The world of cryptocurrency has grown to the point where there are now many different types of digital currency that you can invest in and spend on whatever you choose. However, only ten years ago, no-one had heard of this new form of currency, and even today, many are speculating whether it will ever become one of the major players around the world. For most people, the world of bitcoin has been linked with illegal activity and the dark web, but there is more to bitcoins than that.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency that was created in 2009 by someone only know by their alias Satoshi Nakamoto. The intention was that bitcoins become one of the first currencies to be independent of any economy or country. Although it differs in many ways to traditional currency, it can be used in similar ways. For example, you can buy and sell with it, trade it, and invest in it. The big difference is that bitcoins are only an online currency, there are no physical notes or coins in circulation. Another big difference is that unlike traditional currency, no central bank controls it, and it cannot be increased unless you ‘mine’ for it. Each transaction has a record that is anonymized using a series of numbers as an identifier. These transactions are then kept in a public ledger known as a blockchain which ensures the integrity of the currency.
How Can You Buy it?
Buying bitcoins is not as difficult or complicated as you might think because there are many sites which offer payment for them. You can also mine for them if you have a computer; all you need to do is to solve a complex algorithm and you are rewarded with part of a bitcoin. The only problem is that, depending on the power of your computer, it can take over a year or more to mine one bitcoin. It is far easier to buy bitcoin from a reputable company; then you can use it much like other currencies.
Where Can You Use It?
With bitcoins becoming more popular all the time, there are more companies starting to accept them as payment. For example, many online companies find accepting bitcoins as an easier transaction that taking payments from more traditional sources. There are also ways that you can use them via mobile apps as well as keep track of how many you have.
Where Are They Kept?
Your bitcoins are kept in a special electronic wallet that is designed to keep them safe. There are many types of wallet, some located on your home computer, some hosted via a provider, and hardware ones that act like a USB stick. Whatever wallet you choose, you will be given a private key that you need to keep safe. Some people print it out, while others save it to a file on their computer.
Although bitcoins are still new compared to other currencies, they are rapidly becoming a versatile way to do business and to buy goods.