You can't use them without it costing you money! I am asking because I want to give some of my bitcoins to a friend. It is a gift not a transaction. I don't think it can be useful as a currency if it costs so much to use. Please can someone explain this simple point. I am not familiar with any of the intricacies or concepts of Bitcoin and am just looking at its possibility of use as an actual useful currency.

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The fees are supposed to be low. The last year, the transactions-per-second rate increased more than the system could handle. A few months ago, "SegWit", a technical advancement was activated. Currently people can use SegWit addresses and pay less fees, (so use a SegWit compatible wallet if you want to pay less fees!), however it's only a temporary solution. We'll have "side-chains" and other Layer-2 technology in a few months (Search for "Lightning Network") (up to a year) which will make fees drop forever.

TL;DR: The fees are temporarily high. Keep on eye on Bitcoin news.

  • This answer appears to imply that Lightning Network is a sidechain. LN is not a sidechain. – Murch Jan 6 at 7:12

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