96
votes
14answers
52k views

What is a good way to concisely explain Bitcoin?

Often I'm asked to explain Bitcoin to someone and occasionally I come up with something stellar that really nails it, but most times it's a rambling incoherent mess. What I would like to see is a ...
82
votes
7answers
33k views

What exactly is Mining?

I have heard that mining is for people with ready hardware and blah blah blah... But what exactly is it? Does it operate like real mining? I mean, people talk about it like you are physically mining.
71
votes
5answers
40k views

What are “bitcoin days destroyed”?

The concept of bitcoin days destroyed has been proposed as a measure of bitcoin volume. However, I don't think the bitcoin wiki really explains the idea very well. What is the purpose or advantage of ...
66
votes
9answers
20k views

How much will transaction fees eventually be?

Some people keep evangelizing that Bitcoin transaction fees are much lower than in PayPal or with credit cards. However, once nearly all 21 million bitcoins have been mined, the network will still ...
64
votes
5answers
8k views

Why is 6 the number of confirms that is considered secure?

Why is 6 is the number of confirms that is considered secure? I haven't found any mathematical explanation or otherwise that explains with it is 6 and not 5 or 7. Is there a historical reason for 6? ...
61
votes
13answers
147k views

How can I buy Bitcoin via a Credit Card or Paypal?

I want to buy some bitcoins. Ideally, I would like to buy them on the MtGox exchange (because the consensus seems to be that this is the most reputable exchange), however I have found the system for ...
58
votes
4answers
70k views

What is a 'Satoshi'?

I am aware that Satoshi Nakamoto is the author of the paper that originated Bitcoin and the creator of the original bitcoin client. However, I often hear the term Satoshi as if it was a monetary unit. ...
57
votes
5answers
23k views

What can an attacker with 51% of hash power do?

Suppose organization X has 51% of the hash power for a period of 1 week. In this week, what exactly can and can't X do?
56
votes
5answers
9k views

How can I accept bitcoins on my website?

I have an online store and would like to begin accepting bitcoins. How can I go about doing this?
56
votes
11answers
27k views

How do you obtain bitcoins?

This is a question many people ask when they're introduced to Bitcoin. Bitcoin sounds interesting, but if I want to use this system I will need to get some coins, otherwise there's no way I can spend ...
54
votes
16answers
12k views

Does hoarding really hurt Bitcoin?

Some people believe that hoarding hurts the Bitcoin economy. But are they really right? As long as corresponding goods vendors and services will be here to stay and reinforce people's faith in ...
48
votes
4answers
33k views

What are bitcoin miners really solving?

As with mining, what are the bitcoin miners really solving? I read they are solving hashes, but what does that really mean. Can we see what they are solving? Can someone give an example of what a ...
48
votes
3answers
13k views

Should I leave the Bitcoin client open?

Some people recommended that I leave my Bitcoin client open because it helps the network. Apart from the security implications, why should I do this? I thought that miners were the ones responsible ...
47
votes
9answers
113k views

How much Bitcoin will I mine right now with hardware X?

Say I have a given piece of hardware (CPU/GPU). Where can I find out how much Bitcoin will I mine per day?
46
votes
9answers
13k views

Is it possible to brute force bitcoin address creation in order to steal money?

Bitcoin users frequently generate new addresses for each transaction they make, which greatly increases the number of bitcoin addresses being used to receive money. Would it be possible (and ...
44
votes
2answers
23k views

How does merged mining work?

How does the implementation of merged mining affect the global hash rate of alt chains? Does one solution fit all? Does one solution fit some? Does the rate of "solutions that will fit" decrease ...
43
votes
4answers
5k views

Have any cryptography experts vetted the bitcoin source code?

Theoretically, bitcoin's open source nature makes it more resistant to bugs and exploits. However, due to the specialized nature of the code, even many programmers don't fully understand the ...
41
votes
7answers
6k views

Is there any way to track an individual bitcoin (or satoshi)?

For example, if I wanted to "collect" important bitcoins is there any way to track a coin rather than a series of transactions? If I wanted one of the bitcoins from the infamous "Bitcoin pizza" ...
41
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there a way to set up proof-of-work systems so it would be even more useful?

One of the arguments made against bitcoin's design choices is that is wastes resources authenticating transactions. In particular, finding small hashes is completely useless for the world. Are there ...
40
votes
8answers
73k views

Why don't people buy at one exchange and sell at another?

Bitcoinity.org shows that for the past 30 days, bitstamp's price is high at 101.00, low at 77.00, and current price is 98.04. On contrast, mtgox's price for the past 30 days is high at 115.00, low at ...
40
votes
7answers
10k views

Why was 21 million picked as the number of bitcoins to be created?

Why did Satoshi pick 21 million as the number of bitcoins to be created? What is the significance of that number?
38
votes
7answers
14k views

Can bitcoins be counterfeited?

Traditional currencies have anti-counterfeiting features designed to make them hard to copy, but despite this attempt counterfeit money is a real threat. Since bitcoins are digital, it's trivial to ...
37
votes
6answers
5k views

What unique business models has Bitcoin enabled?

Are there specific, unique business models that have been made possible by the invention of Bitcoin? And if so, what are they? Edit: I seem to be getting a lot of answers about the areas of ...
37
votes
8answers
12k views

How anonymous are Bitcoin transactions?

I read some sources that say Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, some that say they are semi-anonymous, and some that say they are not anonymous at all. In what ways are the transactions anonymous ...
36
votes
5answers
21k views

Can I download the whole block chain from somewhere?

Every time I turn on the Bitcoin client it takes days to catch up with the block chain. Are there alternatives to getting it trickling through the peer-to-peer network? Can I just download it ...
36
votes
10answers
6k views

Will Bitcoin suffer from a mining Tragedy of the Commons when mining fees drop to zero?

One issue that I haven't seen clearly addressed is the possible Tragedy of the Commons in Bitcoin's future (see this answer). 40 years into the future, the only significant direct benefit for honest ...
33
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I keep my wallet secure?

The standard Bitcoin client does not encrypt wallet files, so any malicious user that gains access to this file will be able to transfer all the coins to their own wallet. Furthermore, if I lose the ...
33
votes
8answers
17k views

Is CPU mining even worth it?

I would like to start mining, but my GPU isn't the greatest and I don't really want to spend the money on a dedicated rig. Is mining from my CPU (in a Linux environment) still worth it? Or will I not ...
33
votes
3answers
3k views

Who runs www.bitcoin.org?

The original client that can be downloaded from www.bitcoin.org is often referred to as the "official client". Similarly many regard www.bitcoin.org as the "official homepage" of the project. So, who ...
33
votes
9answers
7k views

Is there a Bitcoin bank, which gives interest on my deposit?

Is there any Bitcoin bank I can place my Bitcoins in that will give me a decent interest rate. It should be at least 1% for it to be worth it.
32
votes
7answers
20k views

Where do bitcoins come from and what gives them their value?

Where do bitcoins come from? From the WeUseCoins.com video it appears they are just being produced by "miners" and sold to people. So who backs Bitcoin or gives it its value?
32
votes
5answers
13k views

Why is downloading blocks taking longer and longer?

First off, this really needs to get fixed. I'm downloading blocks for at least 8 hours now, and it's still not done. I know the problem of having to download the entire block chain is being worked on, ...
31
votes
13answers
4k views

Will deflation destroy Bitcoin?

With the limited total quantity of bitcoins, and people losing their wallets constantly decreasing that number, won't rampant deflation destroy Bitcoin?
31
votes
4answers
5k views

How can one remain relatively anonymous while using Bitcoin?

Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous. What can an individual that uses Bitcoin do in order to remain as anonymous as possible?
30
votes
4answers
3k views

What methods could a government use to shutdown Bitcoin?

Let's say that that a government decided to shut down the Bitcoin network, what options would they have to achieve this? Would they need to convince other/all governments? Let's set as a precondition ...
30
votes
2answers
2k views

How does Ripple solve the double-spend problem?

How does the Ripple system solve the double-spend problem? Does it also use some block-chain-like entity that officially dictates which transactions are confirmed and which are not, or does it use ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

What do the different .dat files contain?

What data do different Bitcoin .dat files contain? How about the other files in the same folder? The wallet.dat file is somewhat documented and there are some ways to convert it to human-readable ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

How to save bitcoins as paper?

I would like to save some of my bitcoins on a piece of paper with QR code printed on it. What would be the easiest way to do it without using Mt Gox. or similar. Just bitcoins (I'm not afraid of some ...
29
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I reduce the size of the block chain data on my machine?

The block chain file is getting rather large, ~500MB. Is there a way to trim it or clean up, or maybe configure it to be limited in the future? I am using the stock Bitcoin client on Ubuntu.
28
votes
3answers
4k views

Why does Bitcoin send the “change” to a different address?

For example I have an address (A) with 20 BTC and send 9 BTC to address (B). Bitcoin will create a "change" portion of the transaction where the remaining 11 BTC goes to address (C). Why not send ...
28
votes
3answers
14k views

Can I use my wallet on different computers?

I'm used to synchronize my data on different machines. Depending on the data I use SVN, Dropbox or SSH (Unison). Is this possible with the bitcoin wallet, too?
28
votes
5answers
8k views

How can I accept Bitcoin donations on my blog or site?

If I sell things, there are many services that allow me to accept bitcoins as payment. But for those who simply want to accept bitcoins on their blog or other site ... as donations. A simple bitcoin ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there algorithms that could have been chosen for mining that balance CPU/GPU?

The mining algorithm for Bitcoins (and most alternative but similar currencies as well) is purely computation hard, but not decision hard or memory hard. This caused the unexpected effect that GPUs ...
27
votes
6answers
2k views

Why doesn't Bitcoin return lost coins back into the block reward?

The idea of putting back lost Bitcoins back onto block rewards seems like a great idea. I acknowledge that there were quite a handful of early adopters who were generating blocks daily, but had no ...
27
votes
4answers
1k views

What is a deterministic wallet?

It sounds as if it's a process that enables a wallet to be rebuilt from a passphrase, or from several fragments scattered about. Could someone provide a detailed technical explanation?
27
votes
1answer
12k views

What are the bandwidth requirements of a mining rig?

How much bandwidth consumption can I expect per 900 Mhash/s rig (for instance) for both pooled and solo scenarios? I'm looking for a ballpark number for the on going requirements, after the initial ...
26
votes
5answers
30k views

Is Butterfly Labs reputable / Should I preorder the SC Jalepeno?

I'm somewhat new to the mining scene but I'm a bit familiar with everything. I see that GPU mining will become much less cost effective over the next year or so, especially around December when the ...
26
votes
3answers
4k views

What is a compressed Bitcoin key?

The standard Bitcoin client in version 0.6 apparently introduces compressed keys. What are they? Are there any drawbacks to using them? Any incompatibilities with older software? Reductions in ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

What would a country adopting Bitcoins as official currency have to reinvent?

Let's say that a country decided to ditch their currency and go for Bitcoins. What would this country have to reinvent. The reason why I ask, is because I believe that if a tiny country was to adopt ...
25
votes
6answers
4k views

Why is the disappearance of Mt Gox a problem?

I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm not a bitcoin user and may lack important information. My understanding was that each bitcoin user has a wallet on his harddrive or wherever, where he ...

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