Chieftain Press

Stay Informed: What is Bitcoin?

Emma Olsen, Contributor

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Heard of “Bitcoin” yet? Recently, Bitcoin has seen a surge of popularity in the media and many are wondering what it exactly is. Bitcoin has caused a bit of controversy, which can make the subject quite confusing to understand; so, here is Bitcoin explained.

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that is solely based online. Normal currency is in dollars and cents in America, but Bitcoin’s currency is all digitized. When people buy or sell from each other using Bitcoin, names, social security numbers, and any other form of identification is not used. Instead, it is all anonymous. Bitcoin as a company provides the buyer and the seller with an encryption code that each person enters into their Bitcoin software to receive their payment. They are paid with bitcoins. Currently, few companies accept Bitcoin as a method of payment on their website. Some of these companies include Expedia, Overstock, and the Xbox website, as reported by CNN Money.

Bitcoins can be bought with non-digital money on digital currency “marketplaces” like CoinBank, Bitstamp, or Bitfinex. On each of these websites users buy bitcoins to put into their “digital wallet”, a folder that can be saved on ones computer that holds all digital currency. There can be problems with this, such as hacking or viruses that can make digital currency unsafe. But many people really enjoy that Bitcoin is anonymous so that no one can see the transactions they make. This is especially appealing to those making illegal transactions.

The way that Bitcoins are created, or “mined”, involves solving very complex math problems using computers and software. Once the problem is solved, another Bitcoin is mined. The miners of Bitcoin get 12.5 Bitcoins per coin mined, according to CNBC.

The reason Bitcoin has shot up in popularity in recent weeks and months is because the price of stock in Bitcoin, and the price of Bitcoins in general has gotten much higher. At the time of this article, one Bitcoin is worth about $14,000 US dollars, according to CoinDesk. The price of this stock has had some hard times recently. People were using the high prices of Bitcoin stock to their advantage and massively selling the stock when Bitcoin hit its peak last December, according to Business Insider. However, Bitcoin appears to be doing better and stabilizing within the market. It seems as though Bitcoin is here to stay.

If all-online currencies continue to grow in popularity, it could change the way that people buy and sell things forever. The Chieftain Press will keep you updated. It’s important to stay informed.

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Stay Informed: What is Bitcoin?