What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a new currency known as a “cryptocurrency.” It was introduced in 2009 by a person, who still remains unknown, using the alias “Satoshi Nakamoto.” Bitcoin transactions are made from one bitcoin address to another without a middle man, and banks are not involved. When you decide to start buying and selling with bitcoins, you have to sign up for a bitcoin address. You are then given a string of numbers and letters (your bitcoin address) with which you can carry out online payment transactions with other users. Consequently, there are no transaction fees and users do not even have to provide their real names.
Why choose Bitcoin?
Bitcoins are used to purchase merchandise anonymously. Moreover, international bitcoin payments are convenient and cheap because bitcoins are not affiliated with any country or under any rule. Small businesses seem to benefit as there are no credit card fees. You can even buy bitcoins as an investment, since they have the potential to increase in value. This is apparent in the steady rise in the value of bitcoins since their inception.
Purchase on Exchange
You may easily buy or sell bitcoins by using their associated currencies in markets which are known as “bitcoin exchanges.” There are lots of places to purchase bitcoins. Two examples of these markets are Blockchain and localbitcoins.
Bitcoins can also very easily be transferred from one account to another simply by using computers or mobile apps. These provide a convenient method of transaction, as your bitcoins can then be used as basically digitized cash.
People are involved in competing to “mine” bitcoins by using computers to solve complex math puzzles. This is the way bitcoins are produced. At the moment, a winner is rewarded with 25 bitcoins roughly every 10 minutes with every complex puzzle solved.
Bitcoins can easily be stored in a “digitalized wallet” which is either on the “cloud” or on your mobile or computer. This wallet is like a virtual bank account which is primarily used to keep your bitcoins safe. With a bitcoin wallet, you can transfer bitcoins between other users and yourself, or you can pay for the products and services that you have purchased, all in a very convenient and quick manner. However, one must remember that these digital wallets are not insured the way typical bank accounts are insured by the FDIC.
The bitcoins on the cloud or servers are also vulnerable in that they are susceptible to being hacked by other users, groups or even companies. Not only this, but the bitcoins in your mobile phone or computer may be deleted accidentally or eliminated by a virus that has infected your software.
Although every bitcoin transfer is recorded in a public log, the names of respective buyers and sellers are never disclosed, only their wallet IDs are. Because of this established anonymity, which allows bitcoin users to keep their transactions private, it also lets them purchase or sell off anything without a trace leading back to them. While this has some advantages, it also has disadvantages because it is now the transaction method for shady people. These people use bitcoin as the currency of choice for dealing with transfers regarding illegal activities, such as drugs and other banned products or services. The anonymity has made room for misuse, and this is one of the concerns being discussed regarding what the future of bitcoin could be.
What is the future of bitcoin?
Because governments have little control over these transactions, because of the problems they potentially present in terms of continuing illegal matters, and because of the lack of taxation of this currency, there is a general rise in concern towards the use of bitcoin. As bitcoin is unregulated, the future is still hazy in terms of how bitcoin will be dealt with. However, this is also a very uncertain matter that can change anytime.
What do you think about bitcoin? Do you think it is a good investment plan? Let me know in the comments.
Featured photo credit: Gwopr via bitbillions.com