Last Updated: 19th December, 2019
At its simplest, Bitcoin is either virtual currency or reference to the technology. You can make transactions by check, wiring, or cash. You can also use Bitcoin (or BTC), where you refer the purchaser to your signature, which is a long line of security code encrypted with 16 distinct symbols. The purchaser decodes the code with his smartphone to get your cryptocurrency. Put another way; cryptocurrency is an exchange of digital information that allows you to buy or sell goods and services.The transaction gains its security and trust by running on a peer-to-peer computer network that is similar to Skype, or BitTorrent, a file-sharing system.
This Infographic in this article describes the BCH chain of bitcoin, called Bitcoin Cash.
The BTC chain of bitcoin no longer resembles the Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, as BTC is instead pursuing a scaling approach that involves high fees on the main chain in order to force commerce onto layer-2 solutions (which have been in development for several years but are still not yet ready actual use).
What is Bitcoin? A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners
Bitcoin emerged in 2008 just after Occupy Wall Street accused big banks of:
- misusing borrowers’ money,
- duping clients,
- rigging the system,
- and charging boggling fees.
Bitcoin pioneers wanted to put the seller in charge, eliminate the middleman, cancel interest fees, and make transactions transparent, to hack corruption and cut fees. They created a decentralized system, where you could control your funds and know what was going on.
Bitcoin has come far in a relatively short time. All over the world, companies, from REEDS Jewelers, a large jewelry chain in the US, to a private hospital in Warsaw, Poland, accept its currency.
Billion dollar businesses such as Dell, Expedia, PayPal, and Microsoft do, too. Websites promote it, publications such as Bitcoin Magazine publish its news, forums discuss cryptocurrency and trade its coins. It has its application programming interface (API), price index, and exchange rate.
Problems include thieves hacking accounts, high volatility, and transaction delays. On the other hand, people in third world countries may find Bitcoin their most reliable channel yet for giving or receiving money.
What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency created in 2009. Marketplaces called “bitcoin exchanges” allow people to buy or sell bitcoins using different currencies.
Bitcoin is a new currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are made with no middle men – meaning, no banks! Bitcoin can be used to book hotels on Expedia, shop for furniture on Overstock and buy Xbox games. But much of the hype is about getting rich by trading it. The price of bitcoin skyrocketed into the thousands in 2017.
Bitcoins can be used to buy merchandise anonymously. In addition, international payments are easy and cheap because bitcoins are not tied to any country or subject to regulation. Small businesses may like them because there are no credit card fees. Some people just buy bitcoins as an investment, hoping that they’ll go up in value.
People compete to “mine” bitcoins using computers to solve complex math puzzles. This is how bitcoins are created. Currently, a winner is rewarded with 12.5 bitcoins roughly every 10 minutes.
Buy on an Exchange
Many marketplaces called “bitcoin exchanges” allow people to buy or sell bitcoins using different currencies. Coinbase is a leading exchange, along with Bitstamp and Bitfinex. But security can be a concern: bitcoins worth tens of millions of dollars were stolen from Bitfinex when it was hacked in 2016.
Bitcoins are stored in a “digital wallet,” which exists either in the cloud or on a user’s computer. The wallet is a kind of virtual bank account that allows users to send or receive bitcoins, pay for goods or save their money. Unlike bank accounts, bitcoin wallets are not insured by the FDIC.
Bitcoin’s future in question
No one knows what will become of bitcoin. It is mostly unregulated, but some countries like Japan, China and Australia have begun weighing regulations. Governments are concerned about taxation and their lack of control over the currency.
Bitcoin’s Price Predictions and What You Should Consider
In reality, nobody can predict the future of a cryptocurrency, but if we could, we would all be billionaires. In the cryptocurrency world, prices are very volatile. This means that the value of a coin can go up or down really quickly, with often no explanation as to why. This makes predicting prices much more difficult than traditional markets.
When considering the future value of a cryptocurrency, it is always better to look at real-world events. This can include improved technology, future roadmap objectives, new partnerships or even regulations.
The most important thing is that you always perform your own independent research before making an investment. Never buy a cryptocurrency just because a price prediction excites you, or because your favorite YouTuber told you to! At the end of the day, everyone has a different opinion and there is no guarantee that anyone will get it right.
What does the future hold for Bitcoin?
So what’s next for Bitcoin? As outlined previously, it has many advantages and for this reason it will remain relevant as a currency. The vast majority of BTC transactions by volume are made in China so the two will remain interlinked.
We see the biggest risk to Bitcoin being its substitution and/or parallel use by other crypto currencies. Bitcoin die-hard fans claim that this is never going to be an issue since Bitcoin was the pioneer and as such enjoys first-mover privilege. This argument is probably flawed because although the BTC is used for payments, this is only a relatively small % of all Bitcoins. One of its primary uses is being a store of value and for this reason other crypto currencies can always step in and enjoy similar status if aggregate demand requires it.
Is Bitcoin simply a 21st century version of gold, only without the storage issues? Or is it just a short-lived popular fad that may soon evolve into something quite different? Only time will tell. The only certainty is that its price will remain very volatile in the future.