Bitcoin has several important features that set it apart from government-backed currencies.
1. It’s decentralized
The bitcoin network isn’t controlled by one central authority. Every machine that mines bitcoin and processes transactions makes up a part of the network, and the machines work together. That means that, in theory, one central authority can’t tinker with monetary policy and cause a meltdown – or simply decide to take people’s bitcoins away from them, as the Central European Bank decided to do in Cyprus in early 2013. And if some part of the network goes offline for some reason, the money keeps on flowing.
2. It’s easy to set up
Conventional banks make you jump through hoops simply to open a bank account. Setting up merchant accounts for payment is another Kafkaesque task, beset by bureaucracy. However, you can set up a bitcoin address in seconds, no questions asked, and with no fees payable.
3. It’s anonymous
Well, kind of. Users can hold multiple bitcoin addresses, and they aren’t linked to names, addresses, or other personally identifying information. However…
4. It’s completely transparent
…bitcoin stores details of every single transaction that ever happened in the network in a huge version of a general ledger, called the blockchain. The blockchain tells all.
If you have a publicly used bitcoin address, anyone can tell how many bitcoins are stored at that address. They just don’t know that it’s yours.
There are measures that people can take to make their activities more opaque on the bitcoin network, though, such as not using the same bitcoin addresses consistently, and not transferring lots of bitcoin to a single address.
5. Transaction fees are miniscule
Your bank may charge you a £10 fee for international transfers. Bitcoin doesn’t.
6. It’s fast
You can send money anywhere and it will arrive minutes later, as soon as the bitcoin network processes the payment.
7. It’s non-repudiable
When your bitcoins are sent, there’s no getting them back, unless the recipient returns them to you. They’re gone forever.
So, bitcoin has a lot going for it, in theory. But how does it work, in practice? Read more to find out how bitcoins are mined, what happens when a bitcoin transaction occurs, and how the network keeps track of everything.
1.First we’ll purchase the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin on coinbase.
2.Use this link to sign up to Coinbase we’ll both receive ten dollars of free coins when you spend over $100 (or the equivalent in your currency).
3.Press the ‘sign up’ button and fill out your name (make sure this is exactly how it’s written on your photo ID), email, password and location.
Just like a US bank, Coinbase is regulated by the US government, and has to follow strict financial rules. So they take verifying your identity very seriously. It’s a pain, but it does give Coinbase a reputation for being the most trusted way to convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency.
To verify your account you must supply a phone number, upload an image of your photo ID and verify a credit/debit card or bank account before you can buy.
4.Using a credit/debit card on Coinbase means higher fees but offers instant purchasing. Using a bank transfer is cheaper but slower (taking up to a week to get your coins).
Once your payment details are verified, click ‘buy/sell’ on the top menu.
Select ‘Bitcoin’, and at the bottom of the page choose how much to spend in your local currency / how many coins you want to buy.
Once you’re happy with the amount, click the big ‘Buy’ button.
You’ll be asked to confirm your purchase.
Press the ‘Confirm Buy’ button.
Congratulations! You now own some Bitcoin.