What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet.

How does Bitcoin work?

From a user perspective, Bitcoin is nothing more than a mobile app or computer program that provides a personal Bitcoin wallet and allows a user to send and receive bitcoins with them. This is how Bitcoin works for most users.

Behind the scenes, the Bitcoin network is sharing a public ledger called the “block chain”. This ledger contains every transaction ever processed, allowing a user’s computer to verify the validity of each transaction. The authenticity of each transaction is protected by digital signatures corresponding to the sending addresses, allowing all users to have full control over sending bitcoins from their own Bitcoin addresses.

Advantages of Bitcoin?

Payment freedom – It is possible to send and receive bitcoins anywhere in the world at any time. No bank holidays. No borders. No bureaucracy. Bitcoin allows its users to be in full control of their money.

Choose your own fees – There is no fee to receive bitcoins, and many wallets let you control how large a fee to pay when spending. Higher fees can encourage faster confirmation of your transactions. Fees are unrelated to the amount transferred, so it’s possible to send 100,000 bitcoins for the same fee it costs to send 1 bitcoin. Additionally, merchant processors exist to assist merchants in processing transactions, converting bitcoins to fiat currency and depositing funds directly into merchants’ bank accounts daily. As these services are based on Bitcoin, they can be offered for much lower fees than with PayPal or credit card networks.

Fewer risks for merchants – Bitcoin transactions are secure, irreversible, and do not contain customers’ sensitive or personal information. This protects merchants from losses caused by fraud or fraudulent chargebacks, and there is no need for PCI compliance. Merchants can easily expand to new markets where either credit cards are not available or fraud rates are unacceptably high. The net results are lower fees, larger markets, and fewer administrative costs.

Security and control – Bitcoin users are in full control of their transactions; it is impossible for merchants to force unwanted or unnoticed charges as can happen with other payment methods. Bitcoin payments can be made without personal information tied to the transaction. This offers strong protection against identity theft. Bitcoin users can also protect their money with backup and encryption.

Transparent and neutral – All information concerning the Bitcoin money supply itself is readily available on the block chain for anybody to verify and use in real-time. No individual or organization can control or manipulate the Bitcoin protocol because it is cryptographically secure. This allows the core of Bitcoin to be trusted for being completely neutral, transparent and predictable.

Disadvantages of Bitcoin

Degree of acceptance – Many people are still unaware of Bitcoin. Every day, more businesses accept bitcoins because they want the advantages of doing so, but the list remains small and still needs to grow in order to benefit from network effects.

Volatility – The total value of bitcoins in circulation and the number of businesses using Bitcoin are still very small compared to what they could be. Therefore, relatively small events, trades, or business activities can significantly affect the price. In theory, this volatility will decrease as Bitcoin markets and the technology matures. Never before has the world seen a start-up currency, so it is truly difficult (and exciting) to imagine how it will play out.

Ongoing development – Bitcoin software is still in beta with many incomplete features in active development. New tools, features, and services are being developed to make Bitcoin more secure and accessible to the masses. Some of these are still not ready for everyone. Most Bitcoin businesses are new and still offer no insurance. In general, Bitcoin is still in the process of maturing.

What sets the Bitcoin price?

The price of a bitcoin is determined by supply and demand. When demand for bitcoins increases, the price increases, and when demand falls, the price falls. There is only a limited number of bitcoins in circulation and new bitcoins are created at a predictable and decreasing rate, which means that demand must follow this level of inflation to keep the price stable. Because Bitcoin is still a relatively small market compared to what it could be, it doesn’t take significant amounts of money to move the market price up or down, and thus the price of a bitcoin is still very volatile.

Is Bitcoin a Ponzi Scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money, or the money paid by subsequent investors, instead of from profit earned by the individuals running the business. Ponzi schemes are designed to collapse at the expense of the last investors when there is not enough new participants.

Bitcoin is a free software project with no central authority. Consequently, no one is in a position to make fraudulent representations about investment returns. Like other major currencies such as gold, United States dollar, euro, yen, etc. there is no guaranteed purchasing power and the exchange rate floats freely. This leads to volatility where owners of bitcoins can unpredictably make or lose money. Beyond speculation, Bitcoin is also a payment system with useful and competitive attributes that are being used by thousands of users and businesses.

What are the transaction fees?

Transactions can be processed without fees, but trying to send free transactions can require waiting days or weeks. Although fees may increase over time, normal fees currently only cost a tiny amount. By default, all Bitcoin wallets listed on Cryptoincome.me add what they think is an appropriate fee to your transactions; most of those wallets will also give you chance to review the fee before sending the transaction.

Transaction fees are used as a protection against users sending transactions to overload the network and as a way to pay miners for their work helping to secure the network. The precise manner in which fees work is still being developed and will change over time. Because the fee is not related to the amount of bitcoins being sent, it may seem extremely low or unfairly high. Instead, the fee is relative to the number of bytes in the transaction, so using multisig or spending multiple previously-received amounts may cost more than simpler transactions. If your activity follows the pattern of conventional transactions, you won’t have to pay unusually high fees.

Is Bitcoin secure?

The Bitcoin technology – the protocol and the cryptography – has a strong security track record, and the Bitcoin network is probably the biggest distributed computing project in the world. Bitcoin’s most common vulnerability is in user error. Bitcoin wallet files that store the necessary private keys can be accidentally deleted, lost or stolen. This is pretty similar to physical cash stored in a digital form. Fortunately, users can employ sound security practices to protect their money or use service providers that offer good levels of security and insurance against theft or loss.

What are Bitcoin wallets?

Bitcoin Wallets let us send, receive and store Bitcoin.

Wallets secure our Bitcoin funds by guarding our private keys. These private keys act as the proof of ownership for our Bitcoins. Bitcoin wallet is like a key to your Bitcoin deposit box.

What is a private key?

Private keys are designed to communicate securely through insecure communication channels. Private key decrypts the message. You are the only person with the private key. Private key gives you a secure access to your funds and blocks everyone else from doing that.

What is a Bitcoin address?

A Bitcoin address is like a bank account number. You can have multiple wallets with different addresses. If someone sends you money in bitcoin, you will give them one of your Bitcoin addresses.

What to know about Bitcoin addresses?

Bitcoin wallet addresses are case sensitive, usually have 34 characters of numbers and lowercase letters, start with either a 1 or a 3, and never use 0, O, l and I to make every character in the address as clear as possible. That said, how the address is created and built is not very important for you as an user.

How do I generate a Bitcoin address for my wallet?

This can differ between wallets. Some Bitcoin wallets manage your addresses for you. Others give you full control. Easier path is to just click and generate new address within your wallet software.

How to get started?

First you need to buy some bitcoins or etherum. It means you’ll need to sign up with one of the exchanges. After getting verified you can transfer some funds to the exchange and swap them for Bitcoin or Etherum.

Once you’ve got bitcoin or eth, you can either start trading some altcoins (after thorough research) or just transfer your coins to your wallet using your wallet address. Bitcoin should only be sent to bitcoin address.

How to secure my Bitcoin Wallet?

You’ll need to secure your computer. When your funds get bigger, definately use hardware wallet.
Set a good and strong password, close all ports and maintain a strict firewall.
Frequently change address. Use a different address for every transaction.
Multiple Signatures (Multi-sig). Multiple private keys to deter breaches.

Where are Bitcoins stored?

Bitcoins consist of a string of data. They can be stored everywere. It’s most convinient to store bitcoin on computers as it’s easier to use them.

What types of wallets are there?

Read our article here on Bitcoin Wallets.