Managing Bitcoin is done using a so called Bitcoin wallet, or wallet for short.
There are many programs that will let you create and manage wallets.
I use Copay to manage my Bitcoin, because it’s simple, user friendly, secure and works well.
It’s a great way to get started with Bitcoin.
Keep reading to learn how to send & receive your first Bitcoin!
1. Download & Install Copay
Download Copay and install it.
No need to create an online account on the BitPay website.
2. Copay Main Screen
When you launch Copay, it will show you the main screen.
If you install Copay for the first time, it will show your Personal Wallet with no funds.
Click “+” if you want to add a new wallet.
3. Add Wallet
Here you can add a wallet.
It can be a new wallet, or an imported wallet.
Since you’re new to Copay, you have no existing wallets that you could import.
Create a new wallet by by clicking “New personal wallet“.
4. New Wallet
Provide a name for your wallet.
Don’t worry about the advanced options just yet.
Click “Create new wallet”.
5. New Wallet Added
You can see a new wallet is now added.
Click on it.
6. Wallet Not Backed Up Yet
Copay will tell you the wallet hasn’t been backed up yet.
Before you do anything, back up your wallet first.
Backing up your wallet allows you to import it later on, on any device where you have installed Copay.
Click “Wallet not backed up yet”.
7. 12 Word Recovery Phrase
Copay will now provide you with a 12 word recovery phrase.
Just so long as you have access to this 12 word recovery phrase, you will always be able to access your Bitcoin wallet.
These 12 words are the master key to your Bitcoin, so store these safely somewhere so that only you can access them.
8. 12 Word Recovery Phrase Verification
On the next screen, you will have to verify that you have written down your 12 word recovery phrase correctly.
9. 12 Word Recovery Phrase Verification Confirmation
If you’ve verified your 12 word recovery phrase correctly, then Copay will confirm this to you.
10. Select Wallet For Receiving
Let’s look at the receive address in your wallet.
In the bottom menu, click “Receive” and choose your wallet.
One such string of “random” characters is one of your Bitcoin receive address.
Anybody, including you yourself, can send Bitcoin to this address.
Clicking a receive address will instantly copy it to your clipboard.
This is so you won’t make a typing error and provide a wrong receive address, when you are giving it to somebody that wants to send you Bitcoin.
11. Encrypting Your Local Wallet Files
Before sending any Bitcoin, it is important that you set a spending password.
A spending password will encrypt your local Bitcoin wallet files.
This prevents a thief, who has stolen the physical device on which your Copay Bitcoin wallet remains, from spending your Bitcoin.
Once you’ve set a spending password, you will have to provide it every time you want to send Bitcoin.
This is extremely important!!!
Uninstalling Copay does not remove your wallet files.
A thief who steals your device and reinstalls Copay, will have instant access to your Bitcoin wallet and can transfer it wherever he likes.
Given the fact that Bitcoin is completely decentralized and that transactions cannot be reversed, there’s a 99.9999% chance you’ll never see your Bitcoin again.
It’s okay if you lose your spending password.
You can always recover your Bitcoin wallet, just so long as you are holding onto your 12 word recovery phrase.
The spending passwords only encrypts your local Bitcoin wallet files.
If you ever access the same Bitcoin wallet on another device, you’ll have to set a spending password on that particular device, too!
12. Set Spending Password
Click “Request Spending Password”.
13. Create Spending Password
Create a spending password.
Do yourself a big favor and generate a strong password.
Keep in mind that a strong password is a string of random characters.
You can’t memorize this easily, so don’t bother.
You’ll have to store it somewhere safe.
14. Confirm Spending Password
Confirm the spending password you have just created.
You are now all set up to send & receive Bitcoin!