Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. You’ve probably noticed people talking and tweeting endlessly about “Bitcoin” lately. So what the heck is it? Bitcoin is a decentralized, anonymous, digital-only currency that’s lately ebay bitcoin policy a lot of public attention.
But this isn’t some brand new invention — Bitcoin was originally developed in 2008. In 2008, someone using the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a paper describing how Bitcoins could work. Sure, you can buy Bitcoins with money. But you can also play prospector and “mine” them as well. You do this by using your computer to hunt for 64-digit numbers. By having your computer repeatedly solve puzzles, you’re competing with other miners to generate the number that the Bitcoin network is looking for.
If your computer generates it, you receive 25 Bitcoins. The Bitcoin system is decentralized and programmed to generate a fixed number of Bitcoins per unit of computing time. Currently, it’s set at 25 Bitcoins for every 10-minute block. In 2140, the total number of Bitcoins in circulation will be capped at 21 million. In other words, the Bitcoin system is self-sustaining, coded to prevent inflation, and encrypted to prevent anyone from disrupting its code. Here’s a full explanation on how you can get started mining Bitcoins. When first introduced, they weren’t worth much at all.
You can instantly see a Bitcoin’s current value over at Preev. Can I get real cash for my Bitcoins? You only need to get linked up with a Bitcoin exchange. The most popular one is called Mt. It currently only takes new members based on an application, but several others are out there. These are your go-to destinations to buy Bitcoins from other people or to turn your digital Bitcoins into real, analog money. Bitcoins are anonymous because they’re built upon a decentralized system.
Bitcoins exist entirely on their own because there’s no central infrastructure to shut down. The anonymity might be an asset to someone looking to buy something they don’t want their name attached to. You’re “identified” by nothing more than your Bitcoin wallet address — a string of randomized letters and numbers. There are absolutely no identifying characteristics beyond that.