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Bitcoin for Dummies

by Tricia Whitlock

Really what the hell is Bitcoin? We know it’s a currency… but is it real, how is it valued, and how do we get our grubby hands on some?

Bitpay has come to our rescue and given us the low down on Bitcoin basics. If the info leaves you wanting more then be sure to check out Bitpay’s Bitcoin 101 class on Monday at 6:30 at Atlanta Tech Village. Expect to walk out knowing what it is, how to set-up and secure a Bitcoin wallet, where you can purchase Bitcoins. Register and we’ll see you there.

1. What’s Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency and peer-to-peer payment system that is completely decentralized from any central banking institution. Bitcoin is a form of payment for thousands of ecommerce retailers, brick and mortar stores, and peer-to-peer transactions.

2. Why would anyone use a payment network based on an imaginary currency?
Many think of Bitcoin as some imaginary force that lives in the clouds, but in fact Bitcoin is very real. Although Bitcoin is digital, its tangibility lies in your Bitcoin wallet, which is supported by an algorithm that secures the Bitcoin network. The payment network is fast, easy, secure and allows people to make instant payments to anyone in the world, while eliminating costly chargebacks and fraud.

3. Do people use the currency for anything besides speculation?
As with any new technology or new idea, there is always room for speculation. New ideas that push the envelope and make people re-think the norm are bound to create new opportunities. Bitcoin, however has some of the most dedicated and supportive business owners and individuals ready to carry the torch toward a common goal.

4. Who created Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was created by a pseudonymous developer, Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 as an open-source software designed as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system – often described as ‘cash for the internet.’

5. Where does Bitcoin come from?
New Bitcoin is distributed as payment to transaction processors, known as ‘miners.’ Bitcoin uses the world’s largest network of computers to verify each transaction, and coins are distributed by the software on each miner that verifies the validity of the transaction.

6. How do I get Bitcoin?
Bitcoin can be acquired in many ways:
– You can mine them (described previously)
– Buy from one of the many Bitcoin exchanges
– As a form of payment for goods and services

7. Okay, I bought some Bitcoin. Now what?
No matter how you acquire Bitcoin you will need a Bitcoin wallet. One of the most widely used is Blockchain, among many others. Your Bitcoin can then be deposited into your wallet using a unique identifier that is able to be scanned using your mobile device or camera on your computer. Spending your Bitcoin is equally as simple as there is a large database of merchants and individuals accepting Bitcoin, and can be found at bitpay.com/directory.

8. Should I buy Bitcoin?
Absolutely, sending and receiving money has never been easier. There has never been a faster, more economical and secure way to accept payments, as well as send and receive funds worldwide. Whether you are a business or individual, Bitcoin gives you the control of your money.

9. Could Bitcoin ever replace conventional money?
Anyone who has used Bitcoin sees its inherent value and potential. Will it replace conventional money? It is hard to say definitively, but its capability and technology is hard to overlook. For example, credit cards were never designed for the internet, and Bitcoin is capable of revolutionizing traditional payment methods, especially for e-commerce.

Hey Bitpay, thanks for sharing!

[Photo Credit: Coinminers.net]

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