Know your coins! The original and most famous cryptocurrency - what is it and what are the market prices telling us about the future of this coin?
Bitcoin is the first and most famous cryptocurrency. It enables P2P exchange of value without a middle man. It's a digital form of money controlled by no governments.
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital currency. Unlike government issued currencies, there is no single entity that is in charge, or processes transactions. Before Bitcoin, it was not possible to make electronic payments without using a third party, such as a bank or payment processor. This meant that payments would often be slow, expensive and inaccessible to everyone. Bitcoin provides a solution to these problems, by operating without a trusted third party. Instead, it works as a purely peer-to-peer electronic currency, meaning that payments can be sent directly from one person to another.
Simply put, specialised computers all over the world, known as ‘mining rigs’, use mathematical functions to independently verify all bitcoin transactions that are then added to a public, permanent, list of transactions, called the blockchain. The blockchain is stored on all of the participating computers and works as a secure universal record of who owns what.
Worldwide - Bitcoin can be sent to anyone, anywhere across the world (as long as they have an internet connection).
Private - You don’t need to provide any personal information when using Bitcoin. Transactions only contain amounts, wallet addresses and transaction hash’s.
Security - Due to the cryptographic nature of blockchain, transactions using Bitcoin are inherently more secure than traditional methods. None of your personal information is being sent over the internet and therefore there is a minimised risk of fraud.
Transparent - The software that constitutes the core of Bitcoin is free and open-source so anyone can review the code. Additionally, as all transactions are stored on the blockchain, every transaction can be viewed publicly.
Safety - In over 10 years of existence, the Bitcoin network has never been successfully hacked.