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Posted by on 6th May, 2013

Explaining Bitcoin to my 9 year old

Explaining Bitcoin to my 9 year old

I decided I wanted to create an address for my son and store 1 Bitcoin in it and give it to him. This way, he could be part of this new technology, way before it was mainstream and watch the value of his single coin grow or shrink.

So, inevitably, when I told him I had given him one Bitcoin, the questions began:

A bitwhat? What’s a Bit… oin?

Well, first, it’s Bitcoin… B-i-t-c-o-i-n. Bitcoin is money, but instead of it being a coin, like you know it, it is computer money. You know how email isn’t paper and is really computer mail..? An email is a message that is inside the computer and when you send it, the recipient can read it from their computer. The same with Bitcoin. The money is inside the computer and when you send it to someone that person then has the money in their computer and can use it to buy things online.

Can I see it? Where is it?
It’s computer money. Digital. You can’t touch it. It exists inside your computer.

How do you get it? Does it come in an email?

Kind of. Just like email you can use Gmail to check your email or you can have a dedicated application to help you read your email. The same with Bitcoin, you can use websites that help you manage your Bitcoin money or dedicated applications. Now, you have an email address that I send you messages to. With Bitcoin, you have a Bitcoin address. I can send Bitcoins to this address and you will just receive them instantly.

Can I spend my money then?

Not quite. In order to use or spend your money, you need a special key. This is called the private key. Much like your password to read your email. Only with this key, can someone send money out of your account. In other words, anyone can send money into your account, but only the person holding the key can send money out.

Can I have that key?


I promise I won’t do anything with it!

I said no.

So, can I or mom look how much money I have?

Yes, anyone can look at anyone’s account. Imagine these accounts to be like glass mailboxes. Anyone can see how much money is inside each mailbox and you can even see how money comes out of one mailbox and goes into another one. However, you can only look; in order to open the mailbox, you will need a key.

Ok, I am going to play outside now… bye