The absolute newbie's guide to accepting Bitcoin on your web site, blog, or social media page.

Bitcoin is a wonderful way for you to accept donations, tips and payments on your web site, blog, or social media page. Best of all, even if you don't use Bitcoin yet, it's fast, easy and completely free to start taking Bitcoin on your site. Bitcoin makes it easy for your audience and customers to send you money with no middlemen, no fees, and no hassle.

Step one: Get a wallet

First of all, you need a wallet.  Just like the wallet you keep in your pocket or purse, you keep your money in it.  Unlike your physical wallet, a bitcoin wallet can exist solely as a file on your computer. A Bitcoin wallet contains both a payment address and private key.  The private key is the key to your vault; never share it with anyone.  Your payment address is what allows others to send money to you.  This is what you will put on your site to receive money. 

Multibit is a popular, easy to use wallet software, licensed as donationware, and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. There is also Bitcoin Wallet for Android that will allow you to send and receive money using your smartphone or tablet. Once you have that, click on the default wallet in the left panel of the screen, or make as many new ones as you like.  The money can easily be transferred from wallet to wallet by simply sending from one wallet to the payment address of another.  Now, click on the "Request" tab on the right panel.  There will be a long string of letters and numbers next to the words: "Your address."  Click the copy button to copy the code, and you can paste that code anywhere you want to request donations or payments.  For example, if you would like to tip me for this article, you can send it to: 1Da9ZX4t62F9NTTXPqC4xPeoE7KtV5QQtN .

If you want to add additional money to your wallet, you simply need to sign up with an exchange and transfer money from a bank account or credit card to it.  If you live in the USA, Coinbase is one of the most popular and trusted exchanges. Alternately, if you want to pay cash, you can look at LocalBitcoins.com to find people near you who will sell you Bitcoin. To send money to others, simply click the "send" tab on your wallet, copy and paste their address and the amount you want to send.  After the network confirms the transaction, the money will appear in the receiver's account.

Step two: Back up your wallet

Bitcoin FiresafeIf you ever lose your private key, you will never be able to access your money again, so I highly recommend getting a physical copy of your wallet and storing it someplace safe.  Hard drive failure, hackers, or malicious software on your computer can all render your Bitcoins permanently gone.  For security reasons, many Bitcoin users will only keep their private key in physical form and not save it on any computer or device connected to the internet, eliminating any chance of hackers or viruses from stealing their funds. You can use this paper wallet generator to print one out for free, or for better protection against age, damage, and disaster, Bitcoin Firesafe can create you a custom one out of metal. 

Step three (optional): Make a QR code 

Bitcoin Paper WalletOn the rightmost panel of Multibit, there is a QR code that is automatically generated for sending money to your wallet.  It is simply a smartphone and machine-readable version of your payment address.  You can simply click this and click the copy button above it to copy the image.  If you want something a little fancier, you can also get a free custom QR code with lots of options for different styles, and even the ability to upload your own logo.  Download the image, then upload it anywhere you want on your site.  You can also print it out so that people with wallets on their smartphones can send you money in physical space.

Step four: Put your payment address where it can be seen.

Anywhere you would put a link to ask for a payment or donation, simply paste your payment address, and your QR code, if desired.  Most blogs have an "about" section, which is a good place to put it.  I put mine on the sidebars or footers of my web sites.  Just make sure it's easy for your audience to find and use. 

Congratulations!  You can now receive tips, donations, and payments in Bitcoin.

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