The answer is both simple and complicated….The simple answer?
Bitcoin is digital money, a currency. You buy it, either online, or at a Bitcoin ATM like ours, hold it in a digital wallet, and spend it in an ever-increasing list of interesting places. Or you hold it and watch the value. Check the Wikipedia page on Bitcoin for a longer, more technical answer. Or, if you like your data in Frequently Asked Questions format, there’s a great summary post over on Reddit’s /r/bitcoin forum.
Bitcoin is a payment network. De-centralized, not tied to a bank, peer to peer. Transactions are fast and cheap, irreversible, and can be used to transmit any thing of value.
Why do I care about digital money?
Because Bitcoin, or BTC as it’s called for short, is already changing the world. Bitcoin is not tied to a goverment, a company, or a person. It can be used to get money like an arrow into difficult to reach regions, where the native services either make it difficult or expensive to reach.. like this video about Bitcoin in Uganda, empowering people. Moving money from one country to another, is called Remittance, is a massive hidden force in global economics. Multi-signatures transactions can be used to replace traditional escrow or line-of-credit services. Bitcoin as an investment has been very profitable, with the market moving from $1.99 to $1,286 in the last 3 years. Bitcoin can be used to make payments for goods or services, without the 3%+ fees usually associated with Credit Card payments. Multiple outlets now take bitcoin directly. Even Paypal is in the beginnings of Bitcoin integration!
How do I get Bitcoins?
- Buy Bitcoins from an ATM (like ours!)
- Buy on an Exchange like Bitstamp, Coinbase, Kraken, CampBX
- Transfer from one person to another
- Bitcoin Mining, using specialized hardware to help verify transactions and get paid in Bitcoins
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. Wallet software runs on PC, Mac, Android, IOS, and Microsoft Mobile devices, or you can use a Web-Based wallet service like BlockChain. More merchants are beginning to accept them: You can buy webhosting services, pizza or even manicures. Check out the Spend Bitcoins, or UseBitCoins web page for more sites!
Where did Bitcoin come from?
The idea for Bitcoin created in 2008 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Programmers took his ideas, starting in 2009, and built a working currency. Bitcoin Exchanges (places where people can buy/sell BTC for their local currency) came not long after, bringing greater interest and involvement.
- 2008: Satoshi Nakamoto releases white paper
- 2009: Bitcoin software releases
- 2010: First currency exchanges appear
- 2011: Reaches dollar parity, first price bubble ($32)
- 2012: Multisig transactions
- 2013: Silk Road, more price bubbles ($1200)
- 2014: Mainstream awareness
The Best “What is Bitcoin” Videos
We have picked the three best “What is Bitcoin” videos that you should watch to learn more about Bitcoin. Find them under the “Bitcoin” Menu up top!
What do famous people think of Bitcoin?
I’m a big fan of Bitcoin … Regulation of money supply needs to be depoliticized.
-Al Gore, Former US Vice President and
You want money to be based on something that no government mandarin can wish into existence with the stroke of a pen.
Bitcoin is a technological tour de force.
I think the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash.
We have elected to put our money and faith in a mathematical framework that is free of politics and human error.
Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of the world’s most important developments.
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