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The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Bitcoin Cash: Part 1
If you're new to Bitcoin Cash and don't know where to start, here's a simple guide put together by someone who was in your shoes not long ago. There's obviously no right or wrong way to go about this, but I was hoping this article could be an easy first step.
Before we begin, keep in mind this article isn't going to teach you how Bitcoin Cash works on a technical level. This is meant to be a practical guide to introduce non-technical users (aka normies). If you're looking for more than what's laid out here, then you're going to have to fall down the rabbit hole all on your own.
With all that said, I highly recommend you read Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper. It's the one thing any cryptocurrency enthusiast should do. Even if you're not technical, it's only 9 pages long, and you will hopefully understand just enough to get a basic idea of how bitcoin works. Here's a link.
Okay, step one is to go ahead and get yourself some Bitcoin Cash to play with.
This doesn't mean you need to go and sign up for an exchange and buy some BCH. You can probably get some for free from any number of places like here on read.cash, memo.cash, or even on Twitter or Reddit. How? From other people (as in peer to peer). For example, if you leave a comment below telling me you're new to Bitcoin Cash and how you first heard about it, I'll gladly tip your comment a small amount so you can experience "magic internet money" for yourself.
Once you've got your hands on some satoshis (the smallest unit in bitcoin), now it's time to download a wallet. Technically, you already have one through read.cash, but I'm talking about a separate wallet not connected to your browser. This would be an app that you download to your phone. I suggest the Bitcoin.com wallet since it's available on both Apple and Android devices. Simply go into the App store or Google Play store and type in Bitcoin. One of the first apps you should see is this:
Once the app has downloaded, open it and you're going to see the first screen in the panel below. Press the "Receive" button on top and you'll get the screen on the right. The QR code is a graphical representation of a public wallet address, which is the long combination of letters and numbers below the QR code that starts with "qpu0...".
Pro tip: whenever you see these kinds of addresses, it's always the number 0, never the letter o, and always the letter l, never the number 1. Always zeros and ells.
So now that you have your wallet address, go ahead and copy this onto your clipboard by tapping either the qr code or the alphanumeric below it. Now on read.cash, go to your account info and find the option for "Send your money". Click on that. You'll be asked for how much you want to send, and an address. If you're using read.cash on your phone, you can simply paste the address you copied earlier. Otherwise, you'll have to type out the address yourself on your computer. It looks long but it takes less than a minute. Now hit send, and voila, the money should now be on your new bitcoin.com wallet app. Go and see for yourself.
The app itself is pretty straight forward for basic functions like sending and receiving, but there are some more advanced features you might need help with. I recommend downloading the wallet on two phones (use a friend's or spouse's) and you can check out what it's like to send the money back and forth instantly. The fee is only a fraction of a cent so even with ten cents worth you can send it back and forth dozens of times.
Pro tip: notice the app never asked you for your name, or email address, or your phone number. It has no idea who you are. This is what privacy is like.
So what happens to your money if you lose your phone? Nothing. Hopefully your phone is password protected so nobody can unlock it and just do whatever they want. And if so, all you need to do is recover your wallet on any replacement phone. Now this is important, so let me walk you through this.
Scroll up to the picture above. See in the right panel that red band on top that says: "Wallet not backed up". That's telling you to back up your wallet. Click on the red band and you'll see the first screen in the image below. Click "Backup now." What comes next are two warning screens. The first green one will warn you to make sure no one is looking at your screen over your shoulder or on a camera. (My screenshots are cut off so you're not seeing the whole message below.)
Press "Got it" and another warning appears telling you not to take a screenshot since it's less secure. They prefer you write it down and store it in a safe place that's not hackable. (Honestly, if you're not holding onto a lot of money on this wallet, screenshots are probably fine. Gives you a backup on the cloud in case you ever lose or break your phone.)
Once you press "I understand" you are taken to the last screen with 12 words like above. This is your 12 word seed phrase. It allows you to retrieve your funds on any phone just by inputting those 12 words into a newly downloaded wallet. Here's how.
On any new phone download the same bitcoin.com wallet from the beginning of this article. Once you've done that, open the wallet and you see that same first screen we saw before. But instead of hitting "Receive", this time you press the little + sign next to Bitcoin Cash (BCH). After that you'll see the other screen below with the various options of what you can do. Press "Import wallet".
When you do, you'll see the screen above asking you to enter the 12 words you saved previously. Type those 12 words and then press "Import". Finally, on the following screen you'll find the wallet now has the original "My BCH Wallet" you had before, and below it the "Personal Wallet" you've just recovered, which should have all your funds and a record of all past transactions. I suggest sending all the funds out of there and into your new "My BCH Wallet" (which you can rename) since your old phone still has the 12 word seed phrase on it. Just make sure to back up this wallet like you did the first one and you're good to go. Money is safu.