What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is an entirely digital, global currency launched in 2009: it is a fully decentralized monetary system with no central authority that regulates the monetary base.
What does this mean? Well, it is money, currency, that can be sent over the internet to transfer money or to make payments to anyone. However, it is not physical money.
Think of how email allows us to send a digital message to anyone in the world, for free. Bitcoin is very much the same concept, but for money:
- Email is a digital version of paper mail.
- Bitcoin is a digital version of paper cash.
You can store digital cash in your wallet or send a payments instantly to anyone, without having to register or sign up. You just send your bitcoins to the right address.
Key properties of Bitcoin:
Completely open source, it is not managed, backed by, nor belongs to any central authority, country or government. It does not depend on any one economy or institution.
Using the internet, the Bitcoin network relies on thousands and thousands of redundant computers to verify and handle its transactions. It does not having a single point of failure.
The currency and its transactions are encrypted with the the toughest cryptographic hash functions available and virtually impossible to compromise or counterfeit.
All transactions are transparent and public. However, while every transaction is viewable by anyone, the parties or individual attached to the transactions remain anonymous.
Any transfers can occur from anywhere connected to the internet, and are not constrained by geographic, political boundaries nor imposed any transfer or conversion rates.
Transactions are irreversible and can be viewed on the network instantly and occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Compare this with bank transfers that can take 2-3 days an can be disputed.
Most Bitcoin transactions can be done for no fees, or for just a few optional cents regardless of transaction size. Compare that to wire transfers or credit card transactions.
The Bitcoin generation algorithm defines in advance at what rate the currency will be created. There will never be more than 21 million bitcoins and over half of all bitcoins has been generated.
- Hourly transactions: 2,742
- Daily transactions: 65,797
- Daily Bitcoins sent: 1,014,300
- Total bitcoins: 11,047,275
- Daily trade Volume: US$ 12,212,109
- Market Capitalization: US$ 1,359,549,408