TL;DR; Use Bitcoin Core, set prune to 550, do transactions with an online wallet, send coins to an offline wallet for storage.

We've been reading about Bitcoin on Hacker News for about two years now. Recently we started reading Digital Gold, and have decided to start using Bitcoin.

Our initial foray into Bitcoin's IRC received good advice...

[20:11] <bigfont> Hey there. I'm a software developer (Microservices) and am new to bitcoin. What wallet do you recommend?
[20:11] <chainhead> Bitcoin Core
[20:11] <bigfont> It has a large HDD requirement. I suppose I would need a separate desktop computer. Is that the right idea?
[20:12] <chainhead> No you can use prune=550 in bitcoin.conf and it only takes like 3gb
[20:12] <bigfont> You've pointed me in the right direction. I can learn more from there. Thank you. 

Our first steps on Windows took fewer than 30-minutes.

  1. Download and install Bitcoin Core.
  2. Create an AppData/Roaming/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf file.
  3. Populate it with example configuration such as and uncomment prune=550.
  4. Start Bitcoin Core.
  5. Synchronization will start... it takes a few hours (though it says weeks.)

Now we are set up with a simple wallet and no coins.

Other early advice:

  1. Store with a cold wallet (disconnected). This surprised me... the reason is that wallets see our private keys and that malware could therefor steal those keys. chainhead recommended sending the keys from an online wallet to an offline wallet or hardware wallet for storage
  2. Don't keep coin in an exchange for long. My plan is not use exchanges at all.

Next steps:

Learn how to send from an online wallet to an offline wallet for storage.