Distributed transmit beamforming with N cooperating nodes, each with fixed transmit power, provides a received power scaling with N2, corresponding to a “power pooling” gain of N and a beamforming gain of N. Prior work has shown that the optimal beamforming solution can be attained using a decentralized, iterative algorithm based on one bit (per iteration) feedback broadcast from the receiver to the transmitters. The algorithm is provably convergent in a noiseless setting, and is the basis for several successful prototypes. In this paper, we develop a framework for providing analytical insight into the effect of receiver noise, with the following key question in mind: can we bootstrap the algorithm from the incoherent power-pooled solution to operate in a regime in which the received SNR per node can be made arbitrarily small as we scale up the number of nodes N? Our analytical computations, validated by simulations, yield a somewhat negative answer: while the power-pooling gain guarantees a linear increase in received power with N, the per-node SNR cannot be scaled down with N if we wish to attain a quadratic increase in received power. Specifically, the fraction of the ideal beamforming gain attained using the one-bit algorithm is asymptotically independent of N, and depends only on the per-node SNR. However, the one-bit algorithm provides significant performance gains in practical regimes with a moderate number of cooperating nodes: the per-node SNR required for attaining a substantial fraction of the beamforming gain is low enough (e.g., - 5dB for 65% of the beamforming gain) to provide significant extension in operation regimes, while providing aggregate SNRs which permit reliable communication at high spectral efficiency: for example, starting from -5 dB per-node SNR, we obtain about 11 dB aggregate SNR with 10 cooperating nodes, and 17 dB SNR with 20 cooperating nodes.