Welcome to the exciting world of Bitcoin, the world’s first digital, decentralized currency. You are now the proud owner of 0.001 BTC, which might not seem like a lot today but has the potential to be very valuable in the future. This quick guide will help you import your bitcoins from the paper wallet into a web wallet. You will need Internet access and a webcam.
- Make an account on Coinbase. Coinbase is a free service that allows you to access your bitcoins from anywhere, as well as buy and sell bitcoins via any US bank account. It also has merchant tools to make it easy to accept payments or donations in Bitcoin. Be sure to take full advantage of their security features, especially two-factor authentication.
- Click on Account Settings (left sidebar) and then Integrations (top bar).
- Click Import A Paper Wallet.
- When you are ready to import, scratch off a security sticker on one of the “Secret/Spend” squares. This QR code is your private key that gives you and no one else access to these bitcoins. Click Scan Private Key.
- Put the QR code in front of the webcam and wait for it to scan. A notification will appear when the QR code is recognized.
- Check the box acknowledging that the bitcoins will be imported into your Coinbase account and click Import Now.
- When the keys are finished importing, another notification will appear, and your balance will be updated upon refresh.
- Hoard! It could be worth a lot one day.
The steps above are very similar on another popular web wallet service, Blockchain.info. You can check the balance of your paper wallet at any time by scanning the Deposit/Verify QR code and looking up that address on Blockchain.info. If the security sticker is tampered, verify that your balance is correct and import immediately.
A Note About Web Wallets
Bitcoin is a decentralized protocol using public-key cryptography. Whoever has access to your private key has full ability to spend your bitcoins. Because of this, using a third party actually adds risk instead of removing it. Only store nominal amounts of bitcoins with third party wallets, and use more secure desktop and offline wallets to hold the rest. You can learn more about Bitcoin and wallet options here. Also check out the Bitcoin wiki.
Welcome to the new digital economy.
Special thanks to Andreas Antonopolous of Let’s Talk Bitcoin! for the Safe Paper Wallet kit and reddit user /u/hardleft121 for the generous Bitcoin donation.
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