Learning how to send bitcoin is fairly straightforward, but it might seem intimidating for new users.
Generally, it requires only two basic things: a cryptocurrency wallet with some coins and a public key address to send a transaction to. Because Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network, only the two people executing the transaction need to be involved. Depending on the type of wallet used, the exact look and feel of a bitcoin transfer could be slightly different. The process is generally the same for different types of cryptocurrency, too.
How To Send Bitcoin in 3 Simple Steps
With any wallet, the process of conducting a bitcoin transfer involves the same general steps:
1. Enter the address of the wallet you want to send funds to. Users should always double-check the address they are sending to. Some hardware wallets will explicitly remind users to do this. When possible, using a QR code address might be preferable because it’s more certain.
2. Enter the amount of bitcoin you wish to send. When entering the amount of bitcoin to send, some wallets might allow users to also select the amount in dollar terms. It’s important to notice which currency is being displayed. If a user’s wallet supports multiple cryptocurrencies, it’s also important to select the correct coin. Sending bitcoin (BTC) to a bitcoin cash (BCH) address, for example, would result in a permanent loss of funds. Sending any cryptocurrency to an address for another cryptocurrency will generally send them into a digital oblivion where they can’t be retrieved by any means.
3. Broadcast the transaction by clicking “send”. When sending from some desktop wallets, users may be required to select the network fee before clicking send. Higher-fee transactions are given higher priority by bitcoin miners and will reach their destination in a shorter amount of time. (When using exchange-hosted wallets and most hardware wallets, the network fee amount will be automatically chosen for the user.)
For larger transactions, it’s a good idea to send a small amount of bitcoin as a test, to make sure the address is correct. A second transaction can then be made for the remaining amount.
How Do I Receive Bitcoin?
Learning how to receive bitcoin only requires that a user has a wallet and a public address for that wallet. To receive funds, simply provide the public address to the person who wants to send bitcoin.
There are really two steps needed to receive bitcoin:
1. Open your wallet and select “receive” or “generate new address”. Your wallet should offer one of these options.
2. Share the address with the bitcoin sender. The address can come in the form of a string of numbers and letters or as a QR code. The QR code can be sent as a picture or scanned directly by a smartphone.
There are also services that allow merchants to accept bitcoin as payment for goods and services. Most often, the service will convert the coins to local currency immediately and deliver the funds to the merchant in exchange for a small fee.
How Do I Send Bitcoin to Someone?
Learning how to send bitcoin depends on which wallet someone is using. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common types of hot and cold wallets.
Web wallets like MetaMask are entirely based in a web browser. They are considered to be the least secure and easiest wallets for new users to make costly mistakes with.
A desktop wallet is an application that runs on a desktop or laptop computer. The app will provide the tools to store, receive, and send bitcoin. Electrum is a commonly used desktop wallet.
Hardware wallets allow users to put coins into cold storage while keeping them easily accessible. Hardware wallets each have their own software that allow for the sending and receiving of coins. Alternatively, some hardware wallets might interact with a desktop wallet program.
Paper wallets are pieces of paper with both private and public keys printed on them. Coins deposited to a paper wallet are held in offline cold storage until the private keys are imported into another wallet. This can be accomplished either by “sweeping” the QR code with a smartphone app or typing the private key address into a desktop wallet application.
Recommended: What Is A Private Key?
Exchange wallets tend to be user-friendly because the crypto exchange handles the hard part. There’s no software to install and a user won’t be holding their own private keys, so there’s less responsibility involved. The drawback is that if the exchange gets hacked or otherwise loses its funds, users could be put in a tough spot.
How Do I Transfer Bitcoin to Another Wallet?
Transferring bitcoin to another wallet works much like sending bitcoin to another user. Simply generate a public key address for the receiving wallet and send coins to it from the sending wallet.
Can You Send Money Using Bitcoin?
In a bitcoin transaction, the coin balance represents monetary value, so in that way, yes you can send money using bitcoin. But using a web, desktop, or hardware wallet to send fiat currency (like US Dollars, Euros, or Yen) isn’t something commonly done—though some multi-currency wallets might have this feature.
Some cryptocurrency exchanges also enable the trading of fiat currencies, so it might theoretically be possible to send fiat currency to another user on that same exchange.
The Bitcoin network alone, however, can’t currently be used to send anything other than bitcoin along with an optional attached text message.
Can I Send Bitcoin to Someone Without a Wallet?
The short answer is no. Using traditional wallets, there’s no way to send bitcoin to someone without a wallet.
However, there are some services available that let people send bitcoin to someone else using alternative methods like an email address. In these cases, the coins are held in a new wallet until they can be claimed by the recipient.
Sending bitcoin only requires a wallet with some funds and the address (public key) or QR code of the wallet you want to send bitcoin to. The exact details may differ depending on the wallet used to send the transaction, but the sender doesn’t need to be concerned with what type of wallet the receiver is using.
Interested in trading crypto? With SoFi Invest®, members can trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and more—24/7 from the convenience of the mobile app.
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