Digital Currencies: Bitcoin

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Bitcoin is a digital currency that was started in 2009. It is a digital representation of currency with no actual tangible representation. Bitcoin, commonly abbreviated as BTC or XBT, is distributed worldwide, decentralized digital money (also called cryptocurrency). It is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled nor backed up by any government, country, or individual entity. Unlike traditional currencies, such as dollars and euros, bitcoins are issued and managed without any regulation from any central government. Thus, it is more resistant to inflation and corruption. A Bitcoin derives its value basically from the demand and usage of bitcoins, similar to a stock. Bitcoin doesn’t derive its value from the government; it derives its value from the people. The more that use/accept it, the more of a demand there for it, and the more valuable it becomes. Bitcoin is controlled by the people; you are your own bank. Transaction terms are determined by the user. Bitcoins can be bought with credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, or even going to a local bitcoin exchange and buying them with cash. A person can acquire bitcoins as a payment for goods or services, purchase them with real money at a Bitcoin exchange, exchange bitcoins with someone you know, or earn bitcoins through performing mining services for the network. It has value and can be exchanged for real physical money, it’s valued exchange rate goes up and down like a stock, and it’s traded online like PayPal, but it is none of these. It’s widely considered as the future of world currency, but also scrutinized as a gateway for illegal activity. So which is it?

New bitcoin are created by the intensive user task called “mining.” A miner solves mathematical algorithms w...

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