Bitcoin. What is it?
There’s no doubt that cryptocurrencies have been one of the most notable events, especially in recent years, which can be outlined by the HUGE expansion in price by bitcoin during the winter
months of 2017. The cryptocurrency experienced a level of growth that no other asset has seen, and it first started in September where it was valued at $3000 and if we fast forward to December of the same year, the same cryptocurrency was worth an astounding $19,000, making a lot of people millionaires from it. So many people have taken drastic measure just so they can be involved in the crypto boom of the 21st century, with some taking out loans or remortgaging their houses, and are primarily focusing on bitcoin. Whilst there are a plethora of different cryptocurrencies out there, it is bitcoin that has really gripped the world.

But what exactly is Bitcoin?
By all accounts, bitcoin is a virtual currency, that can be used to make transactions between different users using specific bitcoin addresses called public or private keys. These keys are simply a string or random numbers and letters that are given to you when you download and install your wallet, and one of the many reasons why people are raving about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, is because your address have no reference to your personal details, like your name, home address, age or banking information.

One of the most popular benefits to using bitcoin as an official method of payment, is the speed. Transactions are dealt with in an instantaneous fashion in the network, and can be confirmed with a couple of minutes. Since bitcoin runs on a global blockchain network, you can send bitcoin from one side of the world, to the other side almost instantly.

What’s more, bitcoins are securely locked in a public key cryptography system. Meaning, only the owner of the private key can send bitcoins to a recipient. With a combination of high level cryptography and the magic of large numbers makes it impossible to crack.

Because technology has experienced a surge much like bitcoin itself, we have been able to work together and conquer a few problems, one of which is the double-spending problem. This problem
alludes to the fact that virtual currencies can easily be duplicated and reused, however the way round this issue was to combine the use of cryptography and monetary incentives. When
transactions are carried out using bitcoin, they are all required to be included on the public ledger called blockchain, which ensures that the user who is sending bitcoins really does own them.
Transactions that are added to the blockchain and go through a verification process, which involves an immense amount of computing power, this means that it would take an enormous amount of energy to corrupt the information on the network.

A lot of people have turned to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin because they are in control of their own supply, meaning the government or a bank cannot interfere. One of the best things about bitcoin is that it is decentralised, which means no single entity can own or control the blockchain network.

Having a decentralised network has many benefits, one of which includes it being unhackable, because as mentioned earlier on, it would take a huge amount of computing power to override the
network and change anything.

Despite bitcoins recent drop in price and many people thinking that it has finally burst its bubble, although I don’t think it has, bitcoin is here to stay. It’s anyone’s guess as to where bitcoin will end up by the end of the year, but why waste time speculating where the cryptocurrency will finish, when you could be enjoying its benefits, especially before any sort of substantial regulation is out in place.

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