What is Bitcoin?

You may have heard about it, but what is Bitcoin?

With a fast growing user base, there is a good chance you have overheard people talking about Bitcoin- though you still may a bit lost as to what it is. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer open-source cryptographic protocol that allows users to make transactions using a digital currency called Bitcoin to exchange value. Unlike traditional currencies, Bitcoin is not tied to or controlled by any government or financial institution. You can send send Bitcoins to anyone anywhere in the world, without any third party saying "no."

Five distinct advantages of Bitcoin

No personal information is required to use send and/or receive bitcoins. Bitcoin is unmatched for those whole value their privacy.
Transactions are irreversible. There is no risk of dealing with fraudulent charge-backs.
Bitcoin transactions can be sent between parties anywhere in the world and be finalized with 10 to 60 minutes.
The Bitcoin network has been running non-stop for over 48 months, leading to zero downtime (unlike other methods of digital payment.)
Most transactions are free, and at the very most carry a very small fee. The small fee is only a fraction of the fees traditional payment methods charge.

There are many other advantages to using Bitcoin and it is surprisingly simple to use! To learn more about the technical aspects of Bitcoin, please visit bitcoin.org.

Want to start using Bitcoin? First you need a wallet

There are three types of wallets; software wallets, mobile wallets, and web wallets. While they are developed in different manners, they all have the same goal: allow users to store bitcoins and make transactions to other users on the Bitcoin network. Users can make transactions to anyone, regardless of wallet type. Wallets simply vary in additional features, security, and stability.

Software wallets

Software wallets install directly onto your computer. They are traditionally safer than mobile wallets and web wallets, but make the user responsible for handling their own backups and taking additional security precautions.

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Mobile wallets

Mobile wallets allow users to utilize Bitcoin on the go. By using QR codes or NFC (Near field communication) on their phone, users can spend bitcoins at physical locations that accept it.

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Web wallets

Web wallets allow users to access their wallet anywhere with an internet connection, with most of the additional security managed by the wallet provider. Be careful however, as any security flaws in the provider's website could risk your bitcoins.

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Acquire bitcoins

You can acquire bitcoins by accepting them as as payment for any goods or services that you provide. You can also purchase them directly from an exchange with your bank account.

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Start spending!

Each day, new companies begin accepting bitcoins for goods and services.

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