Raising the Block Size Limit with a Soft Fork

Soft Fork

It's generally thought that the only way to raise the block size limit is through a hard fork. But is this really true?

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How to Clear a Stuck Bitcoin Transaction

World Cash

A Bitcoin transaction can fail to confirm, or become “stuck,” for a number of reasons. Stuck transactions are usually confirmed after several days, but sometimes waiting isn't an option. Fortunately, many stuck transactions can be cleared using nothing more than a Web browser. This article shows how.

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Offline Installation of Armory on Tails and Ubuntu Linux

Keys

Armory supports cold storage through offline transaction signing. This technique allows funds to be spent without exposing private keys to network-based attacks. Offline signing requires two computer systems - one with an Internet connection, and one without.

Installing Armory on an Internet-connected computer is relatively easy, but installation on an offline computer is much more difficult. The problem comes down to dependencies; online computers can automatically download them, but offline computers must be given dependencies as files on a removable medium. Armory offers an offline bundle designed to simplify the process of offline installation on Ubuntu 12.04. However, some users, including myself, ran into problems using it. Moreover, some situations call for installing Armory on other Linux systems.

What's needed is a simple procedure for creating an Armory offline bundle on arbitrary Linux systems. This article gives procedures for Ubuntu 14.04 and Tails 1.3.

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Opening Bitcoin URIs on Mac OS X

Put Payments Here

Wouldn't it be nice if making a Bitcoin payment were as easy as clicking on a link? In principle, this is already supported with Bitcoin URIs. Clicking a Bitcoin URI should launch a preferred wallet, pre-populating a payment transaction with data pulled from the link. Clicking one button would approve the transaction. Copying addresses or payment amounts would be unnecessary.

In practice, support for Bitcoin URIs by software wallets has been patchy at best, particularly on OS X. This article describes a solution that can be immediately implemented by any Mac owner using any downloadable wallet.

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OP_RETURN and the Future of Bitcoin

Golden Gate

The Bitcoin network bundles transactions together into a distributed database known as the block chain. When viewed from within the network, transactions simply represent electronic cash payments. Outside the Bitcoin network, more complex interpretations are possible. Adding application-specific data to transactions opens the door to using Bitcoin not just for electronic cash payments, but new kinds of financial, property, and legal transactions. Questions around how - and even whether - to support these uses have been hotly debated for years.

The 0.9.0 release of Bitcoin Core took the first step toward settling the debate through the standardization of a new transaction type. This article reviews the problem of extending the block chain, and the importance of a solution.

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Who Needs Bitcoin Change Addresses Anyway?

Coin Jar

Few topics in Bitcoin cause more confusion, anxiety, and loss of money than change addresses. They seem counterintuitive and unnecessary. They're a major contributor to wallet software complexity. When used improperly, they can de-anonymize not just the payer but other parties as well.

Given the many problems with change addresses, why do they exist in the first place? This article explains what change addresses are, why they're essential to Bitcoin, and how to protect your money and privacy.

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Compile Bitcoin Core from Source on Ubuntu

Bitcoin Accepted Here

Ubuntu is often recommended as an operating system on which to run Bitcoin Core. Although Bitcoin Core can be installed as a precompiled binary, this method won't work in every case. This guide shows how to compile Bitcoin Core from scratch on a clean Ubuntu 14.04.2 system.

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Bitcoin: Think of it as Electronic Cash

World Cash

Although it‘s relatively easy to start using Bitcoin, understanding it can take some time. Many beginning and intermediate users struggle because they fail to find an appropriate way to think about Bitcoin. This problem isn’t just theoretical - using the wrong mental model can cost you money. On the positive side, a solid mental model offers a much clearer picture of Bitcoin's current potential and future opportunities.

This article presents a simple and powerful way of thinking about Bitcoin that will help you master Bitcoin's complexities.

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Making Sense of Bitcoin Transaction Fees

Electric Company

Every Bitcoin transaction is subject to a fee paid by the sender. In contrast to bank fees charged at either a flat rate or as a percentage of transaction value, Bitcoin fees are based on the amount of data needed for encoding. Understanding this system is not difficult, but its nuances and non-intuitive nature confuse many Bitcoin users, new and experienced alike.

Understanding transaction fees can save you both money and time. This guide describes how the Bitcoin transaction fee system works and how to use it effectively.

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Six Things Bitcoin Users Should Know about Private Keys

Keys

Private keys have been an integral component of Bitcoin since its first description in 2008. Wallet software generally protects users from the need to understand what private keys are and how they work. Even so, most users eventually come face to face with private keys, too often with unpleasant results.

A basic understanding of private keys helps prevent loss of funds and other mishaps, but it can also offer useful insights into how Bitcoin works. This guide outlines the most important private key concepts for effectively using Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin Paper Wallets from Scratch

Paper Wallets

Bitcoin paper wallets offer a useful solution to the problem of storing funds for later use. However, the ease with which paper wallets can be generated tends to obscure important technical and security considerations that may only become apparent at a later point. This article introduces paper wallets from the beginning, with an eye toward using them for secure, long-term, offline storage.

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A Gentle Introduction to Bitcoin Cold Storage

Winter

Imagine opening your Bitcoin wallet. To your surprise, it‘s empty and there’s no way to recover the money you lost. How do you feel?

Every Bitcoin user faces the problem of securely storing their money. Unlike the banking system, there‘s little recourse when things go wrong, and little margin for error. Thefts and losses can be prevented, but they can’t be rolled back. Preventing these losses is the goal of cold storage.

Cold storage is an important subject with a steep learning curve. To make the topic more approachable, this article introduces core Bitcoin concepts when needed. It concludes by discussing a new Bitcoin feature that could simplify the safe storage of funds.

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Five Ways to Lose Money with Bitcoin Change Addresses

Cash Register

Bitcoin can be coldly unforgiving of mistakes, and nowhere is this better demonstrated than with change addresses. Although change addresses provide a key privacy tool, they can also lead to confusion, loss, or theft when not understood.

This article explains how to safely use one of Bitcoin's least understood features. It ends with a list of common pitfalls and ways to avoid them.

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