What is the most interesting feature of Bitcoin? Unlike fiat money controlled by governments nowadays, emission of Bitcoin is not controlled by anybody, and it is limited by design.

Emission of fiat money is the primary cause of inflation, and leads to disproportionate benefits of organizations and persons which are in the beginning of money distribution chain (mostly government, government contractors and banks which get loans from central bank).

Bitcoin monetary base is limited, emission will get to nearly zero in a few years, when most of bitcoins are mined:

Another Bitcoin notable feature is irreversibility of money transfers. If you sent money to somebody, you can’t get it back. It’s like digital cash. There is no central trusted organization which controls Bitcoin operations.

Using Bitcoin should be easy enough, there is software for many platforms, including Windows.

When I tried to install Windows wallet from I found that I also need to download and store nearly 20GB of blockchain, which contain data about all previous bitcoin transactions. And blockchain is growing fast. It was less than 3GB two years ago, about 10GB in October last year, and 20GB now. With such growth rate it will make Bitcoin software inconvenient for most users in the nearest future. Here is discussion about blockchain growth:

One of solutions is using thin Bitcoin clients. It means that full blockchain is stored on the server somewhere, and client uses only part of it: headers of each block and data from blocks which are needed to verify a transaction. Search for SPV (Simplified payment verification) for details. I registered on which provides a thin client with web interface.

The next challenge for me was to get bitcoins somewhere. There are many services which convert USD to bitcoins and otherwise, but not all of them are secure enough, and some preliminary research is necessary to choose the right one. Fortunately, I have an account in popular Russian e-money system WebMoney which supports exchange of money between different currencies (USD, EUR, RUR, etc), and now it supports bitcoin too. WMZ (which how they name e-money derived from USD) to WMX (which is their derivative of Bitcoin) buy-sell price spread is about 1% there, which is good enough for my learning purposes. So I traded a few dollars in exchange to bitcoins and sent a request to withdraw these bitcoins to bitcoin wallet.

Sending Bitcoins is easy: just tell the client software how many bitcoins to send and destination address.

There is not many ways to spend bitcoins. But bitcoin circulation is growing, there is a strong upward trend of number of bitcoin transactions: and number of organizations accepting bitcoins is growing too. Even PayPal is now supporting it:

What are your thoughts about Bitcoin?