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What’s all the Fuss about Bitcoin?

The world’s leading digital-only currency has been around for many years but it’s only now that most people are starting to sit up and take notice. This online form of currency is generated through intricate number-crunching and is carefully “managed” by millions of computer boffins worldwide, known as miners.

So what is it really?

In a way, a Bitcoin is electricity converted into vast reams of code that are given a monetary value; and boy has that value soared in recent times – so much so that many predict Bitcoin will rival gold as a financial asset in years to come.

At the heart of a Bitcoin is a blockchain; a data ledger file that’s akin to a lengthy text message on a smartphone. Every blockchain is separated into three parts – the identifying address, the history of who purchased the Bitcoin and who sold it.

How is Bitcoin used?

The really fascinating thing about Bitcoin is that you can never physically own it! As a wholly virtual currency, it’s self-contained, with no need for any banks or building societies to move funds around – or any physical wallets and hiding places.

There are certain parallels between Bitcoin and gold in the way that they behave. Once you’ve invested in Bitcoin, it’s used and traded in very much the same way as physical gold coins you may have in your safe. They have a value and have liquidity to trade between individuals in much the same way, with the ability to use Bitcoin to acquire goods and services online – or hold on to them in the hope that their value continues to increase over the coming years.

How much is Bitcoin worth today then?

Such is the rise of Bitcoin’s value, that any shrewd investor who invested $1,000 in Bitcoin just seven years ago would now be sitting on a goldmine of $35 million!

In fact, Dutch finance blogger Jeroen Blokland found that had the same individual invested $1,000 in the S&P 500 index, they would have experienced growth of just 0.15% during the same time period – turning $1,000 into a meagre $2,500.

Who accepts Bitcoin as a payment method?

You might be surprised but even some of the world’s biggest chains are giving their customers the choice to pay for goods or services with Bitcoin. Even Starbucks will let you grab a coffee using them now! It’s also not gone unnoticed that a number of countries across Asia have formally adopted Bitcoin as a genuine e-currency, with Japan and South Korea the most notable adopters.

But it’s those early adopters that are really reaping the rewards of their belief in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole. The rise of not only Bitcoin but other e-currencies such as Dogecoin and Ethereum gave many iGaming companies an opportunity to innovate and solely operate with cryptocurrencies as the payment method for their customers – due in no small part to its security and speed of transactions. This has resulted in Bitcoin gambling sites that offer the world’s classic online casino games played only with e-currency. Anything from blackjack and slots to roulette and plinko is on offer, providing exactly the same kind of casino experience to those who prefer to play with their virtual currencies safely and responsibly.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as a whole is changing the way we save and spend our personal wealth. E-currencies are helping people take back full control of their money. Rather than relying on paper money or online bank balances that ‘promise’ a certain value, Bitcoin is combined data that has a value in its own right.

 


Pic Credit – “bitcoin accepted here” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Francis Storr

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