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All You Need To Know About Bitcoin

All You Need To Know About Bitcoin

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.

Getting Bitcoins

Purchase on Exchange

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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.

Transferring Bitcoins

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.

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Mining

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.

Owning Bitcoins

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.

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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.

Maintaining Anonymity

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.

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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

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Elise Bauer

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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