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Bitcoin is a digital currency system which does for money what email did for written communication. Additionally, the mechanism by which Bitcoins are created guarantees that it cannot be faked or counterfeited.
No banks or governments can devalue the currency by printing more of it. The entire schedule of Bitcoin generation was publicly announced in and cannot be changed. What makes Bitcoin unique from other digital currencies is that there is no central authority — a property that experts previously thought was impossible for a currency system!
The network is maintained simultaneously by all users of it at any given time, often through bitcoin cloud mining , driven by a mathematical algorithm that ensures all users can agree on the ownership of all Bitcoins at all times without a central clearinghouse — even in the presence of slow network connections and malicious users.
In many ways, Bitcoin resembles gold: It has value because people are willing to trade other things of value for it. Put all this together, and you have a currency system with an unmatched level of transparency, efficiency, incorruptibility and theoretical stability. Using Bitcoin is like being able to send gold bars over email — but much more secure than email! However, Bitcoin is still in its infancy, so its actual stability is quite volatile until infrastructure is built up around it and the economy starts leveraging it for its these unique qualities.
One core piece of infrastructure needed in the world of Bitcoin, is the ability of users and especially businesses to maintain their bitcoin funds in a way that minimizes risk of theft, but is still usable for conducting trade. Armory was designed from the ground up to give users the best of both worlds — it focuses first on maximizing security, and then provides a well thought-out interface to make using this security as simple as possible. Many users regard it as the only way for those with a significant investment in Bitcoin to use and protect their funds.
Beyond security and usability, Armory simply implements more features than any other Bitcoin client available. No special process is needed to upgrade Armory. Simply download the latest version and install it. The wallets and settings are kept separate from the executable files, so they will be untouched through a reinstall cycle. Of course, you should always maintain a paper backup of your wallet as it protects you from a variety of things that go wrong.
In fact, Armory did this to provide consistency to the users. All Armory source code can be found on GitHub. It is also found on other parts of the internet intended for archiving and saving this kind of information, such as GoogleCode and Amazon Web Services. Not only that, but the algorithm for converting your paper backup to your signing keys is publicly available, and could easily be implemented in other applications without needing Armory. You can open message signing and sign a message using the private key, while sharing the public key that holds the balance.
By doing this, it proves you have access. For example, an exchange or vault can have full access to their customers private keys - but they are just custodians holding the keys.
If you need to authorize some action, sign a message authorizing that action with your private key. Armory developers are working non-stop on advanced bitcoin features to include multi-signature transactions, lite versions, offline wallet options, and even mobile integration.
Our primary focus is on building a foundation that supports the growing needs of our user base. A paper backup does not just protect the coins in your wallet , it protects the identity signing keys used to authorize transfers from your wallet. This is why we are so aggressive about getting our users to make paper backups: Be aware that Bitcoin Core and Multibit do not implement this forever-backup feature at the time of this writing.
Your Bitcoin Core or Multibit wallets really do need to be backed up periodically, and it is not always obvious when it needs to be done. This is one of the features that inspired Armory and remains one of the primary reasons people choose Armory over other wallet apps. However, the entire amount does not go to Bob. Instead, when the transaction was created, the Armory client automatically created the new unused [[ Change received ]] address for Alice because she is owed 8 BTC back in excess payment.
The change address is important because sending coins back to the original address reduces your privacy. In other words, if you have exact change. Change addresses are a normal part of wallet operation, and are intended to be mostly transparent to the user. They should not be treated differently than any other addresses. Bitcoin is decentralized so there is no central authority that determines the validity of transactions.
For instance, if two people swipe the same debit card at two different stores, the bank that issued the debit cards decides which one to accept if funds are only available for one. Bitcoin does not have a central authority, and thus cannot make instantaneous decisions like that. However, Bitcoin does have a mechanism for resolving this problem, it just takes time for the network to reach a consensus about it.
Every confirmation your transaction receives is more confidence that your transaction will ultimately be accepted by the network. Each confirmation takes an average of 10 minutes. It is a good idea to wait at least six confirmations for any important transactions, though two or more is sufficient for small to medium-sized transactions.
Most zero-confirmation transactions will become final, but there are no guarantees! Use the following list as a guideline for how to treat transactions:. If you are accepting transactions that are big enough to change your life, it is recommended you even wait 10 or 20 confirmations.
Each bitcoin or fragment of belongs to a cryptographic private key , which is an digit number that is essentially impossible to guess. Bitcoins cannot be transferred unless the holder of the private key uses it to create a digital signature authorizing the transaction.
Every Bitcoin address you ever give to other users, corresponds to a different private key in your wallet, and you are the only person on the planet who has access to those private keys. This means two things:. Bitcoin transaction fees are a confusing topic, and understanding exactly how they work requires bit of technical background on how Bitcoin transactions work.
And most of these properties are invisible to you and out of your control. Luckily, these fees are usually no more than 0. There are a few observable things that will require a fee, which you may be able to avoid:.
In the world of heavy computing, researchers are always looking for ways to crunch numbers faster. In the past few years, it has become popular to use video cards — normally used for playing graphics-heavy computer games — because their graphics processing units GPUs can parallelize many types of computation and get x to x speed-up compared to using CPUs.
While GPUs are not good at every kind of computation, they have proven to be quite useful for brute-forcing encryption passwords! For this reason, the encryption scheme used to protect Armory wallets was designed to be difficult for GPUs to perform. Specifically, GPUs can perform many cryptographic operations very quickly, but have only a tiny amount of memory to work with. A few very talented Bitcoin experts were able to piece together offline tools for their own use, but no solutions existed for the average Bitcoin user.
Armory innovated access to Cold Storage. This watching-only wallet functions exactly like a regular wallet, but it does not contain any private data, and thus cannot spend your Bitcoins making it useless for an attacker. However, it does let you generate new addresses, and verify incoming payments the same way a regular wallet does.
The transaction can then be brought back to the online computer to be broadcast finalized. More information can be found on our Cold Storage page. However, the Bitcoin network supports much more complicated transactions that require the signatures of multiple people before the funds can be transferred. These are often referred to as M-of-N transactions. Here are some examples:. Husband and wife petty cash account — the signature of either spouse is sufficient to spend the funds.
Husband and wife savings account — both signatures are required to spend the funds, preventing one spouse from spending the money without the approval of the other. One wallet is on your primary computer, the other on your smartphone — the funds cannot be spent without a signature from both devices.
Thus, an attacker must gain access to both devices in order to steal your funds much more difficult than one device. A board of three directors maintaining funds for their organization — those funds cannot be spent unless any two of those directors agrees. Bigger multi-signature transactions are possible for bigger organizations, such as 3-of-5, 5-of-9, etc.
If transaction goes smoothly, then both buyer and seller sign the transaction to forward the money to the seller. If something goes wrong, they can sign a transaction to refund the buyer. If they cannot agree, they both appeal to the third-party who will arbitrate and provide a second signature to the party that it deems deserves it. Why Is It So Inconsistent?
For reference, the following is the default location for the Armory wallets and settings: Use the following list as a guideline for how to treat transactions: This means two things: If you lose your wallet, the coins you own are lost forever solution: If someone else gains access to your unencrypted wallet, they can steal all of your Bitcoins!
There are a few observable things that will require a fee, which you may be able to avoid: Sending less than 0. If it was not discouraged, someone could take 1. If you recently received coins and then immediately attempt to send those new coins to someone else or yourself , the network will require a fee. Without this fee, a user with 1.
Transactions that combine lots of previous transactions. If you receive separate transactions of 0. Very large transactions will require 0. If your wallet mainly receives lots of small transactions, your outgoing transactions will require a fee more often than not. What Are Multi-Signature Transactions? Here are some examples: Husband and wife savings account — both signatures are required to spend the funds, preventing one spouse from spending the money without the approval of the other 2-of