You may have just downloaded or purchased your first Bitcoin wallet, but now want to know how to add coins to it.
Doing your first transfer from an exchange to a wallet can be intimidating for first timers. But this is a very important step to securing your investment in cryptocurrency. Again, you should never leave your bitcoin on an exchange unless you are going to sell it immediately.
So while this may seem like a redundant and confusing task, don’t worry! In this short guide, we will show you how to add coins to your Bitcoin wallet. Once you are finished you’ll be a pro at this very common process.
By the end, you’ll see how easy it is to send and receive Bitcoins from anyone you want!
But first, in case you haven’t got a wallet yet, check out our picks below:
The Ledger Nano X is the newest crypto hardware wallet, and is very easy to use. It connects to iOS, Android & desktop computers.
Coinbase is NOT a wallet. You can use it to buy bitcoins, but send them out of Coinbase after buying.
Electrum is a Bitcoin-only wallet that has been around since 2011. It's easy to use, but has advanced features.
On a technical level, your wallet is more like a window onto the Bitcoin network that you control with your own electronic private keys. Whether you use a super secure hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X, a convenient mobile app like the BRD wallet or an old school favorite Electrum you’ll need to be sure to keep your private keys safe.
It’s a common misconception to think that you need to buy one whole bitcoin at a time. These days, that would be quite an expensive endeavor. You can check out the current price of one bitcoin, here.
Instead, the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, made it possible to divide one bitcoin into 100,000,000 pieces.
One bitcoin is divisible to 8 decimal places and you can own as little as 0.00000001 bitcoin. In reality, most places where you can buy bitcoin allow you to spend as little as $5 at a time.
In 2010 an early member of the Bitcointalk community, Ribuk, proposed the name ‘satoshi’ for the smallest unit of a bitcoin, and the name stuck. In recent years it’s become common to use the phrase “stacking sats” for buying and holding small amounts of bitcoin in order to periodically accumulate more of the coin.
Wallets themselves tend not to give you the option to buy and sell bitcoin for fiat. So, you’re going to have to find a trustworthy and low-cost exchange, and then send the coins from the exchange to your wallet.
An ideal fiat cryptocurrency exchange for people just getting started is Coinbase. For the following reasons:
Three important factors for choosing which exchange is the right choice for you are reputation, fees and speed:
It’s sad to say, but a lot of exchanges in the past turned out to be scams. That means the longer an exchange has been around, building up a positive reputation, the less likely it is to be a bad actor in the space.
You can also check if the exchange is regulated in your part of the world. We reviewed the top exchanges we would recommend, here.
Another important factor in choosing the right exchange to fund your bitcoin wallet is to compare how much they will charge for converting your fiat to bitcoin.
On average the fees for credit card purchases are around 4%. If you send your money via bank transfer you usually save on fees and can expect to pay somewhere between 1 and 1.5%.
Finally it’s important to look at how quickly will you be able to buy and then receive your coins. It’s interesting to note that a lot of the problems connected with how quickly you can fund your Bitcoin wallet, are actually due to the slowness of the legacy financial systems, and not cryptocurrency itself.
However, it’s a good idea to look at waiting times and withdrawal limits for the purchasing method of your choice as it’s never a good feeling to be caught out by these kind of factors when you want to buy some Bitcoin in a hurry.
Credit card purchases are usually quicker than bank transfers, but they come at a higher cost.
Do NOT get comfortable leaving your cryptocurrency on an exchange. Ideally you should send your money to an exchange, purchase your crypto, and then withdraw the coins immediately to a secure hardware wallet.
The first few times you withdraw to a bitcoin wallet it can feel a bit nerve-racking. You do need to be careful and ensure that you follow the steps carefully. Wallets that have modern user interfaces and easy to follow step-by-step processes will help reduce the chance of you making a mistake.
As an example, if you are withdrawing from your Coinbase account to your Ledger Nano X you would follow these steps:
Select ‘Send’ and choose the coin you want to withdraw from your exchange account. You can send as little or as much as your BTC as you wish, but be aware that each withdrawal will have a fee. Once you are comfortable sending and receiving bitcoin it is worth learning a little more about transaction fees and how you can minimize the costs.
Log in to your Ledger Live account and follow the instructions to copy your wallet address so that you can input it in Coinbase as the receiving address. First you must connect and unlock your Ledger, then open the Bitcoin app on your device.
Next, check the Bitcoin address that is showing on your device. It should be your Bitcoin wallet address, and nobody else’s.
Then, use the app to copy the address from Ledger Live, or scan the QR code that shows in Ledger live.
The most important thing is to make sure that the wallet address you send your bitcoin to (the long string of numbers and letters) is correct. If you send your bitcoin to a different address by accident there is no way of getting your money back. So be careful.
From your Coinbase or other exchange account, double check the address by sight to ensure you are sending the bitcoin to your wallet address.
That depends. If you get into the next block, you Bitcoin will arrive in your wallet within about 10 minutes. This is the time it takes to get one confirmation on the Blockchain.
Below is a quick guide that will tell you how many confirmations you should wait and how long that will take.