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July 14, 2015

How to use Bitcoin on your Personal Computer: An Easy Guide to Electrum Wallet

 

Electrum User Manual

Overview: what is a Bitcoin wallet?

A Bitcoin wallet is a software or application which lets you use the Bitcoin payment network and helps you manage your Bitcoin currency. Just like you need an email application (like “Gmail”, “Yahoo” or “Hotmail”) to send and receive emails, you need a Bitcoin wallet to send and receive bitcoins.

Specifically, the Bitcoin wallet manages your Bitcoin addresses and private keys. With the wallet, you can store and spend your bitcoins. The Bitcoin address, to which is associated your Bitcoin balance, is your identity on the Bitcoin network. The private key allows you to spend Bitcoins from that address. They can both be represented either as a string of letters and numbers or a QR code. In other words, the Bitcoin wallet is the interface through which you access the Bitcoin network.

Remember: being the owner of bitcoins means being in possession of their associated private key or seed. You should always make a back-up of your wallet’s seed in case you lose access to your Bitcoin wallet (e.g. lost password, lost phone). You can do so by simply writing it down on a piece of paper. A seed normally consists of a string of randomly generated words

This manual will show you how to create and secure an Electrum Wallet on your desktop and how to send and receive payments.

Creating your Electrum Wallet

  1. Go to https://electrum.org/#download and download the appropriate version for your operating system

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  1. Open electrum and choose “create new wallet”
    1. Choose either standard wallet (encrypted with a password) or
    2. Two factor authentication (encrypted with password and two-factor authentication)

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  1. Write down the recovery phrase they give you
    1. This phrase can be used to restore your wallet on any computer (in case of device theft or loss)
    2. If you lose this phrase you will not be able to recover your wallet
    3. You can always find this phrase under Wallet –> Seed

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  1. Create a password
    1. You will need to enter this password to send bitcoin or to see your recovery phrase
    2. Without this password, you do not have the ability to send bitcoin (your bitcoin cannot leave your wallet without this password so do not lose it
    3. Your Electrum Wallet is now created and ready for use!

Sending Payments

  1. To send a payment, open up your Electrum Wallet and go to the send tab

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  1. Fill out the relevant information
    1. Pay to: enter the recipient’s bitcoin address
    2. Description: (optional) description of the transaction
    3. Amount: the amount in BTC or mBTC (can be changed under toolsàpreferences)
  2. Click send and you will be prompted to enter your password
  3. Enter your password and click send
  4. Your transaction has now been sent, you can check your transactions under the history tab

Receiving Payments

  1. To receive a payment open up your Electrum Wallet and go to the receive tab

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  1. (optional) Enter an amount to request

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  1. Share your bitcoin address with the sender
    1. If they have a QR code scanner, let them scan your QR code (found on the right side of the receive tab)
    2. If they do not have a QR code scanner, give them your receiving address

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  1. If you have requested a specific amount, the sender will be prompted to send that amount, otherwise the sender will have to manually enter the amount to send
  1. Wait for the sender to send the funds
  2. You can check to make sure you have received the funds by going to the history tab
  • NOTE: you will not be able to send funds you have just received until you have received a confirmation (approx. 10 minutes)