1. Introduction
  2. Bitcoins, What Are They?
  3. Bitcoin vs other means of exchange
  4. How to use Bitcoin
  5. Buying Bitcoins
  6. Selling Bitcoins
  7. Bitcoins ATMs & Debit Cards
  8. Appx. 1 – A History of Cryptocurrency
  9. Appx. 2 – Bitcoin Legality & Regulations
  10. Glossary



Alphabay – Darknet marketplace. Launched in 2014, said to be connected to the Russian mafia, known for selling stolen Uber accounts, uses the cryptocurrency Monero, a Bitcoin rival.

AML – Anti-money laundering. Refers to the legal regulations concerning financial transactions designed to prevent money laundering.

Apple Pay – e-Money payment system using a mobile wallet on your iPhone.

Armory – Full desktop Bitcoin wallet.

Arms Export Control Act – 1996 law allowing the U.S. president to control the export of weapons. Used to threaten PGP founder Phil Zimmermann.

Arthur Scherbius – German inventor of the Enigma machine.



Benjamin M. Lawsky – New York State Superintendent of Financial Services. Regulator who lead the charge to regulate Bitcoin and other virtual currencies by creating the BitLicense.

BEP – Bureau of Engraving and Printing, prints U.S. dollars under the supervision of the U.S. Treasury.

BitBargain – Peer-to-peer online Bitcoin market to buy and sell Bitcoin based in the UK.

Bitcoin Core – The original Bitcoin client. Includes a wallet and the entire blockchain.

Bitcoin exchange – A physical or virtual brokerage house that connects Bitcoin buyers and sellers for a fee.

Bitcoin OTC – Peer-to-peer online Bitcoin market to buy and sell Bitcoin, internet based.

Bitcoiners – Bitcoin aficionados.

Bitcointalk.org – Peer-to-peer online Bitcoin market to buy and sell Bitcoin, internet based.

Bitcoin ATM – Kiosks at which to buy Bitcoin. Approximately 40% also give local currency for Bitcoin.

Bitfinex – Bitcoin exchange hacked for $60 million in 2016.

BitLicense – License issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services for institutions and businesses to trade in Bitcoin.

BitPlastic – The first Bitcoin debit card.

BitTorrent – A communications protocol used to transmit files over the internet, responsible for 3.5% or all internet bandwidth world-wide.

Bittylicious – Peer-to-peer online Bitcoin market to buy and sell Bitcoin, UK based.

Black Tuesday – October 29, 1929, the day Wall Street crashed and seen as the beginning of the Great Depression.

Bletchy Park – Secret UK site for code breakers during WWII.

Blind signature – A form of digital signature created by David Chaum.

Blockchain – A database distributed across the internet that logs all Bitcoin transactions.

Blockchain ledger – The record of all Bitcoin transactions to the present.

Breadwallet – A Bitcoin wallet made specifically for iPhones.



Caesar Cypher – A code developed by Julius Caesar to send secret messages to his officers at the front.

CoinATM Radar – A program that helps you locate the nearest Bitcoin ATM.

Coinbase – Peer-to-peer online Bitcoin market to buy and sell Bitcoin, U.S. based, headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Cold storage – The term for keeping Bitcoins in a secure place off-line.

Copay – A mobile Bitcoin wallet using HD technology.

Crowdsale – The sale of rights to use an online service by selling you cryptocurrency tokens.

Cryptocurrency – An encrypted digital currency.

Cryptography – The study of cyphers and secret codes.

Cryptopunks – A lose collection of coders, privacy enthusiasts and libertarians that inspired the creation of cryptocurrency.

Cypher – A secret way of writing.



DAO – A platform for the anonymous governance of investment capital made by Ethereum.

David Chram – Leading cryptopunk and founder of DigiCash, the precursor of Bitcoin.

DigiCash – A virtual currency that was the precursor of Bitcoin.

Discus Fish – A Chinese Bitcoin mining pool, constituting roughly 25% of the Bitcoin network.

Dogecoin – An alternative virtual currency originally started as a joke but with a large and growing following.



Electrum – A light weight desktop Bitcoin wallet using HD technology.

e-Money – A monetary balance stored on a card or mobile phone.

Enigma machine – A machine for encrypting messages invented by Arthur Scherbius at the end of WWI and used extensively by the Nazis in WWII.

Ether – The value of the blockchain tokens in Ethereum.

Ethereum – An alternative currency invented by Vitalik Buterin in 2013.



FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation. A domestic intelligence and security service that is the leading federal law enforcement agency in the U.S..

FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Company. Created by the U.S. Congress in 1933, after the Great Depression to restore trust in the banks by providing federal insurance on deposits up to a certain amount.

Federal Reserve – The central bank of the United States, created in 1913 and charged with overseeing the nation’s money supply.

Federal Reserve Act – A law creating the Federal Reserve in reaction to a financial crisis and run on the banks. Largely written by a cabal of bankers, it effectively placed control of the nation’s money supply in the hands of private bankers in search of private profit.

Fraud – Intentional deception intended for criminal financial gain.



Gas – Nickname for the value of Ethereum’s blockchain tokens also known as ether.

Genesis Block – The first set of Bitcoins ever mined.

GHash.io – Currently the 2nd largest known Bitcoin mining pool behind Discus Fish.

Gold Reserve Act – A law signed by President Woodrow Wilson giving the United States Department of Treasury responsibility for all gold held by the Federal Reserve, making it illegal for private citizens to own gold.

Google Wallet – e-Money put out by Google allowing peer-to-peer payments via a browser or mobile device.

Great Depression – A severe economic downturn lasting from 1929 until roughly 1939 that devastated the industrialized world.

Green Address – Sophisticated online, browser based Bitcoin wallet.



Hal Finey – Early cryptopunk, first recipient of Bitcoin.

Hardy Boys – Fictional characters in a mystery series popular with young readers started in 1927 and continuing in new editions until 2013.

Hash – A seemingly random series of letters and numbers stored with the blockchain for all to see. Short for hashing algorithm.

HD – Hierarchical deterministic. A wallet that contains a 24-word seed used as a master private key.



John Le Carré – British writer of spy novels.

Joshua Davis – A contributing editor at Wired and writer for The New Yorker, GQ, Outside, Mens’ Journal, Mens’ Health, Maxim and Food & Wine, who first asserted he narrowed down the identity of Bitcoin’s founder Satoshi Nakamoto.



KeepKey – A bitcoin hardware wallet that also holds other cryptocurrencies.

KYC – Know Your Customer. A set of banking regulations designed to deter money-laundering and other financial crime.



Ledger Nano S – The smallest and cheapest Bitcoin hardware wallet.

Limit order – An order placed with a broker at an exchange to buy or sell Bitcoin within a certain range.

Litecoin – An alternative cryptocurrency seen as Bitcoin’s baby brother.

Local Bitcoins – An online Bitcoin over-the-counter market located in Helsinki, Finland.

Lyndon B. Johnson – 36th President of the United States of America from 1963 – 1969.



Market order – An order to buy or sell Bitcoins at a fixed price. The fastest way to buy Bitcoin.

Mining – The competitive process of validating the blockchain using complex mathematical tasks on a networked computer and rewarded in 25 Bitcoins.

Monero – An alternative cryptocurrency like Bitcoin slowly gaining in popularity.

Mt. Gox -A now defunct Bitcoin exchange that was hacked to the tune of 850,000 Bitcoins or approximately $450 million at the time.

Multibit – A light weight desktop wallet using HD technology.

Mycelium – Popular mobile Bitcoin wallet.



Nounce – A random piece of data needed for each hash to be unique.

NSA – U.S. National Security Agency.



Peer-to-peer – A computer network that shares computing tasks between computers.

PGP – Pretty Good Privacy, a public/private key system developed by Phil Zimmermann to allow encrypted messages to be sent over unsecure networks.

Phil Zimmermann – The inventor of PGP.

Proof of work – A protocol measuring the processing time a computer uses on a particular task used to make mining Bitcoins more difficult.

Purse – A website connecting those who wish to buy Bitcoin with a debit or credit card with Bitcoin sellers wishing to purchase goods or services at a discount.



QR code – Quick response code. A bar code matrix containing machine readable information.



Ripple – An internet protocol based virtual currency designed for use by banks.

Ross Ulbricht – The founder of the darknet marketplace Silk Road, also known by his online moniker, Dread Pirate Roberts.



Satoshi Nakamoto – The individual or group of individuals responsible for creating Bitcoin.

Scooby-Doo – An American animated cartoon series launched in 1969 about a group of mystery hunting kids and their loveable and always hungry dog Scooby-Doo.

Seed – A 12 or 24-word code that provides access to your digital wallet.

Shift Card – Bitcoin debit card issued by Coinbase available to U.S. residents in 41 states.

Silk Road – A darknet marketplace for illegal drugs shut down by the FBI in 2013.

Skype – An example of a peer-to-peer network with no central administrator.

Spectrocoin – An online Bitcoin wallet designed for use in EU and CIS countries.



Thomas Voegtlin – Creator of the Electrum light weight desktop Bitcoin wallet.

Tor – Software that allows for anonymous communication via a network of volunteer computers that change the IP address to conceal the user’s ID and location.

Trezor – The Czech word for vault. A bitcoin hardware wallet developed by the Czech company Satoshi Labs designed to hold a large amount of Bitcoins securely off-line in a “vault”.



U.S. TreasuryEstablished in 1789 to manage the U.S. government’s money, the Treasury prints and mints all paper currency and coins via the BEP and U.S. Mint.



Vaults – offline, cold storage Bitcoin wallets designed to keep large amounts of Bitcoins completely secure.

Virtual currency – Digital currency that exists only in virtual space (cyberspace).

Vitalik Buterin – Founder of the cryptocurrency Ethereum.



Wallets – Devices used to store, send and receive Bitcoins or other virtual currencies.

Whitfield Diffie – U.S. cryptographer who pioneered the idea of public key cryptography.

Wired – U.S. magazine first published in 1993 to explore the effects of emerging technologies.

Woodrow Wilson – 28th President of the United States from 1913-1921, signed the Gold Reserve Act into law.



Xapo – One of the most popular Bitcoin debit cards.

Frank West is a bit of an itinerant gambler. An avid traveler and freelance writer with a penchant for games of chance, Frank has hit the tables in casinos the world over and picked up a copious volume of knowledge along the way. Frank enjoys passing on what he’s learned in blog and magazine articles about gambling and teaching people how to beat the house. He also covets his privacy, authoring his articles only under the pen name Frank West.