I am new to Bitcoin, how can I get started?

I am new to both StackExchange and to the new online currency called Bitcoin. I understand what Bitcoin is and how it works, but I was wondering: how do you actually get started with Bitcoin? I have read some articles about mining and the different things you can do to actually get some money in profit, but none of the articles actually go into depth with how to actually do all these things. I was wondering if anyone in the community could help me and make any suggestions to me and those who want to get started in the new currency.

Do PCI USB risers lower the hashing rate?

I have a PCI USB riser like this one:
PCI x1 USB to PCI x16 riser

I have 2 identical video cards with one plugged directly into the motherboard and one plugged in via the PCI riser. I am seeing a hash rate of 290 KH/s on the one directly connected to the motherboard and 210 KH/s on the one connected via the riser. The riser is connected to the PSU so it is powered. There is no need to short the PCI slot. I have tried this riser in both a PCI x1 slot and PCI x16 slot with the same results. The video cards are both GTX 580.

Could the added latency of going through a USB wire account for this decrease in hash rate?

Using another video card (GTX 750 Ti FTW), I was able to confirm a decrease of about 100 KH/s while connected to the PCI USB riser. I have tried 2 separate risers with 2 separate video cards and every time a PCI USB riser is involved, my hash rate is lower than when connected directly to the motherboard. The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R. The BIOS has been updated and I only see BIOS options to change the PCI Express Frequency and PCI Express Clock Drive.

I am having a hard time finding an answer online and I need experts, please help. If these USB risers decrease the hashing power then I’m not sure why people want them. I want them for the added distance I need between my motherboard and GPUS in my setup but perhaps I should alter my setup to allow for the ribbon cable riser version. I appreciate your recommendations. Could there be a setting that accounts for this latency and keeps an optimal hashing power?

How do I test my wallet backup?

I follow the instructions for wallet backup and save them digitally. What’s a convenient way to occasionally test my wallet backup. I want to make sure that I’m not doing something stupid & my backup method isn’t creating unrecoverable garbage.

I can think of 2 ways for testing

  1. Install the bitcoin client on another computer and import the backup & check balances
  2. Rename my installed folder on the existing computer & do a fresh install on the existing computer.

But these methods are not very convenient. Is there a smarter way around it? e.g. a command line tool that’ll check the file integrity and spit out some data with which you are reasonably confident that it’s your wallet and has the right amount of coins.

Is there a lightweight blockchain parser library/server?

I’m using bitcoin-qt and have a local copy of the blockchain, in which I’m running some analysis with the JSON-RPC API using mostly getblock and getrawtransaction. I have no need writing or sending transactions in this use case. It’s overkill to run a full node just to read the blockchain, and it hurts my analysis performance, too.

Is there a (preferrably tested) library to parse the blockchain and return objects, JSON or not? Language doesn’t matter much. If not, is there a node implementation that allow turning off network and wallet features?

dogecoind won’t read conf

I’m having issues starting dogecoind after compiling in ubuntu 12.04 x64 running in VirtualBox on win 7 ultimate x64

here’s what i’ve tried from inside dogecoin/src after make -f makefile.unix:

sudo su
./dogecoind -server -listen -daemon -rpcuser=dogerpc -rpcpassword=dogerpcpw -rpctimeout=30 -rpcport=8334 -rpcallowip=192.168.1.* -rpcallowip= -testnet

and i get:

Error: To use the "-server" option, you must set a secure rpcpassword in the configuration file:

so i do:

cd ~/.dogecoin
emacs dogecoin.conf

i save the following parameters:


i even chmod 777 dogecoin.conf to be sure everyone on God’s green earth could access it so that wouldn’t be a problem, but still the same error when trying to start up dogecoind

would much appreciate any help/tips!

At what point does the criminal get caught?

Settle an argument for me.
Assume a criminal does the following:

1: goes thru trash to find a cancelled check
2: using a wifi hotspot like McDonald’s and “Hide my ass” buys bitcoins with stolen bank info
3: sells bitcoins and transfers money to his personal account.

Which step does he get caught?

My friends says he gets away with it, I say he gets caught when he sells them. Who’s right?

How can there be multiple outputs with same address in the same transaction?

I received a transaction such as below: (I changed the actual numbers but the format is exactly the same)

"amount" : 0.3,
"confirmations" : 739,
"blockhash" : "0000000000000000xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",
"blockindex" : 390,
"blocktime" : 1392284453,
"txid" : "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",
"time" : 1388888888,
"timereceived" : 1388888888,
"details" : [
"account" : "abc",
"address" : "address1",
"category" : "receive",
"amount" : 0.1
"account" : "abc",
"address" : "address1",
"category" : "receive",
"amount" : 0.2

When I check this transaction on blockchain.info. The site shows a single output to “address1” and the amount is 0.3.

When I try to replicate this situation with QT using Add Recipient, it does not allow me to enter the same address twice. I assume the sender was able to do this using sendrawtransaction.

Is it normal? Is it a non-standard transaction? Shouldn’t this transaction be rejected by miners?