Bitcoin wallet and can transfer it wherever he likes.

Given the fact that Bitcoin is completely decentralized and that transactions cannot be reversed, there’s a 99.9999% chance you’ll never see your Bitcoin again.

It’s okay if you lose your spending password.

You can always recover your Bitcoin wallet, just so long as you are holding onto your 12 word recovery phrase.

The spending passwords only encrypts your local Bitcoin wallet files.

If you ever access the same Bitcoin wallet on another device, you’ll have to set a spending password on that particular device, too!

12. Set Spending Password

Click ‘Request Spending Password’.

13. Create Spending Password

Create a spending password.

Do yourself a big favor and generate a strong password.

Keep in mind that a strong password is a string of random characters.

You can’t memorize this easily, so don’t bother.

You’ll have to store it somewhere safe.

14. Confirm Spending Password

Confirm the spending password you have just created.

You are now all set up to send & receive Bitcoin!

15. Send To Address

A new wallet will not contain any Bitcoin.

Imagine, for a second, that this one does have Bitcoin and you want to send a modest amount somewhere.

In the bottom menu, click ‘Send’ and it will show you this screen.

It will now ask you to fill out a Bitcoin receive address.

These addresses are instantly verified when you type or paste them into the box.

If you have entered or pasted an incorrect Bitcoin receive address, BitPay will refuse to continue.

If you have entered or pasted a correct Bitcoin receive address, BitPay will automatically move on to the next screen.

16. Send Bitcoin Amount

If you had entered a correct Bitcoin receive address, then you will now be able to enter the amount of Bitcoin you want to send.

Click the blue arrow to continue to the next screen.

17. Confirm Send

On this screen, you can view the send transaction you have just created.

It says ‘Sending’, but it isn’t actually sending just yet.

Click ‘Click to send’ to actually send this amount of Bitcoin to the provided Bitcoin receive address.

18. Provide Spending Password

But wait… you had been clever enough to set a spending password!

Your local wallet files are encrypted because of that.

The transaction can only get started if you temporarily decrypt your local wallet files by providing your spending password.

Provide your spending password and click ‘OK’.

The transaction will now be sent.

Due to popular demand, the Bitcoin blockchain is currently facing challenges in scaling up.

Bitcoin transactions can sometimes take up to 30 minutes to be confirmed.

Do not fret, because invalid transactions will not be accepted by the blockchain anyway.