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Bitcoin Explained!

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are the internet of money. Digital money is very different from traditional fiat currencies.  It offers three core values which many currencies cannot offer: Decentralization,  an Open Source, and Peer-to-Peer bankless transactions.  Bitcoin and other digital currencies (“the new money”) have the power to change the world, especially for the millions of unbanked people.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Bitcoin:

1.Who Invented Bitcoin and How Does it Work?

The person or persons who created the first Bitcoin client used the name “Satori Nakamoto” and is considered to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Nakamoto helped out with the code and mining until 2010. And then he/they dropped out of sight…never heard from again. This adds to the mystery!! He described Bitcoin as  “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” He spelled this out in his 2009 original Bitcoin Protocol  white paper. This simple document is basically a roadmap for the creation of Bitcoin. Satoshi’s white paper describes in a scientific way how cryptocurrency (digital money)  will function in today’s society and for many years to come.

Bitcoin was the very first digital currency ever developed that really worked. It allows for a new payment system that is basically completely digital.  What’s wonderful about Bitcoin is that no middlemen are involved: no banks, governments, or third parties. All payments are peer-to-peer bankless transactions that are permanently recorded on a unique ledger called “the Blockchain.” This ledger is shared between Bitcoin “miners” around the world who verify and keep this network safe.

Only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be available. This means that there are a finite number of Bitcoins. No more Bitcoins will ever be created again by anyone. This is very different from fiat currencies where governments can simply ‘print’ more paper money which leads to  inflation and a devaluation of that currency.

I love the Bitcoin Revolution. I’m so impressed with this cutting edge technology.  The uses for Bitcoin and the Blockchain are even bigger than the internet itself. This revolution truly has the potential to change the world!!!

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2.Let’s Talk about Bitcoin and the Blockchain!

The Blockchain made Bitcoin possible. Bitcoin is totally interwoven with the Blockchain. They go hand and glove. The Blockchain started a revolution. It is the glue that holds this worldwide network of Bitcoiners together. It’s simply a public ledger of transactions which protects against what’s called “double spending” because the transactions are recorded on the Blockchain itself. So the Blockchain solved the “double-spend problem.” Many programmers have spent years trying to create a code that prevented the “double spend” issue without success. Satoshi Nakamoto solved this riddle. The users of Bitcoin determine its value. Bitcoin is on the cutting edge of technology. And what a great experiment it is!!!  I love the fact that it is underground, subversive, and disruptive!!! Whether we like it or not, Bitcoin and other digital currencies are here to stay. We can either jump in, embrace it, and profit….or sit by the sidelines and miss the Bitcoin opportunities. For example…if you have $200-300 sitting in a savings account at a bank right now, you won’t earn much interest. But there are some opportunities out there where you can leverage your Bitcoin to earn more Bitcoin, which is an appreciating asset. How would you like to earn money in your sleep? Let’s have your money make more money for you NOW!

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3.What’s so important about Bitcoin?

Those who live outside the mainstream of the present international banking system can really benefit from Bitcoin. Such people or their families may live in a developing economy, or work for international clients, or perhaps are under 18, or work in an industry not served by  credit card companies or Paypal.  Bitcoin is also for you if you’re frustrated by having your accounts frozen for some insignificant error or by international transaction fees.

For merchants, Bitcoin is quicker and less expensive than credit cards, and all payments are final, along with lower fees and no risk of fraud. Most attractive of all, Bitcoin’s value may well increase in the future. Also, the existing international fiat currency/central banking system has an uncertain future and many people want to regain control of their money as soon as possible. Bitcoin speaks to all these issues. With Bitcoin you are your own bank. You carry your bank on your phone.

4.I have heard about Bitcoin Mining but I don’t understand it.

Bitcoin mining can be compared to mining gold, but it’s done digitally instead of physically. It uses special computers solving algorithms or hash functions. Using these formulas, miners can confirm blocks of transactions.

5.How Does One go about Buying, Selling, or Using Bitcoin?

Bitcoins can be bought from a variety of sources including online exchange or brokerage services that allow purchases with bank transfers using fiat currency, credit, and/or Paypal.  It’s also available through LocalBitcoins, and from Bitcoin Teller Machines (like ATM’s) all over the world.

Bitcoins can be sold in several ways: online to an exchange, live in person, or on local 2-way ATM’s or sometimes they are called BTM’s. Exchanges buy your Bitcoin at the current market price. 2-way ATM’s permit you to sell the currency. There are also teller machines that require identification as well. One place to buy bitcoin online is: coinbase.com

You can download a bitcoin wallet on your phone or computer as an APP. This wallet application and address in number form and in QR code allows for easy transactions with an individual, a merchant, or an exchange.

6.Do any Stores Accept Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is accepted both online and by physical businesses. Storeowners use the convenient applications of Coinbase, CoinKite, and BitPay, and most of these also offer invoicing and accounting. However, merchants can accept Bitcoin without these third parties being involved. Individual users can also accept Bitcoin by themselves without outside assistance.

Over 100,000 companies accept Bitcoin. Here are the top 10: Microsoft, Dell, Dish, Expedia, Intuit, Monoprix, TimeInc., Bewegg, Overstock. In addition the following organizations accept Bitcoin: Ebay, Expedia, Tesla Motors, Virgin, Netflix, Pirate Bay, Paypal, WordPress, Domino’s Pizza, Amazon, OKCupid, Zynga, Reddit, Etsy, Foodler, Cisco, Gaia, Hitachi, Titsu, Actel, Nvidia, Google, Purse, Samso, GirlScouts, Subway, Fiverr, IBM, CheapAir, Target, CVS, Victoria Secret, Home Depot, Kmart,Sears, Apple App Store, Grooveshark, Zappos, Whole Foods, The Gap, GameStop, JC Penney, Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King (Europe), AutoPartsWay, OpenBazaar, Polish Airlines, Lawyer.com, Uber (considering it), Worldcore, Redbull Vending Machines, and some Starbucks.

Some banks or investing houses are creating or researching their own digital currencies: Bank of America, Barclays, Bank of England, China Central, CitiGroup, Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, and Ernest & Young (Switzerland).

Some universities accepting tuition in Bitcoin: ESMT in Berlin and The Czech Institute. Also These universities are teaching courses in Bitcoin and/or digital currencies in general: Yale, Stanford, MIT, NYU, Simon Fraser and more.

These companies are exploring their own digital currency: Ebay has 2 pending patents, Apple, Amazon, and Paypal. I am sure there will be more to come.

7.Can Bitcoin Really Be Trusted?

The Bitcoin network rests on the three basic ideas of technological freedom: Decentralization, Open Source code, and Peer-to-Peer technology as well as on personal faith in algorithms, encryption, and numbers. Founded upon these principles, Bitcoin’s Blockchain works through the integrity of the peer-reviewed system. Do not trade Bitcoin with someone you do not know or whose authenticity cannot be verified.

8.Is Bitcoin Transparent or Anonymous?

Bitcoin transactions utilize public addresses, long strings of about 30 characters usually beginning with ‘1’ or ‘3’. The sending and receiving addresses for all transactions can be publicly viewed.

Since these numbers are close to incomprehensible, hard to remember except with a computer, and without names or identifying information, it is often argued that Bitcoin is an “anonymous currency”. This argument is often extended to claim that Bitcoin is used for criminal enterprises and tax fraud. Just like anything else… Bitcoin can be used for good or bad. It depends upon the people using it. One example of a dark use of Bitcoin was the Silk Road black market operation that was shut down appropriately.

If you make your Bitcoin address public anywhere, it can be tied to your real identity. Even if you are more careful, just using the same address again and again displays a pattern through which a skilled information analyst could identify you by transaction times, amounts, locations, and regularity – and linking this data to other sources like receipts, exchanges, and shipments.

To ensure privacy and security some people use a new address for each transaction, which most wallet software is made to do. But even though this practice makes it more difficult to find your identity, it doesn’t make you totally anonymous. It is really not necessary if you have nothing to hide.

There are risks involved in every way to make Bitcoin more private. You can use a “mixer” or “tumbler” which moves your Bitcoins through a confusing spread of addresses until they’re virtually impossible to trace. But the mixing services may not be trustworthy, as they are usually anonymous themselves, and may not preserve 100% of your money at the other end of the transaction.

You can also exchange Bitcoin for a more anonymous digital currency like Monero or DASH – basically doing the mixing yourself. But the resultant complexity may require online exchanges with greater risk of revealing the user’s identity. Also, the frequent fluctuations of digital currencies may influence how much value emerges at the other end of complex transactions.

Considering the growth of the “Blockchain forensics” industry, users of Bitcoin should seriously think about proactively guarding the privacy and security of their transactions on an ongoing basis.

9.What can Bitcoin and the Blockchain do together?

Bitcoin can act as a currency, a voting medium, an international ID and reputation app, a micro-tipper, a crowdfunding platform, and nearly everything else covered by the current financial system and much more, like music rights, land and title ownership, etc.  It’s the start of the evolving growth of worldwide finance and property rights.

10.What if my Bitcoins are lost?

Since unique private keys come with individual Bitcoin wallets, if the keys are lost, there’s no way to retrieve them without a passcode seed or other retrieval tools; and that key is needed to spend your coins. But, most contemporary wallets, like Mycelium, have backups that permit you to create new private keys if the original ones are lost. Be very careful not to keep too much “cash” in your bitcoin wallet on your phone. If you lose your phone it is like losing your wallet.

11.Who’s in Control of Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is not a company and therefore has no governing board and no managerial flowchart or bureaucracy. It is just a software protocol, like HTTP  (the Internet) and SMTP (email). This has been true from Bitcoin’s beginning in 2009.  However, certain people can influence how Bitcoin functions: for example, developers, who create the software the Bitcoin network runs on.  The developers decide the updates to make to the protocol. Another important example is the miners, people and companies whose machines generate new Bitcoins and validate transactions. So they can "vote" with their hardware on the specific Bitcoin software to support. Developers may radically revise the protocol, but these revisions will be not effective until the miners adopt them.

But the most important influence is that of the users: you. In the last analysis, Bitcoin has no value unless regular users decide that it fulfils their needs. You can observe this user effect in process by looking at alternative cryptocurrencies or ‘altcoins' (the new money) – there are currently over 700 of them at different levels of popularity. They rise and fall in response to the users’ decisions to buy, hold, sell, or simply walk away from them. And every merchant can decide whether to accept them as payment. Bitcoin has to deal with the same market and all its competition.  While Bitcoin is the most popular digital currency, no one can guarantee that it always will be. (That is why you might want to look on my page called “OPPORTUNITIES” on this website. The Trade Coin Club trades the top ten digital currencies. That platform allows you to get paid whether Bitcoin goes up or down!!! I highly recommend it.)  Finally, large stakeholders in the currency and venture capitalists might affect Bitcoin’s future, though they have no direct control, but they rarely agree on its status and direction.

12.Why is Bitcoin Volatile?

While Bitcoin is still on the slope upward towards being the main international currency, it is popular with currency traders and speculators and therefore can be volatile in price.  The more a news event seems to make wider adoption of Bitcoin likely, the more it may raise the price; the more obstacles it creates, the more the price tends to fall. The bottom line is that the more usable the currency, the higher the value.

The volatility may be fueled by internal changes in the Bitcoin exchange world, by political or financial changes in a particular country, or by  other events, like an earthquake or tsunami. If the price of Bitcoin rises dramatically because of a surge in purchasing, eventually it will stabilize as a result of its general acceptance worldwide.

13.If I am a Merchant How Do I Accept Bitcoin?

It is very easy and it takes less than 10 minutes to set it up. If you have a Bitcoin wallet on your phone or computer the customer can transfer their funds to your wallet. This is very advantageous to you since accepting Bitcoin has much lower fees than credit cards, PayPal, and bank services.

14.Just Curious What are the Legal Implications of Bitcoin?

In most countries of the world bitcoin is legal. Please check with the regulations in your own country. Wikipedia is one source of this information but please double check.

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