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I want to buy bitcoins. How do I get a bitcoin address?

You should see a bitcoin address as a bitcoin bank account number, where you are your own bank. Anyone can create unlimited amounts of new addresses. Every bitcoin address comes with a unique access code (private key) with which you can spend bitcoins. These are too large to remember and too complicated to use, which is why you usually manage your private keys in a so-called Bitcoin wallet.

There are many different ways to get a bitcoin address:

  • If you don’t have issues trusting a third party, an online wallet is the easiest way to get an address. We advise you to only keep small amounts of bitcoins in an online wallet.
  • If you want to manage your own bitcoins you can download wallet software. The Bitcoin-core wallet is the most ‘robust’ and by using this wallet you contribute to the maintenance of the Bitcoin network. The disadvantage is that it requires a lot of computing power and disk space on your computer and it can take hours up to several days before it is ready for use. If you want to spend your bitcoins right away, this might not be the best option. There are other, lightweight, clients that do not require full synchronization. For example, Electrum.
  • There are several apps available for smartphones. These are especially useful if you regularly make bitcoin payments. Our advice: only use these apps for small payments, do not carry more bitcoins (in overall value) than you would carry in cash. Losing (access to) your phone means losing the bitcoins stored on the phone.
  • If you are planning on saving your bitcoins for a longer period of time you can use a paper wallet. You store your bitcoins offline, which gives the added benefit that hackers and/or malware cannot get to them. If you decide to sell or spend your bitcoins, there are several websites or wallets where you can import the private key. However, it is complicated and this is not (yet) possible with Bitonic.
  • Another way is to store your bitcoins offline by using a USB-device (hardware wallet). These are easier to use than paper wallets, but do require some investment.

For more information and an overview of available wallets: bitcoin.org: Choose your wallet.