5 unique ways to discover bitcoin

Since bitcoin first emerged in 2008, it’s grown from a niche hobby explored mainly by computer scientists, cryptographers, and libertarians, into an entire genre of study at formal institutions and online education portals. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re a seasoned pro, everyone has a preferred way to discover bitcoin. To help you find your best fit, we scoured the web and hand-picked a diverse collection of online resources.

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Security mantras to swear by

So far, 2017 has proven to be a bullish year for bitcoin indeed. And as it shoots for the moon, it’s unfortunately common to see an uptrend in malware and phishing attempts that leave you with an empty wallet. In this post, we share best practices that will help fortify your online security arsenal. Read on to find out how you can increase your safe browsing IQ.

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Helpful Wallet Notifications & Resources

Bitcoin can seem a little (if not very) complicated and confusing, especially for first time and newer users. We do our best to answer frequently asked questions in our Support Center and here on the blog, but we’ve also integrated helpful tips directly into our wallet! In this post we’ll cover a few of those tips.

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Support for our Russian users: Поддержка для русскоязычных пользователей

Recently, our support team was in the spotlight on our blog for their outstanding performance in customer service. This week we’re back with more related news that we’ve yet to officially announce: мы предоставляем поддержку на русском языке (that’s “we’re providing Russian support” for all you non-Russian speakers). Keep on reading to find out more about how we’re supporting our growing Russian userbase (scroll down to the end for the Russian version of this post).

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Privacy Enhancing Tips for Bitcoin Users

As a noncustodial wallet platform, we’re big on privacy and empowering our users. That’s why we’re excited to welcome guest blogger and online freedom advocate, Faith MacAnas, this week. In her post, Faith covers the basics of 3 online privacy boosting tools with bitcoin users in mind. To find out what they are, dive in below!

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Phishing sites: how to report them & why it’s important

In recent security-focused posts, we’ve touched on phishing email red flags, the importance of SSL, and password managers. But did you know there’s something you can do as a user to also help shut down a malicious copycat site for good? Keep reading and we’ll explain why this is so important and how you can do it.

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A warning about Sharechain

Thanks to everyone who shared this blog post to get the word out about Sharechain. On February 10th, Sharechain’s site was taken down and is no longer available. 

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Unfortunately, when it comes to phishing scams, that imitation can lead to big issues for unsuspecting users. Most recently, we’ve been targeted by a site called Sharechain which looks very similar to ours and claims to sell Blockchain shares for profit. Please be advised that we have no affiliation or connection with Sharechain

We’re working to get the site taken down but, in the meantime, we strongly caution users against using sites who falsely claim to be affiliated with our company. Always examine the URL and SSL certificate displaying in your browser to make sure you’re in the right place before you ever submit your wallet credentials.

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Transaction fees: your most common questions

Today, Ofir Beigel is back to answer some of our users’ most common questions about fees. To read his first post on transaction fee basics, click here.

In our previous post, we covered the what, why, and how surrounding bitcoin transaction fees. In today’s post, I want to dig further into the details and answer some of the most common questions about bitcoin transaction fees.

How can I calculate my transaction size so I’ll know what fee to attach to it?

You can’t easily do this on your own, and thankfully, many wallets can do this for you. For example, the Blockchain Wallet uses dynamic fees that calculate the required fee for you so that your transaction will confirm as reliably and quickly as possible. You also have the option to set your fees manually by using Advanced Send. Different wallets handle fees differently, and you should find out how your wallet handles the fees for you (if at all).

What happens if I don’t attach any fees to my bitcoin transaction?

Before transactions get packaged into blocks and inserted into the blockchain they wait around in the transaction pool, also known as the memory pool (or mempool for short). Each transaction in the mempool has a certain degree of priority. The priority is based on the amount of coins sent (higher = greater priority) , the age of the coins (older = greater priority) and the transaction size (smaller = greater priority).

I will not go into detail about what each of these parameters mean, but what is important to understand is this: some transactions have such a high priority that they don’t even need any fees attached. The first 50kb of each of transaction space in each block is set aside for high priority transactions. Other transactions may sit in the mempool for a long time, mature, and then finally move forward in priority in order to be included in the next block.

What if my transaction is still stuck in the mempool due to low fees or low priority?

If your transaction is stuck, it will either sit there long enough to gain a higher priority, or it will get rejected and flushed out of the mempool within roughly a week (in most cases). Once it’s been rejected, you’ll be able to try re-sending with a higher fee. Some wallets will give you the option to resend a specific transaction with higher fees in case it’s not confirmed; however, if you use a wallet with dynamic fees, you can likely avoid this entirely. As a last resort, miners will sometimes have spare space left in their block and will include zero transaction fees on a best effort basis, but it’s not recommended to count on this method.

To wrap things up:
  • Fees should be calculated depending on the transaction size (and it’s not based on the amount of bitcoin being sent). This can be done automatically by your wallet (e.g. dynamic fees).
  • If your transaction isn’t confirmed for a long time, either check with your wallet if you can change the fee attached to it or wait for it to get flushed out of the network and then resend it.

We hope Ofir’s posts have helped sharpen your know-how on bitcoin transactions and fees! If you still have questions, connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or visit our Help Center for even more resources.

A bitcoin blogger since 2013, Ofir owns 99Bitcoins and the popular Bitcoin Obituaries section. He is an Internet marketer and public speaker focused on getting as many people as possible to know what bitcoin is and why it is so important.

An intro to bitcoin-focused web development: build your first web app

Careers in bitcoin development are all the rage right now, but it’s an unfortunate misconception that the chance of landing these opportunities are a hundred-to-one unless you’re on a first-name basis with industry pioneers like Nick Szabo or Adam Back. Today’s guest blogger, Kyle Honeycutt, is here to debunk these myths of exclusivity. He’ll also show you step-by-step how to create your very first bitcoin web app, and leaves you with extra resources so you can hone your new skills. Take it away, Kyle.

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