What are bitcoins?

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren't printed, like dollars or euros - they're produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using specialized software.

What are its characteristics?

Bitcoin has several important features that set it apart from government-backed currencies.
  1. It's decentralized
    The bitcoin network isn't controlled by one central authority. Every machine that mines bitcoin and processes transactions makes up a part of the network, and the machines work together. That means that, in theory, one central authority can't tinker with monetary policy and cause a meltdown - or simply decide to take people's bitcoins away from them, as the Central European Bank decided to do in Cyprus in early 2013. And if some part of the network goes offline for some reason, the money keeps on flowing.

  2. It's easy to set up
    Conventional banks make you jump through hoops simply to open a bank account. Setting up merchant accounts for payment is another Kafkaesque task, beset by bureaucracy. However, you can set up a bitcoin address in seconds, no questions asked, and with no fees payable.

  3. It's anonymous
    Users can hold multiple bitcoin addresses, and they aren't linked to names, addresses, or other personally identifying information. However...

  4. It's completely transparent
    ...bitcoin stores details of every single transaction that ever happened in the network in a huge version of a general ledger, called the blockchain. The blockchain tells all. There are measures that people can take to make their activities more opaque on the bitcoin network, though, such as not using the same bitcoin addresses consistently, and not transferring lots of bitcoin to a single address.

  5. Transaction fees are miniscule
    Your bank may charge you a fee of up to $30 for international transfers. Bitcoin doesn't.

  6. It's fast
    You can send money anywhere and it will arrive moments later. When ordering at Worldherbals this means your payment will hit our account almost instantly, and your order can be shipped a lot faster than with a traditional bank transfer that can take up to 5 days.

How to use bitcoins?

So now that you know what bitcoins are and what the advantages of using them are, how exacly do you start using them? It's a lot easier than you might think! You can use bitcoins to pay for your order in 3 simple steps:

1. Get yourself a bitcoin wallet.

Getting a bitcoin wallet doesn't really require understanding of the technical details. Once you have installed a bitcoin wallet on your computer or mobile phone, it will generate your first bitcoin address that can be used to send and receive bitcoins. This is actually pretty similar to how email works. There are several types of wallets avaiable: in the form of software (computer programs), mobile (phone apps), or web (online sites).

You can use this website to search for bitcoin wallets. Below are some examples:

Provider Type Positive Negative
Blockchain Blockchain Web, Mobile (Android & iOS) & Desktop One of the easiest ways to create and use a bitcoin wallet. Setting up a new wallet is literally a matter of seconds. Good for small day-to-day use, but not recommended for bigger bitcoin amounts.
Coinbase Coinbase Web Just like your normal bank account, your bitcoins are safely stored in the Coinbase vault. No need to install software or worry about backups. Your bitcoins are controlled by a 3rd party. It's a bank account so you need to verify it with your phone, email and identity card.
Mycelium Mycelium Mobile (Android) Fast and easy to use. Bitcoins stored on your phone, you are in control of your bitcoins. If you have no backup and you lose your phone, the bitcoins are gone.
Green Address.it GreenAddress Web, Mobile (Android & iOS) & Desktop Quick set-up and a wide range of functionality. Available for desktop, mobile and online. Control over bitcoins is shared between GreenAddress and your software.

2. Buy some bitcoins

After you have created a wallet, you will have to add some bitcoins to it before you can make your first payment. There are many places online where you can easily and safely buy bitcoins with a bank transfer, iDeal, Sofort, Paypal, cash or basically any payment method available.

Use this website to find a bitcoin exchange service, or just choose one of these:

Buy bitcoins Payment Methods Description
HappyCoins HappyCoins Sofort, Mister Cash, iDEAL, Giropay, MyBank, Sepa Transfer Pay with any of the above payment methods and receive your bitcoins within a couple of minutes. Only email and bitcoin address needed.
Localbitcoins LocalBitcoins All payment methods you can think off... A marketplace for trading bitcoins. Buy bitcoins from another person locally for cash or with an online payments method. LocalBitcoins works as an escrow so you have no risk of loosing money.
Coinbase Coinbase Buy bitcoins with a SEPA or international wire transfer Once you have verified your identity and created an account it is easy to buy bitcoins with a bank transfer.

3. Pay with bitcoins on our website.

So by now, you've bought some bitcoins to use and you have a properly functioning wallet. It's time to place your order!

In our checkout, select 'Bitcoin' as your payment method and confirm your order. You will be redirected to another screen where you can see the amount of bitcoins (BTC) you will have to pay.

Some mobile wallets allow you to send the bitcoins by simply scanning or clicking/tapping the QR-code. If this doesn't work, use your wallet to transfer the bitcoins to the address that is provided (circled red in the 2nd picture). After the bitcoins have been received on that address your order will be updated automatically and instantly.

That's it, you're done!

Now simply wait for your order to arrive at your door step. You will receive tracking information as soon as we have shipped your order (usually within 24 hours).