Business, Tech

What Is Bitcoin and Is It Still Relevant?

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It has been just over a decade since Bitcoin was first released into the world and in that time it has become the leading cryptocurrency. But what is Bitcoin and is it really still relevant in 2019?

What is bitcoin?

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Bitcoin is a fully digital currency, there’s no government to issue it and no banks are required to manage accounts and verify transactions. It was invented by an anonymous programmer or a group of programmers who went by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and released in 2009. Bitcoin owners can transfer bitcoins via a peer-to-peer network and every transaction is then recorded and tracked on the ‘blockchain’ which is also sometimes referred to as a giant ledger. Bitcoin’s blockchain programme handles how many bitcoins are produced and this number is capped at 21 million, there was a concern that this capping would limit how Bitcoin would be able to scale, however, a bitcoin is essentially infinitesimally divisible meaning that users can transfer as little as 0.00000001 of a bitcoin. Bitcoin can be used in direct transactions or trading with Bitcoin Evolution can enable bitcoin users to make bitcoin investments. 

What are the advantages of bitcoin over conventional currency? 

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Bitcoins success has been down to it having quite a few advantages such as:

  • Better control and safety
    Bitcoin keeps all of the user’s personal information hidden protecting the user against identity theft. It also allows users to control their transactions which makes the whole Bitcoin network safer for other users. Bitcoin transactions are anonymous.

  • More freedom
    Bitcoin has made it easy to send and receive money from anywhere in the world at any time. There’s no need to worry about crossing borders or whether your payment will clear over a bank holiday as there are none of the limitations associated with a third party bank.

  • Greater transparency
    Every finalised transaction made with bitcoin is available for everyone to see thanks to blockchain. The identity of the people within the transaction remains anonymous. 

  • There are very low or no fees
    Currently, bitcoin payments do not incur any fees. However, some transactions can include a fee if they need to be processed more quickly. 

What are the disadvantages of bitcoin?

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  • Lack of acceptance
    Although Bitcoin is the most widely used cryptocurrency it still lacks wider acceptance. Until bitcoin is more widely used by merchants it will still have limitations.

  • Government interference
    Some countries do not like their people using bitcoin as a currency, although they cannot take your bitcoin away they can freeze the accounts and make access to them difficult.

  • Lack of recourse
    If you lose your bitcoin wallet you have lost your currency for good, there’s no way of going back unless you have it backed up. 

Is bitcoin still relevant in 2019?

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There are now thousands of cryptocurrencies and knowing the role that Bitcoin will play in the future would require a time machine, what we do know is that at present it remains the superior cryptocurrency, but even champions can fall. Bitcoin still needs to spread into a more widely used currency and to do that it needs to increase its adoption rates which will make it more appealing to larger-scale retailers. There also needs to be a lot more education around bitcoin to help people understand what it is and the fact that they are the sole ‘banker’ of their bitcoin. With no 3rd party involved there’s no one to complain to, they are responsible if their bitcoin is lost or stolen. 

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