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Author Topic: Bitcoin is WAY too confusing for the average person  (Read 2804 times)
whatisthename
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March 22, 2013, 01:11:21 AM
 #1

I'm not saying there aren't going to be more user-friendly applications someday, but as of now it's just way too confusing. It's even confusing to me and I've spent all day reading about Bitcoin and have slightly higher computer knowledge than most people.

Please look at these statements of mine, THANK YOU!

I've been literally reading ALL DAY and I can't wrap my stupid head around Multi-Bit and how it works. Can someone PLEASE break down these following questions for me?

1. What the heck is a difference between a wallet and a private key in Multi-bit? Is the wallet essentially an unlocked version of the key? (since everytime I start up Multi-bit the wallet just opens)

2. I heard the private key is a code which essentially can get you access to your bitcoins...your bitcoins are stored in that code, right? How do I find that code in the event that the "Wallet.key" file is corrupted? Then, in the case that that .key file is corrupted, what do I do with that long code to get back access to my coins?

Thank you for taking the time to read, and believe me I really have put effort into understanding.
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March 22, 2013, 01:14:07 AM
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Multi-bit is not bitcoin.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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March 22, 2013, 01:18:46 AM
 #3

Luckily 50% of the population is smarter than the average person.  Wink

Sorry I can't help you with Multi-bit, I don't use it. Maybe you should try blockchain.info - it's pretty straightforward.

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March 22, 2013, 01:32:47 AM
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Quote
Bitcoin is WAY too confusing for the average person

Thats true, man, you nailed it. But everything is relative. How confusing are all those banks, credit systems, government revenue, etc? Although I have PhD in physics, I understand neither of those. What about average person?
 

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DannyHamilton
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March 22, 2013, 01:33:29 AM
 #5

I'm not saying there aren't going to be more user-friendly applications someday, but as of now it's just way too confusing. It's even confusing to me and I've spent all day reading about Bitcoin and have slightly higher computer knowledge than most people.

Please look at these statements of mine, THANK YOU!

I've been literally reading ALL DAY and I can't wrap my stupid head around Multi-Bit and how it works. Can someone PLEASE break down these following questions for me?

1. What the heck is a difference between a wallet and a private key in Multi-bit? Is the wallet essentially an unlocked version of the key? (since everytime I start up Multi-bit the wallet just opens)

2. I heard the private key is a code which essentially can get you access to your bitcoins...your bitcoins are stored in that code, right? How do I find that code in the event that the "Wallet.key" file is corrupted? Then, in the case that that .key file is corrupted, what do I do with that long code to get back access to my coins?

Thank you for taking the time to read, and believe me I really have put effort into understanding.

Cars are WAY too confusing for the average person.  Have you ever tried to take a car apart into all it's component pieces and put it all back together?

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way. . .

A wallet is a program that allows you to access your bitcoins.

Electrum is a wallet.
MultiBit is a wallet.
Bitcoin-Qt is a wallet.
https://blockchain.info/wallet is a wallet.

A bitcoin address is a special string of letters and numbers that is generated from a private key.  A wallet can have MANY bitcoin addresses.  When you want to receive bitcoins, you provide a bitcoin address from your wallet to the person who will be sending you bitcoins.  They use their wallet to create a transaction that assigns bitcoin value to the address in an output.

Here is an example of an address: 1AD1PeA41UYrcdtg68jcZoEzHJYTEh5XrZ

A private key is essentially a super secret password that you need to access/spend the bitcoins that are associated with a paarticual bitcoin address.  Each bitcoin address has its own unique private key.  The wallet program stores these private keys for you.  Most wallet programs don't show this private key to you.  The wallet program takes care of storing it and using it when you decide to create a transaction to send bitcoins somewhere.

As long as you have the private key stored somewhere safe, you will be able to access your bitcoins.  If anyone else ever gets access to your private key, they will be able to access your bitcoins.  This means that it is important to create a backup of whatever files your wallet program uses to store those private keys (so you still have them if your computer crashes or burns up in a fire, or is destroyed in a tornado, or whatever).  It also means that it is important to protect the files that store the private keys from being accessed by anyone else (many wallet programs allow you to provide a password to encrypt the contents of the file that stores your private keys).

The bitcoins are stored in the public blockchain.  Every full peer participating in the bitcoin network has a complete copy of the public blockchain that has all the bitcoins, but the ownership of those bitcoins can't be transferred to anyone else without the private key that is used to sign the transaction.  As long as you have your private keys safely stored somewhere (and nobody else has access to them), you'll be able to regain access to your bitcoins even if your computer is destroyed.

I'm not certain about the specifics of MultiBit and where it stores the private keys and if or how it allows you to export, import, save, restore, encrypt, or otherwise protect them.

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March 22, 2013, 01:38:44 AM
 #6

Ya, when you start seeing grandma btc buying clubs spring up - because it's all made easy-to-learn, easy-to-buy by start up companies, who see it's current complexity as the $ (or btc) opportunity (to bring it to the average person) - then we might be looking at a bubble.   

Years out.  Until then, the only bubble is fiat.
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March 22, 2013, 01:40:25 AM
 #7

Agree, if your parents cannot use it, it's too complicated.

If you cannot explain it in one paragraph it's too complicated.

People use services not software.

Geeks with Asperger Syndrome will never understand this.

This is why most of them are jobless and girl-friendless.

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March 22, 2013, 01:41:24 AM
 #8

I'm not saying there aren't going to be more user-friendly applications someday, but as of now it's just way too confusing. It's even confusing to me and I've spent all day reading about Bitcoin and have slightly higher computer knowledge than most people.

Well tech support from india, isn't a higher computer knowledge, but I hate complainers if I sat around and complained about everything that is wrong or unless in bitcoin, I would be spamming the forum everyday with 1000's of post. So this is what I say, how about you ask questions nicely and maybe people will help you without being an idiot. Also if you think a day of reading will wrap your head around bitcoin your are very wrong. Maybe a whole weekend will help you, I am very highly skilled in computers, and I still learn stuff. Some people find that to be the beauty of bitcoin, but trust me average people can learn the basics of bitcoin, and the core. Just like I don't know the SSL RFC by heart, but I know enough that I know how it works and average people don't know the SSL RFC at all and they can do banking knowing it is secure. Bitcoin is so young and to attack it like that is just so unfair, get an open mind and then come back to it.

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March 22, 2013, 01:42:27 AM
 #9

Agree, if your parents cannot use it, it's too complicated.

It is an experiment and in beta, so your parents shouldn't be using it.

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March 22, 2013, 01:42:45 AM
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Agree, if your parents cannot use it, it's too complicated.

So, since my parents are able to use bitcoin, this means is isn't too complicated, right?

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March 22, 2013, 01:43:15 AM
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It is an experiment and in beta, so your parents shouldn't be using it.

LOL.  You're funny.

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March 22, 2013, 01:45:19 AM
 #12

I've used many different Bitcoin wallets over my time using bitcoin (mostly as a miner), I trade more now.

Admittedly Multibit was not one I tried. It is suppose to be pretty user friendly, but the standard client (bitcoin qt) for me was already exactly that, especially now with the windows installer, being so awesome and simple.

My Partner, recently relented and asked about Bitcoin, she said it was a lot bloody easier than trying to setup and use her Paypal account and Barclay's account. To me that says a lot. Also trades are done quick 24/7 and don't cost anything, even international, amazing!

She loves it. She does some international and local trade like myself, but she's not very techy, so usually had left this up to me, she did it her self this time.


To Attempt to answer your questions:


1) Private key, please excuse the vagueness, think of this as a combination of your account number and your password in one key - Only you should know this. You only need this for backup purposes, so it is essential, but won't be asked for by the client, after it's first imported into a wallet.
Your Wallet is just the account where your bitcoins are stored, depending on the client, you can have multiple accounts in one wallet, or just one.
Public key, is just your account number. This is known so others can send BTC to and you vice versa.

Generally speaking all wallets also should be password protected & encrypted. So any transaction, has to ask you for that password. You can view but not touch so to speak.

2) The private key, is a very unique key that identifies your account yes. But it's value or any information outside of that is not stored in the key it self. It is stored in the blockchain, that can be re-downloaded. So if the wallet.key file becomes corrupted, the worse you'd need to do is download the blockchain again or repair it. In the unlikely scenario also re-inserting your private key might be needed I suppose. But as long as you got that private key, you won't lose your Bitcoins, due to a corrupted file.

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March 22, 2013, 01:45:26 AM
 #13

It is an experiment and in beta, so your parents shouldn't be using it.

LOL.  You're funny.

I am a barrel of laughs in this thread

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March 22, 2013, 01:50:25 AM
 #14

Danny, thank you!

I guess another question is this, will help me wrap my head around it: say I trust everyone in my home And have no fear of theft, then in that scenario, I can always just leave multi bit open, and have no need to access or make private keys, right?

On the otherhand, since multi bit opens the wallet automatically everytime upon opening, if I want to be super secure then after every transaction I export another private key, close the program, delete the wallet file on my computer, and then hide the key file somewhere of my choosing, right?

Also if anyone knows how to get the key code from a multi bit file please tell me (in case I have a lot of bitcoins someday, and the .key file goes corrupt. Thanks!

And to the other guy, I wasn attacking! I obviously said in the beginning my stupid brain was having trouble with this... Not attacking bitcoin Smiley
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March 22, 2013, 01:53:36 AM
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OP, give it some more time. You're on your way by asking questions and getting answers.

Personally, it took me about month of weekends to feel confident enough to convert some USD to BTC. For new users, I think the wallet and security around it is one of the more intimidating sides of Bitcoin. Just check out the stickied threads in this forum for some peace of mind.

To think that I almost got into Bitcoin when they were $8 bucks each makes me want to slap my past self!

Lethos, you are dead on about it being easier than PayPal! With PP's increase in fraud protection (good), it's a pain in the ass to get a full featured account going (bad)!
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March 22, 2013, 01:58:34 AM
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I guess next thing I need to learn Is how to access my bitcoins if I don't have an active wallet, and the private .key file happens to corrupt. That is the part that scares me Smiley
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March 22, 2013, 02:01:44 AM
 #17

Just make sure it is password protected and encrypted (ie. asks for a password when you send BTC). Then that is all you need to do.
Make sure you keep your PrivateKey Private (don't tell anyone), and keep it some where very safe. No need to delete things.
You don't have to keep it open all the time, that is a personal preference.

It was actually my Partner who said it in that context, I agreed with her of course as someone who has a Paypal account and used it for business purposes for a few years (still do). Helps pay the bills, till more people I work with are willing to switch over to Btc.

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March 22, 2013, 02:02:43 AM
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say I trust everyone in my home And have no fear of theft, then in that scenario, I can always just leave multi bit open, and have no need to access or make private keys, right?

It seems you are not paying attention.  You never need to "make private keys".  MultiBit should handle the private keys for you.  You need to have a safe backup of the file where MultiBit stores the private keys in case your computer is destroyed (hard drive crash, fire, flood, tornado, lightning strike, burglary, etc). This has nothing to do with trusting the people in your home.

On the otherhand, since multi bit opens the wallet automatically everytime upon opening, if I want to be super secure then after every transaction I export another private key, close the program, delete the wallet file on my computer, and then hide the key file somewhere of my choosing, right?

I'm not sure what you are attempting to protect from.  But if you are concerned that a hacker might get access to the private keys that MultiBit stores, then the only way to protect againast that is to create a bitcoin address on a computer that has never been connected to the internet.  Then store the private key of that address somewhere secure, and create a transaction online sending all your bitcoins to that address.

Also if anyone knows how to get the key code from a multi bit file please tell me (in case I have a lot of bitcoins someday, and the .key file goes corrupt. Thanks!

When you say "key code" I assume you are asking how to get a copy of all the private keys of all the bitcoin addresses in your MultiBit wallet?  This is a question I am also curious about.  I've never sued MultiBit.  Perhaps someone who uses MultiBit regularly will stop by with information on how to export and import private keys?  Otherwise, we could try looking at the MultiBit website and see if they have any information there.


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March 22, 2013, 02:11:16 AM
 #19


Cars are WAY too confusing for the average person.  Have you ever tried to take a car apart into all it's component pieces and put it all back together?


I double this analogy. You look for alternatives only when you are not satisfied with mainstream service.

When I bought my first car (used one), I was pissed off by how badly those workshops rip my money off for basic maintenance. My friend advised my to buy $15 Haynes Mazda book in Borders. This saved me a lot of money. I kept the book in my trunk, and after short practice in my drive way, I could take many things in my car apart.

IMO, same is true with crypto money or any other technology. If you are pissed of by you bank, learn how those alternatives work, spend some effort. Otherwise, just stick to your usual ways.

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March 22, 2013, 02:21:17 AM
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I don't buy the 'if your parents can't use it it's too complex' argument.  Aside from many parents being quite capable, the idea that if something is complicated nobody will use it is bunk.

You know what's complicated?  Video game controllers, TV remotes (many people have 3 or 4 of them just to watch TV), driving a car, paying your bills, checking email, social networking, the list goes on...  These are all very profitable and successful products, despite their complexity.  People just need to see a benefit to overcome the learning curve.  Even the biggest idiot in the world can strap themselves into a steel and fiberglass cage with wheels and go barreling down a highway at 80 MPH because they see a benefit in being able to travel like that, so they overcome the complexity of learning how to operate a vehicle legally.

The problem isn't the complexity, it is that the benefits aren't clear.  People on Cyprus probably see the benefit of something like bitcoin pretty clearly right now, but most people don't.

I also think that the noob material glosses over the technical details too much, which makes people wary of trusting the currency.  I'm a semester away from a bachelors degree in economics, I actually do understand where traditional currencies come from and their histories and monetary policy and fiscal policy and all of that.  The noob documentation for bitcoin seems written to deliberately obfuscate where the chain blocks come from and the history of the bitcoin and how it all really works.  I'm still wrapping my head around it and when I'm done I plan to study other cryptocurrencies so that I understand this class of currency before I put a dime into it.  I just wish the noob documentation wasn't so dumbed down.

My impression of me reading the noob documentaiton:

FAQ:  Bitcoin is money!  It's free of control from a legitimate government, so you should buy it!
Me:  How is it different from Warcraft gold or Confederate dollars from the American Civil war?
FAQ:  Bitcoin is money!
Me:  Right.  **close browser window, run another search to hopefully find something that wasn't written for kindergartners**

Start here if you want meat rather than fluff when you are trying to understand bitcoin:
http://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

(thanks again for that link, deathandtaxes!)

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