What is Bitcoin?
By C. Spinney
Bitcoin is a form of monetary value called Cryptocurrency.
A digital form of monetary value.
BITCOIN is Money!
Bitcoin is the first of its kind. To understand what Bitcoin actually is, we must first understand the concept of Cryptocurrency formed with the computer science called Cryptography.
What is Cryptography?
The word Cryptography is derived from two Greek language root words. “Kryptos,” which means “Hidden,” and “Graphien,” which means to write.
In essence, Cryptography means to “Write in secret.”
Relating to modern computer science, cryptography creates and secures computer protocols in such a way that unintended outsiders cannot read a message sent between two people.
“Cryptography is the securing of data in such a way that only the intended recipient can receive and decode the information.”
The science of cryptography has been used by many different empires throughout the ages.
- The ancient Greeks used cryptography in military communications.
- The Egyptians used cryptography on stone carvings.
- Even the 2,000-year-old Indian text “Kamasutra” tells of different Ciphers or cryptography encryption methods.
How does any of this relate to Bitcoin?
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies use cryptography as the primary method to secure their network. The method used may be new, however, computer cryptography is by no means a new practice.
Militaries, credit card chips, and many e-commerce platforms have been using cryptography as a network and data security means for years. Bitcoin differs from these other cryptography examples by factoring in a decentralized network.
What is decentralization as it relates to Bitcoin?
Bitcoin runs its network of nodes on a decentralized P2P, (peer-to-peer,) network of computers called nodes. A decentralized network is a set of computers interconnected with no Central point or control point. Using this P2P platform, Bitcoin distributes all of the transaction data to all of the nodes using what is called the public ledger.
What does that mean, Public ledger?
A public ledger is the history or record of every transaction ever made wrapped into a block of information. These blocks are connected consecutively into a successive chain called a Blockchain. Each consecutive block on the chain contains a bit of information from the previous block. This technique creates a running structure that cannot be compromised without changing the entire blockchain history. When a user downloads a PC wallet to store their Bitcoins with, the wallet app will download the entire public ledger (aka Blockchain.) This enables the wallet app to verify the coins ownership throughout the entire Bitcoin history.
So why use Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is the future of global payments. With Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, (called crypto’s for short,) it has never been easier, safer, or cheaper to send money across the entire globe in a matter of seconds.
A user by no means has to completely understand how the process works to receive the benefits of Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency for that matter. All a consumer has to do to buy and sell with bitcoin is sign up for an exchange, find a wallet, and buy their Bitcoins!
Wallets are available in software form for PC or mobile devices, as well as in hardware form to securely hold your funds on a portable USB type device. If owning Bitcoin is something that interests you, signing up with an exchange such as Coinbase, or CEX.IO, will allow you to buy your Bitcoins off of the open market. Exchanges like these are safe and trusted by cryptocurrency traders worldwide. You may also opt to use a mobile app like Coinbase, Abra, or Robin Hood, to buy the digital currency of the future. Many large exchanges have Android and IOS apps available to make buying your favorite crypto even easier. Don’t wait until it’s too expensive, get your hands on the currencies of the future today!
(Sources indicate a $50-100K BITCOIN by 2019!)
Image Credit: mokin darom