July 6, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
An increasing number of people are embracing Bitcoin as a way to purchase or sell itetms. What is bitcoin? It’s a virtual currency that is not under government or major banking control; the coins are self-regulated through a pre-programmed digital economy and transferred from person to person. So if you want to purchase a video game, digital content, or even real-world goods and services, Bitcoin can be just as much an option as PayPal or any other traditional service.
Bitcoin users can start transferring those funds through their mobile phones thanks to the Bitcoin for Android app that’s now available. The app enables complete Bitcoin management from the phone and doesn’t require an outside service. Users scan a QR code to receive or send money, send email invoices to request payment, and have a wallet file synced to their Google account. That way, Bitcoin for Android users won’t lose their money if they lose their phone. The Bitcoin URI format is also recognized.
People already participating in the Bitcoin economy should temper their excitement because Bitcoin for Android is still in its early stages of public consumption. App developer Brian Armstrong warns, “This app is still under development and may lose your coins! Test it with small amounts,” on the app’s GitHub page. He goes on to suggest that users should:
Next, get a few coins in your wallet by starting the app and tapping “Request Money”. From here you can send a request to yourself by email. The request will contain your wallet’s receive address which you can paste into your desktop client or the bitcoin faucet to add funds to your wallet.
It’s akin to how people use their physical wallets and money everyday. You may have $1,000 in a checking account, but it would be foolish to carry that much cash in your wallet. Until Bitcoin for Android is fully-vetted and tested, users should test with a small amount of money and use it only as needed. (It should also be noted that the app supports the Bitcoin URI format.)