How to Send Bitcoin Anywhere In 3 Simple Steps

So there you are. Stuck.

You’ve got Bitcoin somehow. And now, you want to know how to send Bitcoin in 2020. 

My 3-step process has you covered, whether you’d like to:

  • Send Bitcoin to someone
  • Transfer Bitcoin between wallets
  • Send a Bitcoin payment

In fact, this process applies to any Bitcoin transfer you’d like to make. 

And it keeps you safe from accidentally sending your BTC to the wrong address or other mistakes that could cost you time and hard-earned money. 

Let’s dive in.

Date: 
June 07, 2020
Read time: 
6 minutes

How to Send Bitcoin Anywhere In 3 Simple Steps

Date: 
June 07, 2020
Read time: 
6 minutes

So there you are. Stuck.

You’ve got Bitcoin somehow. And now, you want to know how to send Bitcoin in 2020. 

My 3-step process has you covered, whether you’d like to:

  • Send Bitcoin to someone
  • Transfer Bitcoin between wallets
  • Send a Bitcoin payment

In fact, this process applies to any Bitcoin transfer you’d like to make. 

And it keeps you safe from accidentally sending your BTC to the wrong address or other mistakes that could cost you time and hard-earned money. 

Let’s dive in.

So there you are. Stuck.

You’ve got Bitcoin somehow. And now, you want to know how to send Bitcoin in 2020. 

My 3-step process has you covered, whether you’d like to:

  • Send Bitcoin to someone
  • Transfer Bitcoin between wallets
  • Send a Bitcoin payment

In fact, this process applies to any Bitcoin transfer you’d like to make. 

And it keeps you safe from accidentally sending your BTC to the wrong address or other mistakes that could cost you time and hard-earned money. 

Let’s dive in.

Check again that you’re not making any mistake before clicking “send.” Otherwise, you may lose your Bitcoin during the transfer.

Checklist to Send Bitcoin

To send Bitcoin, you need:

  1. Some Bitcoin to which you have access. 
  2. The recipient’s Bitcoin address.
  3. The amount of Bitcoin you want to send.

It’s that simple. 

The very first thing you need to know when learning how to send Bitcoin to someone is that you need to have Bitcoin and control it. 

Even though that may seem obvious, if you don’t have Bitcoin or control over your Bitcoin, you won’t be able to access it, let alone send it. 

Don’t own any Bitcoin yet? Find out How To Invest In Bitcoin, simply explained.

Make sure you have these boxes all checked. Otherwise, you won’t be able to transfer your Bitcoin.

If you have doubts, no worry; I’ll explain everything.

#0 [Important] Avoid These Mistakes When Sending Bitcoin

Bitcoin is fantastic because it is decentralized

But this feature comes with drawbacks.

Although it’s great to be able to use your funds without any third party involved, you are now solely responsible for the security and movements of your funds.

Furthermore, Bitcoin transactions are irreversible. 

If you send Bitcoin to the wrong recipient, you can’t get your Bitcoin back. 

Source: reddit.com
 

That’s why there are many costly mistakes you can make when sending Bitcoin. 

Be reassured, though: it’s easy to avoid these mistakes once you know them. 
 

A] Sending funds in the wrong currency

Sending BTC to an Ethereum address will result in the loss of your funds.

Of course, that is easy to avoid if you are paying attention during the transfer.

However, as a beginner, it’s pretty easy to mix up currencies. 

Do you know that Bitcoin is not the only Bitcoin out there; there’s also Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Bitcoin Gold (BTG) … and more.

Sending Bitcoin to these blockchains will also result in the permanent loss of your funds.
 

B] Sending the wrong amount of funds

Always double check the amount of Bitcoin you are sending.

If you send too much, you might never get the difference back.

(Well, unless you know the recipient, or if the recipient is yourself, of course.)
 

C] Entering The Wrong Address

Sending your Bitcoin to the wrong public address will result in the permanent loss of your funds.

That’s an easy mistake to make because public addresses are all long strings of characters looking like each other.

How to send Bitcoin - Public addresses
 

So, how do you avoid making mistakes when entering the recipient’s address?

  1. Copy and paste the address. This helps eliminate errors. If you must rewrite it instead, triple check every character.
  2. Verify that the address you copied exists. Visit a blockchain explorer, and enter the address in the search bar to make sure the address exists. 
  3. Triple check the address. Once you paste the address, always check the first and last characters match the recipient address you copied. And if you’re feeling extra cautious, feel free to check the full address.

How to send Bitcoin - Double check the address you pasted
 

D] Mixing up your private key with your public key

Your public key may look similar to your private key

But make no mistake, they are very different. 

You should use your public key to receive funds. You give it to your friends so that they can use it to send you Bitcoin anytime they want.

On the other hand, you have to use your private key to unlock your wallet and access your funds.

How to send Bitcoin - Public key vs private key
 

Don’t mix them up, or the transaction won’t work.

Or worse, you may accidentally show your private key to the sender or someone else -- and they might be tempted to take all your Bitcoins. 
 

E] Don’t Be Sloppy

That’s quite a good summary of the previous points I mentioned.

Since Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, it’s important that:

  • You are 100% focused when performing transactions.
  • You double check (or triple check) all the details of the transaction before clicking “Send”.

Because whatever mistake you make, it’s very unlikely that anyone will be able to help you ‘unmake’ it. 

Now, let’s get to the meat of this article: how to send Bitcoin like a pro.

Not sure what’s the best way to get Bitcoin? Find out my favorite sites to buy Bitcoin.

#1 Find Your Recipient Address

Some exchanges, like Coinbase, make it super easy to send Bitcoin. 

That’s because with Coinbase, you can send Bitcoin to another Coinbase user by just typing in their email address.

Source: coinbase.com
 

However, most of the time, you will need your recipient’s Bitcoin address if you want to send them Bitcoin.

Their recipient address is their wallet’s public key

So, where can you get the recipient’s public key?

If it’s a merchant / a friend, they will need to provide it.

If it is an internal transfer you want to do between yourself (wallet to wallet), then you’ll need to provide it yourself. 

  • If you created a paper wallet: you have been provided with the public key during setup. 
  • If you created an online wallet: you can locate your public address by tapping the “deposit” or “receive” button. 
  • If you’re transferring to another exchange: you’ll also need to click the “deposit” or “receive” button to reveal your deposit address. 
  • If you’re transferring to a hardware wallet you own (like a Ledger wallet): You will also need to find the “receive” or “deposit” button. From there, the public address will show up either on the small screen of the hardware wallet itself or on the app they provide. 

#2 Initiate the Transfer

Now that you have the destination address you want to send Bitcoin to, prepare to initiate the transfer.

Go back to where your funds are located (paper wallet, hardware wallet, exchange, online wallet). 
 

A] How to send Bitcoin from an exchange

Sending Bitcoins from an exchange is by far the easiest method. 

And Coinbase is the easiest of the easy: all you need to do is send your Bitcoins from your Coinbase account to your recipient's email address (the one associated with his/her Coinbase account).

Source: coinbase.com
 

For other exchanges, simply find the “Send” or “Withdrawal” button. 

From there, select Bitcoin as the currency, and:

  • Enter the Bitcoin amount
  • Enter the recipient address
  • Triple check the data you entered
  • Click send/withdrawal!
Check again that you’re not making any mistake before clicking “send.” Otherwise, you may lose your Bitcoin during the transfer. I mentioned all the mistakes you can make in the chapter “#0 Avoid These Mistakes When Sending Bitcoin.”

Another cool feature that Coinbase (and some more exchanges & wallets) offers is the ability to choose your transfer fee.

How to send Bitcoin - Transfer fee options
 

Coinbase offers three settings:

  • Slow. The cheapest but can take several hours or more to arrive at your recipient.
  • Medium. About 2 hours and usually a good deal.
  • Fast. Not terribly expensive but more than the others. Usually processed in 15 minutes.
     

B] How to send Bitcoin from an online wallet

If you’re sending Bitcoin from an online wallet (whether it’s on your computer or a mobile wallet), open the app and keep it open. 

Make sure you know the private key you’ll need. 

Some online wallets require you to input your secret private seed. Have that ready.

How to send Bitcoin - Seed phrase example
 

Sending Bitcoin from an online wallet is the second easiest method of sending Bitcoin.

The best Bitcoin online wallets have easy, intuitive user interfaces. 

Simply go to the withdrawal area.

  • Enter the Bitcoin amount
  • Enter the recipient address
  • Triple check the data you entered
  • Click send/withdrawal!
Check again that you’re not making any mistake before clicking “send.” Otherwise, you may lose your Bitcoin during the transfer. I mentioned all the mistakes you can make in the chapter “#0 Avoid These Mistakes When Sending Bitcoin.”

Another cool feature that the best mobile wallets have is the ability to select your fee. Some mobile wallets will even let you enter a custom fee. 

Simply beware not to choose a fee that is too low, or else your transaction may never get processed. 
 

C] How to send Bitcoin from a hardware wallet

Sending Bitcoins from a hardware wallet is the third easiest method of sending Bitcoin.

The top hardware wallets, including Ledger wallets, offer small screens on their hardware products to help make things easier. 

Source: medium.com/rayonprotocol
 

Access your user manual or watch a Youtube guide specific to your hardware wallet. 

Then go to the withdrawal area and:

  • Enter the Bitcoin amount
  • Enter the recipient address
  • Triple check the data you entered
  • Click send/withdrawal!
Check again that you’re not making any mistake before clicking “send.” Otherwise, you may lose your Bitcoin during the transfer. I mentioned all the mistakes you can make in the chapter “#0 Avoid These Mistakes When Sending Bitcoin.”

D] How to send Bitcoin from a paper wallet

If you’re sending Bitcoin from a paper wallet, find it and have it in front of you. 

Make sure the private key is clearly visible.

Even though paper wallets may be the most secure way to store your Bitcoin (since it’s offline), they are the most difficult method to send your Bitcoin. 

Be extra careful. 

The way to send Bitcoin from a paper wallet is to actually "import" or "sweep" your paper wallet. 

It’s less like transferring from wallet to wallet and more like importing your wallet onto a live wallet (Mycelium or Ledger) or to an exchange.

How to send Bitcoin - From paper wallets
 

If you’re sending Bitcoin to someone else, you’ll need to put your trust in someone else’s hands.

You can either:

A) Actually, show your friend your private key so that they can import/sweep your wallet. Make sure you really are ready to do this, because there's no going back.

B) Import/sweep your wallet into your own live wallet (hardware, online, or exchange). And then, transfer from your live wallet the balance you want to send to your friend, merchant, or your other wallet.

Note: You should always sweep the complete balance. That’s just best practice. 

To import/sweep your paper wallet, go to your live wallet (hardware, mobile, or exchange) and find the "import private key" or "spend from cold storage" feature. 

Input your paper wallet’s private key and wait for confirmation that the wallet is open. 

You should see the balance available to spend. 

If your hardware/online/exchange wallet does not offer such a feature, then you will need to find an alternative that allows it.

Check again that you’re not making any mistake before clicking “send.” Otherwise, you may lose your Bitcoin during the transfer. I mentioned all the mistakes you can make in the chapter “#0 Avoid These Mistakes When Sending Bitcoin.”

#3 Track Your Transfer

After you’ve hit the “send” button, you have the option to track the BTC you sent. 

Find a legitimate blockchain explorer. One that you can use is blockchain.com

To find your transaction, you can either:

  • Paste your wallet address or the receiving address. The blockchain explorer will show all transactions related to the address you entered, and their status (how many confirmations). You’ll have to find and click the transaction you are looking for.
  • Paste the Tx ID into the explorer. Tx stands for transaction.

Both methods will show you the amount sent, at what time, and how many confirmations have been approved since the transfer started.

Source: blockchain.com
 

We’re almost over with this 3-step tutorial. I’ll just leave an FAQ below for your convenience.

Did you like my guide? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

More Awesome Resources

FAQ

How much does it cost to send Bitcoin?

This depends on the speed you wish to send it.

The Bitcoin blockchain runs on thousands of special mining computers around the world. 

The people running them take a very small fee for processing those transactions (similar to the fee that VISA charges for credit card transactions). 

Fast transactions cost more because you offer a bigger fee to process your transaction. Miners see this and choose to process your transaction first.

How to send Bitcoin - Transaction time vs fee
 

The lower the fee, the lower the priority.

You can check the current fees with a simple Google search or by visiting a dedicated site
 

Can I send Bitcoin without a wallet?

Technically, if you have the public address and private key of your Bitcoin, then you have a wallet. 

A paper wallet is nothing more than writing your public and private key on a piece of paper.
 

How many confirmations does a Bitcoin transfer take?

This all depends on the wallet you are sending Bitcoin to. 

Kraken, for example, will show a Bitcoin deposit after one confirmation, but you’ll need to wait for an additional three confirmations before you can access it. 

How to send Bitcoin - Number of confirmations
 

Different wallets require different confirmation amounts. Be sure to check what they require before you click “send.”
 

What happens if you send Bitcoins to an invalid address?

They will be lost forever.

I’m sorry, but that’s the blessing and the curse of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin blockchain is a permanent ledger that cannot be changed. 

That makes it incredibly safe to store your Bitcoin, but also puts the full weight of responsibility on your shoulders. 

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. 

Posted by R.R. Hauxley

R.R. Hauxley traveled around the world ... 1 year on 1 Bitcoin. 20 countries, 12 months, 1 Bitcoin. He wrote a book about it: Stolen Wallets and Where to Buy Them. Along the way he met and interviewed the sharpest, brightest minds in crypto today: Vitalik Buterin, Charlie Lee, and more. Today Rafael educates the crypto curious and delves further into the incredible world of blockchain.

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