Bitcoin is a digital or virtual currency that uses peer-to-peer technology to facilitate instant payments. Bitcoin is decentralized, meaning it is not subject to government or financial institution control.
Bitcoin is a relatively new phenomenon; it was invented in 2009 by an anonymous person or group of people using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, and started to gain widespread adoption in 2013.
Bitcoin is often described as a “cryptocurrency” or a “virtual currency” because it uses cryptography to secure its transactions and to control the creation of new units of the currency. Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.
As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment.
Bitcoin has been praised for its potential use as an alternative to traditional fiat currencies, but has also been criticized for its volatility and lack of mainstream adoption. Supporters of Bitcoin say that it is a more efficient and cheaper way to make payments than traditional fiat currencies.
Critics say that Bitcoin is too volatile to be used as a currency and that it is not backed by any government or central bank.
Bitcoin is secure if used correctly. Transactions are irreversible and cannot be fraudulently reversed by the sender. However, like with any other form of payment, there are risks involved with using Bitcoin.
For example, bitcoins can be stolen if you have them stored in an online wallet and your account is hacked. It is also possible to lose your bitcoins if you forget your private key or lose your backup phrase. That’s why it’s important to take precautions when using Bitcoin and to only store them in secure wallets.