Bitcoin Halving

Bitcoin Halving

What Is a Bitcoin Halving?

Bitcoin’s most recent halving occurred on May 11, 2020. To explain what a Bitcoin halving is, we must first explain a bit about how the Bitcoin network operates.

Bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain, basically consists of a collection of computers (or nodes) that run Bitcoin’s software and contain a partial or complete history of transactions occurring on its network.

Each full node, or a node containing the entire history of transactions on Bitcoin, is responsible for approving or rejecting a transaction in Bitcoin’s network.

To do that, the node conducts a series of checks to ensure that the transaction is valid. These include ensuring that the transaction contains the correct validation parameters, such as nonces, and does not exceed the required length.

A transaction occurs only after all the parties operating in Bitcoin’s network approve it within the block on which the transaction exists. After approval, the transaction is appended to the existing blockchain and broadcast to other nodes.

The blockchain serves as a pseudonymous record of transactions (i.e., its contents are visible to everyone, but it is difficult to identify transacting parties in the network). This is because the blockchain assigns encrypted addresses to each transacting party in the network. That said, even those who do not participate in the network as a node or miner can view these transactions taking place live by looking at block explorers.

More computers (or nodes) added to the blockchain increase its stability and security.

There are currently 12,035 nodes estimated to be running Bitcoin’s code. Though anyone can participate in Bitcoin’s network as a node, as long as they have enough storage to download the entire blockchain and its history of transactions, not all of them are miners.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A Bitcoin halving event is when the reward for mining bitcoin transactions is cut in half.
  • This event also cuts in half Bitcoin’s inflation rate and the rate at which new bitcoins enter circulation.
  • Both previous halvings have correlated with intense boom and bust cycles that have ended with higher prices than prior to the event.
  • Bitcoin last halved on May 11, 2020, around 3 p.m. EST, resulting in a block reward of 6.25 BTC.

Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin mining is the process by which people use their computers to participate in Bitcoin’s blockchain network as a transaction processor and validator.

Bitcoin uses a system called proof of work (PoW). This means that miners must prove they have put forth effort in processing transactions to be rewarded. This effort includes the time and energy it takes to run the computer hardware and solve complex equations.

Faster computers with certain types of hardware yield larger block rewards and some companies have designed computer chips specifically built for mining. These computers are tasked with processing Bitcoin transactions, and they are rewarded for doing so.

The term mining is not used in a literal sense but as a reference to the way precious metals are gathered.

Bitcoin miners solve mathematical problems and confirm the legitimacy of a transaction. They then add these transactions to a block and create chains of these blocks of transactions, forming the blockchain.

When a block is filled up with transactions, the miners that processed and confirmed the transactions within the block are rewarded with bitcoins.

Transactions of greater monetary value require more confirmations to ensure security. This process is called mining because the work performed to get new bitcoins out of the code is the digital equivalent to the physical work done to pull gold out of the Earth.

El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender on June 9, 2021. It is the first country to do so. The cryptocurrency can be used for any transaction where the business can accept it. The U.S. dollar continues to be El Salvador’s primary currency.

Bitcoin Halving

After every 210,000 blocks mined, or roughly every four years, the block reward given to Bitcoin miners for processing transactions is cut in half.

This cuts in half the rate at which new bitcoins are released into circulation. This is Bitcoin’s way of using a synthetic form of inflation that halves every four years until all bitcoins are released into circulation.

This system will continue until around the year 2140.

At that point, miners will be rewarded with fees for processing transactions, which network users will pay. These fees ensure that miners still have the incentive to mine and keep the network going. The idea is that competition for these fees will cause them to remain low after the halvings are finished.

The halving is significant because it marks another drop in the rate of new Bitcoins being produced as it approaches its finite supply: the total maximum supply of bitcoins is 21 million. As of October 2021, there are about 18.85 million bitcoins already in circulation, leaving just around 2.15 million left to be released via mining rewards.

In 2009, the reward for each block in the chain mined was 50 bitcoins. After the first halving, it was 25, and then 12.5, and then it became 6.25 bitcoins per block as of May 11, 2020.

To put this in another context, imagine if the amount of gold mined out of the Earth was cut in half every four years. If gold’s value is based on its scarcity, then a “halving” of gold output every four years would theoretically drive its price higher.

Coin Metrics Bitcoin Halving
Coin Metrics logarithmic chart of Bitcoin price action following halvings.

Halving Implications

These halvings reduce the rate at which new coins are created and thus lower the available amount of new supply, even as demand might increase.

This can cause some implications for investors as other assets with low or finite supply, like gold, can have high demand and push prices higher.

In the past, these Bitcoin halvings have correlated with massive surges in Bitcoin’s price.

The first halving, which occurred on Nov. 28, 2012, saw an increase from $12 to $1,217 on Nov. 28, 2013.

The second Bitcoin halving occurred on July 9, 2016. The price at that halving was $647, and by Dec. 17, 2017, a bitcoin’s price had soared to $19,800. The price then fell over the course of a year from this peak down to $3,276 on Dec. 17, 2018, a price 506% higher than its pre-halving price.

The most recent halving occurred on May 11, 2020. On that date, a bitcoin’s price was $8,787. On April 14, 2021, a bitcoin’s price soared to $64,507 (an astonishing 634% increase from its pre-halving price). A month later, on May 11, 2021, a bitcoin’s price was $54,276, representing a 517% increase that seems more consistent with the behavior of the 2016 halving.

On May 12, 2021, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment, resulting in further price fluctuations.

In the week that followed Musk’s statements, the price of a bitcoin plunged below $40,000 after Chinese regulators announced restrictions banning financial institutions and payment companies from providing cryptocurrency-related services.

Though these two announcements may have temporarily created a price drop in Bitcoin, there is the potential that the price fluctuations are more related to the halving behavior we have observed previously.

The theory of the halving and the chain reaction that it sets off works something like this:

The reward is halved → half the inflation → lower available supply → higher demand → higher price → miners incentive still remains, regardless of smaller rewards, as the value of Bitcoin is increased in the process

In the event that a halving does not increase demand and price, then miners would have no incentive. The reward for completing transactions would be smaller, and the value of Bitcoin would not be high enough.

To prevent this, Bitcoin has a process to change the difficulty it takes to get mining rewards, or in other words, the difficulty of mining a transaction.

In the event that the reward has been halved, and the value of Bitcoin has not increased, the difficulty of mining would be reduced to keep miners incentivized.

This means that the quantity of bitcoins released as a reward is still smaller, but the difficulty of processing a transaction is reduced.

This process has proved successful twice. So far, the result of these halvings has been a ballooning in price followed by a large drop.

The crashes that have followed these gains, however, have still maintained prices higher than before these halving events.

For example, as mentioned above, the 2017 to 2018 bubble saw the value of a bitcoin rise to around $20,000, only to fall to around $3,200. This is a massive drop, but a bitcoin’s price before the halving was around $650.3

Though this system has worked so far, the halving is typically surrounded by immense speculation, hype, and volatility, and how the market will react to these events in the future is unpredictable.

The third halving occurred not only during a global pandemic, but also in an environment of heightened regulatory speculation, increased institutional interest in digital assets, and celebrity hype. Given these additional factors, where Bitcoin’s price will ultimately settle in the aftermath remains unclear.

What Happens When Bitcoin Halves?

The term “halving” as it relates to Bitcoin has to do with how many Bitcoin tokens are found in a newly created block.

Back in 2009, when Bitcoin launched, each block contained 50 BTC, but this amount was set to be reduced by 50% roughly every four years.

Today, there have been three halving events, and a block now only contains 6.25 BTC.

When the next halving occurs, a block will only contain 3.125 BTC.

When Have the Halvings Occurred?

The first bitcoin halving occurred on Nov. 28, 2012, after a total of 10,500,000 BTC had been mined. The next occurred on July 9, 2016, and the latest was on May 11, 2020. The next is expected to occur in early 2024.

Why Are the Halvings Occurring Less Than Every Four Years?

The Bitcoin mining algorithm is set with a target of finding new blocks once every 10 minutes.

However, if more miners join the network and add more hashing power, the time to find blocks will decrease.

This is remedied by resetting the mining difficulty (or how hard it is for a computer to solve the mining algorithm) once every two weeks or so to restore a 10-minute target.

As the Bitcoin network has grown exponentially over the past decade, the average time to find a block has consistently remained below 10 minutes (roughly 9.5 minutes).

Does Halving Have Any Effect on the Bitcoin Price?

The price of Bitcoin has risen steadily and significantly from its launch in 2009, when it traded for mere pennies or dollars, to April 2021 when the price of one bitcoin traded for over $63,000.3

Because halving the block reward effectively doubles the cost to miners, who are essentially the producers of bitcoins, it should have a positive impact on price because producers will need to adjust their selling price to their costs.

Empirical evidence does show that Bitcoin prices tend to rise in anticipation of a halvening, often several months prior to the actual event.

What Happens When There Are No More Bitcoins Left in a Block?

Around the year 2140, the last of the 21 million bitcoins ever to be mined will have been mined.

At this point, the halving schedule will cease because there will be no more new bitcoins to be found.

Miners, however, will still be incentivized to continue validating and confirming new transactions on the blockchain because the value of transaction fees paid to miners is expected to rise into the future, the reasons being that a greater transaction volume that has fees will be attached, plus bitcoins will have a greater nominal market value.

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  • Kudos to @ChessurKot
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  • Bitcoin Taproot
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  • AltCoin Stores
    ALT Coin Stores and Services List This page is to promote actual stores and people who sell services for ALTcoins. What is most important, is to spread the word and make people aware of the widespread … Continue reading AltCoin Stores
  • Bitcoin Halving
    Bitcoin Halving What Is a Bitcoin Halving? Bitcoin’s most recent halving occurred on May 11, 2020. To explain what a Bitcoin halving is, we must first explain a bit about how the Bitcoin network operates. … Continue reading Bitcoin Halving
  • Block Reward
    What Is a Block Reward? Bitcoin block rewards are new bitcoins awarded to cryptocurrency miners for being the first to solve a complex math problem and creating a new block of verified bitcoin … Continue reading Block Reward

Calculate Hashes/s

How can I calculate how many hashes I generate per second?

I have a function which generates hashes from a string:

string GenerateHash(string plainText);

I generate as many hashes as possible with 4 threads.

How do I calculate how many hashes (or megahashes) I generate per second?

Your problem breaks down nicely into 3 separate tasks

  1. Sharing a single count variable across threads
  2. Benchmarking thread completion time
  3. Calculating hashes per/second

Sharing a single count variable across threads

public static class GlobalCounter
{ public static int Value { get;
private set;
} public static void Increment()
{ Value =GetNextValue(Value);
} private static int GetNextValue(int curValue) { returnInterlocked.Increment(ref curValue);
} public static void Reset() { Value = 0; } }

Before you spin off the threads call GlobalCounter.Reset and then in each thread (after each successful hash) you would call GlobalCounter.Increment – using Interlocked.X performs atomic operations of Value in a thread-safe manner, it’s also much faster than lock.

Benchmarking thread completion time

var sw = Stopwatch.StartNew(); Parallel.ForEach(someCollection, someValue => 
{ // generate hash GlobalCounter.Increment();
}); sw.Stop();

Parallel.ForEach will block until all threads have finished

Calculating hashes per second

... sw.Stop(); var hashesPerSecond = GlobalCounter.Value / sw.Elapsed.Seconds;

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Bitcoin (BTC) :
1P1tTNFGRZabK65RhqQxVmcMDHQeRX9dJJ

LiteCoin(LTC) :
LYAdiSpsTJ36EWCJ5HF9EGy9iWGCwoLhed

Ethereum(ETH) :
0x602e8Ca3984943cef57850BBD58b5D0A6677D856

EthereumClassic(ETC) :
0x602e8Ca3984943cef57850BBD58b5D0A6677D856

Cardano(ADA)
addr1q88c5cccnrqy6xesszzvf7rd4tcz87klt0m0h6uvltywqe8txwmsrrqdnpq27594tyn9vz59zv0n8367lvyc2atvrzvqlvdm9d

BinanceCoin(BNB)
bnb1wwfnkzs34knsrv2g026t458l0mwp5a3tykeylx

BitcoinCash (BCH)
1P1tTNFGRZabK65RhqQxVmcMDHQeRX9dJJ

BitcoinSV(BSV)
1P1tTNFGRZabK65RhqQxVmcMDHQeRX9dJJ

ZCash(ZEC)
t1fSSQX4gEhove9ngcvFafQaMPq5dtNNsNF

Dash(DASH)
XcWmbFw1VmxEPxvF9CWdjzKXwPyDTrbMwj

Shiba(SHIB)
0x602e8Ca3984943cef57850BBD58b5D0A6677D856

Tron(TRX)
TCsJJkqt9xk1QZWQ8HqZHnqexR15TEowk8

Stellar(XLM)
GBL4UKPHP2SXZ6Y3PRF3VRI5TLBL6XFUABZCZC7S7KWNSBKCIBGQ2Y54

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  • Kudos to @ChessurKot
    I 💚 it so much i had to share it !!! Amazing poster and imagination !!! Shared with 💚 by Free Spirit ✌ & 💚
  • Bitcoin Taproot
    On November 14th, block height 709,632, Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade was activated. The update brings with it improvements to the flexibility, security, and efficiency of bitcoin transactions. And as Bitcoin’s first protocol upgrade in over four years, … Continue reading Bitcoin Taproot
  • AltCoin Stores
    ALT Coin Stores and Services List This page is to promote actual stores and people who sell services for ALTcoins. What is most important, is to spread the word and make people aware of the widespread adoption of the … Continue reading AltCoin Stores
  • Bitcoin Halving
    Bitcoin Halving What Is a Bitcoin Halving? Bitcoin’s most recent halving occurred on May 11, 2020. To explain what a Bitcoin halving is, we must first explain a bit about how the Bitcoin network operates. Bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain, … Continue reading Bitcoin Halving
  • Block Reward
    What Is a Block Reward? Bitcoin block rewards are new bitcoins awarded to cryptocurrency miners for being the first to solve a complex math problem and creating a new block of verified bitcoin transactions. The miners … Continue reading Block Reward

Bitcoin and it’s History

Finance, like most human inventions, is constantly evolving.

In the beginning it was basic: food was traded for livestock, and livestock for resources like wood, or maize. It progressed to precious metal, such as silver and gold. And now, the next step in financial evolution has come to light.

This new form of currency has been constantly evolving over the past decade, developed by an unknown person and maintained by a collective group of the brightest minds in technology.

It’s a new form of money that is created and held digitally, and the most important part, of course, is that no government owns it, or decides its value – the peer-to-peer network community does.

We call this new money, ‘Bitcoin’.

Historically, U.S. currency has been based on gold – you could give a dollar to the bank and receive a set amount back in gold. In contrast, Bitcoin isn’t based on silver or gold – it’s based on mathematical proofs validated by a public ledger called blockchain technology.

Bitcoin is generated through a complex sequence of mathematical formulas that run on computers; the network shares a public ledger using blockchain technologies that record, and validate, every transaction processed.

A single institution, such as the government, does not control the Bitcoin network.

The idea behind the technology has always been – and remains – one of decentralization – that is, remaining completely independent of a central authority, like a bank, a government, or a country.

Anyone can access the open-source software that makes Bitcoin work, and its those individuals interested that maintain it.

But, who invented Bitcoin? Is it a valid and legitimate currency like USD? And why did nobody think of this before?

But before we begin, let’s talk about the creator of Bitcoin – or rather, the anonymous pseudonym that first published a concept.

How Did Bitcoin Start?

There are many questions about Bitcoin, but the most common one to be asked is, “Who created it?”

That answer is not straightforward, because the identity of the creator remains a mystery. All we have is a pseudonym – Satoshi Nakamoto.

The accounts are no longer active; the coins in his wallet have never been spent.

Satoshi Nakamoto has disappeared from the world, or so it would seem.

Fast Company recently published an article suggesting that Satoshi Nakamoto could be a group of people, including Neal King, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry. Apparently, these three people filed for a patent related to secure communication just two months prior to the purchase of the Bitcoin.org domain. Perhaps it’s a coincidence; perhaps it’s not.

What we do have, however, are facts:

  • On October 31st, 2008, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was posted to a cryptography mailing list, published under the name “Satoshi Nakamoto”. The whitepaper outlined the foundation of how Bitcoin would operate.
  • On August 18, 2008, an unknown person or entity registered the Bitcoin.org domain.
  • On January 8th, 2009, the first version of Bitcoin is announced, and shortly thereafter, Bitcoin mining begins.

The mystery that surrounds Satoshi Nakamoto is fitting; privacy was a key value for both Bitcoin, and its users.

Others have tried to claim his mantle – most recently an Australian man named Craig Wright, who has since withdrawn his claim.

While we may never know who first created Bitcoin, we do know that the technology he started has left ripples in the financial industry.

Bitcoin has risen to fame thanks to individuals such as the Winklevoss twins controlling and growing the market, and major events that have defined this new technology’s existence such as the Mt. Gox Ponzi scheme disaster.

The people involved and the events that occur are a constant reminder that this market is unregulated and seem to fall in line with Satoshi Nakamoto’s goal of creating a decentralized network.

What is Bitcoin Used For?

Currency must have value to ensure stability.

The most common way for a person to judge a currency’s value is what they can use it on; Bitcoin is no different, and a host of vendors and merchants now accept it alongside, or in place of, fiat money.

One early adopter of Bitcoin was the computer retailer Dell. In fact, when Dell started accepting Bitcoin, it became one of the largest companies to do so internationally.

While the digital currency may total for just a fraction of the retailer’s total transaction volume, there are other key reasons why the growth of Bitcoin could be aboon for the retailer.

Dell reported earnings of $59 billion during 2015. Traditional transaction fees range from 2 to 3 percent of the purchase price – with Bitcoin, it’s much, much lower, nearing non-existent – saving the retailer a lot of money in the future.

Other companies, such as Expedia and Cheapair, have also started accepting Bitcoin, along with technology conglomerate Microsoft : users can add funds to their accounts with Bitcoin to purchase apps, games, and other types of digital content.

The acceptance of Bitcoin is a strategic decision on the part of these companies, most of which are reaching out to solidify their position with tech-savvy audiences.

There’s a lot of benefit to Bitcoin, and a variety of reasons for its use, including :

  • Faster Payment: Accepting wire transfers and checks is time consuming, and it can take several days for payment to clear. Bitcoin is faster and can take a matter of minutes, rather than days to process payment.
  • Lower Transaction Fees: The cost to accept Bitcoins is lower compared to other payment methods, such as credit cards or Paypal.
  • Independent of Governments: Since Bitcoin is decentralized, you own it – no authority has the right to take away your Bitcoin. People with concerns about mainstream banking systems unravelling find this a major benefit.
  • Elimination of Chargebacks: Once Bitcoin is sent, that’s it – you can’t chargeback, like you would with a credit card payment, which eliminates ‘chargeback fraud’ often used by criminals and scammers.
  • Protection Against Inflation: With a fiat currency, the government can print as much money as it desires – this drastically decreases the value of currency, and may result in inflation. In contrast, Bitcoin has a fixed number – after they have all been ‘mined’, no more Bitcoins will be created. Scarcity is an important aspect of currency which protects it from inflation.
  • Ownership of Currency: With Bitcoin, you own your coins. With other forms of digital fiat – such as Paypal – your assets may be held, and your account eventually suspending, locking you out of your earnings. Bitcoin puts you in control.

Is Bitcoin a Commodity, or a Currency?

Bitcoin is both. While it can be used to purchase items from major retailers, it’s also treated as property by government jurisdictions, such as the IRS.

The IRS issued a guide on Bitcoin for tax purposes, stating it will treat virtual currencies as property for federal purposes. They go on to state that:

In some environments, virtual currency operates like “real” currency — i.e., the coin and paper money of the United States or of any other country that is designated as legal tender, circulates, and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance — but it does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.

The notice provides that virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes.

Typically, property is almost always something tangible that can be held in the physical realm.

The IRS goes on to state that:

General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency. Among other things, this means that:

  • Wages paid to employees using virtual currency are taxable to the employee, must be reported by an employer on a Form W-2, and are subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes.
  • Payments using virtual currency made to independent contractors and other service providers are taxable and self-employment tax rules generally apply. Normally, payers must issue Form 1099.
  • The character of gain or loss from the sale or exchange of virtual currency depends on whether the virtual currency is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.
  • A payment made using virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property.

In addition to the IRS’s guidance, the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission in 2015 that Bitcoin is, in fact, a commodity.

The Future of Currency

Bitcoin has garnered a lot of attention over the past decade, despite constant declarations of its death – 99 Bitcoins keeps a running tab of ‘Bitcoin obituaries’.

Despite all of this, Bitcoin’s future has remained bright. Greater adoption rates, and an increasing number of brands accepting the currency (you can get a full list qui) means the long-term view on Bitcoin is that it will see market maturity as time progresses.

Mainstream investing vehicles, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Futures trading, including Bitcoin will be a major help to reaching that market maturity. Bitcoin Futures are already trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and legislation to create a crypto ETF is in the works.

These securities will help stabilize cryptocurrency prices and mitigate volatility, which will help the public’s confidence grow in favor of Bitcoin.

It’s important to understand that, much like the early days of 1992, Bitcoin is a new technology – and new technologies can take decades to reach critical mass.

But, much like the Internet, no one wants to miss out on the ‘next big thing’ – and Bitcoin is the biggest thing yet. Constant updates are occurring to Bitcoin thanks to what is called a “hard fork”.

These constant updates ensure that digital currencies continue to experience growth through technological development.


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If so, please consider a donation to help the evolution and development of more helpful articles in the future, and show your support for alternative articles.

Your generosity is 💚 ly appreciated

You can donate in any crypto your 💚 desires 😊

Thank you all for your time !!!

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Bitcoin (BTC) :

1P1tTNFGRZabK65RhqQxVmcMDHQeRX9dJJ

LiteCoin(LTC) :

LYAdiSpsTJ36EWCJ5HF9EGy9iWGCwoLhed

Ethereum(ETH) :

0x602e8Ca3984943cef57850BBD58b5D0A6677D856

EthereumClassic(ETC) :

0x602e8Ca3984943cef57850BBD58b5D0A6677D856

Cardano(ADA) :

addr1q88c5cccnrqy6xesszzvf7rd4tcz87klt0m0h6uvltywqe8txwmsrrqdnpq27594tyn9vz59zv0n8367lvyc2atvrzvqlvdm9d

BinanceCoin(BNB) :

bnb1wwfnkzs34knsrv2g026t458l0mwp5a3tykeylx

BitcoinCash(BCH)

1P1tTNFGRZabK65RhqQxVmcMDHQeRX9dJJ

BitcoinSV(BSV)

1P1tTNFGRZabK65RhqQxVmcMDHQeRX9dJJ

ZCash(ZEC) :

t1fSSQX4gEhove9ngcvFafQaMPq5dtNNsNF

Dash(DASH) :

XcWmbFw1VmxEPxvF9CWdjzKXwPyDTrbMwj

Shiba(SHIB) :

0x602e8Ca3984943cef57850BBD58b5D0A6677D856

Tron(TRX) :

TCsJJkqt9xk1QZWQ8HqZHnqexR15TEowk8

Stellar(XLM) :

GBL4UKPHP2SXZ6Y3PRF3VRI5TLBL6XFUABZCZC7S7KWNSBKCIBGQ2Y54

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BitAddress

Open Source JavaScript Client-Side Bitcoin Wallet Generator

A Bitcoin wallet is as simple as a single pairing of a Bitcoin address with its corresponding Bitcoin private key. Such a wallet has been generated for you in your web browser and is displayed above.

To safeguard this wallet you must print or otherwise record the Bitcoin address and private key. It is important to make a backup copy of the private key and store it in a safe location. This site does not have knowledge of your private key. If you are familiar with PGP you can download this all-in-one HTML page and check that you have an authentic version from the author of this site by matching the SHA256 hash of this HTML with the SHA256 hash available in the signed version history document linked on the footer of this site. If you leave/refresh the site or press the “Generate New Address” button then a new private key will be generated and the previously displayed private key will not be retrievable. Your Bitcoin private key should be kept a secret. Whomever you share the private key with has access to spend all the bitcoins associated with that address. If you print your wallet then store it in a zip lock bag to keep it safe from water. Treat a paper wallet like cash.

Add funds to this wallet by instructing others to send bitcoins to your Bitcoin address.

Check your balance by going to blockchain.info or blockexplorer.com and entering your Bitcoin address.

Spend your bitcoins by going to blockchain.info and sweep the full balance of your private key into your account at their website. You can also spend your funds by downloading one of the popular bitcoin p2p clients and importing your private key to the p2p client wallet. Keep in mind when you import your single key to a bitcoin p2p client and spend funds your key will be bundled with other private keys in the p2p client wallet. When you perform a transaction your change will be sent to another bitcoin address within the p2p client wallet. You must then backup the p2p client wallet and keep it safe as your remaining bitcoins will be stored there. Satoshi advised that one should never delete a wallet.

Source:

https://www.bitaddress.org/

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