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As a new user, you can get started with Bitcoin without understanding the technical details. Once you have installed a Bitcoin wallet on your computer or mobile phone, it will generate your first Bitcoin address and you can create more whenever you need one.

You can disclose your addresses to your friends so that they can pay you or vice versa. In fact, this is pretty similar to how email works, except that Bitcoin addresses should only be used once. The block chain is a shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies.

All confirmed transactions are included in the block chain. This way, Bitcoin wallets can calculate their spendable balance and new transactions can be verified to be spending bitcoins that are actually owned by the spender.

The integrity and the chronological order public key private key bitcoin stock price the block chain are enforced with cryptography. A transaction is a transfer of value between Bitcoin wallets that gets included in the block chain. Bitcoin wallets keep a secret piece of data called a private key or seed, which is used to sign transactions, providing a mathematical proof that they have come from the owner of the wallet.

The signature also prevents the transaction from being altered by anybody once it has been issued. All transactions are broadcast between users and usually begin to be confirmed by the network in the following 10 minutes, through a process called mining.

Mining is a distributed consensus system that is used to confirm waiting transactions by including them in the block chain. It enforces a chronological order in the block chain, protects the neutrality of the network, and public key private key bitcoin stock price different computers to agree on the state of the system.

To be confirmed, transactions must be packed in a block that fits very strict cryptographic rules that will be verified by public key private key bitcoin stock price network. These rules prevent previous blocks from being modified because doing so would invalidate all following blocks. Mining also creates the equivalent of a competitive lottery that prevents any individual from easily adding new blocks consecutively in the block chain.

This way, no individuals can control what is included in the block chain or replace parts of the block chain to roll back their own spends. This is only a very short and concise summary of the system. If you want to get into the public key private key bitcoin stock price, you can read the original public key private key bitcoin stock price that describes the system's design, read the developer documentationand explore the Bitcoin wiki.

How does Bitcoin work? This is a question that often causes confusion. Here's a quick explanation! The basics for a new user As a new user, you can get started with Bitcoin without understanding the technical details. Balances - block chain The block chain is a shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies. Transactions - private keys A transaction is a transfer of value between Bitcoin wallets that gets included in the block chain.

Processing - mining Mining is a distributed consensus system that is used to confirm waiting transactions by including them in the block chain. Going down the rabbit hole This is only a very short and concise summary of the system.

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This article may be too technical for some users. The more basic article on Bitcoin Addresses may be more appropriate. Using public-key cryptography , you can "sign" data with your private key and anyone who knows your public key can verify that the signature is valid. A new keypair is generated for each receiving address with newer HD wallets , this is done deterministically. The public key and their associated private keys or the seed needed to generate them are stored in the wallet data file.

This is the only file users should need to backup. A "send" transaction to a specific Bitcoin address requires that the corresponding wallet knows the private key implementing it. This has the implication that if you create an address and receive coins to that address, then restore the wallet from an earlier backup, before the address was generated, then the coins received with that address are lost; this is not an issue for HD wallets where all addresses are generated from a single seed.

Addresses are added to an address key pool prior to being used for receiving coins. If you lose your wallet entirely, all of your coins are lost and can never be recovered. Bitcoin allows you to create as many addresses as you want, and use a new one for every transaction. There is no "master address": It's only there for your convenience, and it should change automatically when used.

Bitcoin addresses contain a built-in check code, so it's generally not possible to send Bitcoins to a mistyped address. However, if the address is well-formed but no one owns it or the owner lost their wallet. Hash values and the checksum data are converted to an alpha-numeric representation using a custom scheme: Under Base58Check, addresses can contain all alphanumeric characters except 0, O, I, and l.

Normal addresses currently always start with 1 addresses from script hashes use 3 , though this might change in a future version. Testnet addresses usually start with m or n. Mainline addresses can be characters in length, and testnet addresses can be characters in length. Most addresses are 33 or 34 characters long. Since Bitcoin addresses are basically random numbers, it is possible, although extremely unlikely, for two people to independently generate the same address.

This is called a collision. If this happens, then both the original owner of the address and the colliding owner could spend money sent to that address. It would not be possible for the colliding person to spend the original owner's entire wallet or vice versa. As long as the signing and hashing algorithms remain cryptographically strong, it will likely always be more profitable to collect generations and transaction fees than to try to create collisions, as demonstrated by projects like the Large Bitcoin Collider which attempt to generate address collisions.

It is more likely that the Earth is destroyed in the next 5 seconds, than that a collision occur in the next millenium.

This is the byte binary Bitcoin Address. This is the most commonly used Bitcoin Address format. Retrieved from " https: Technical Bitcoin Core documentation. Navigation menu Personal tools Create account Log in. Views Read View source View history. Sister projects Essays Source. This page was last edited on 6 June , at Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution 3. Privacy policy About Bitcoin Wiki Disclaimers.