Bitcoin in many ways is a libertarian dream come true. It incorporates many of the features, freedom-minded individuals wish for in the money we use. Lacking only a true “store of value” function, Bitcoin is seen by many to be far superior to paper currencies.
Also, a clearer distinction between everyday (paper) currency as “fiat” and other, more reliable, forms of money is provided by the fact alone that Bitcoin is taking the headlines by storm in recent weeks.
Bitcoin is highly predictable in that it is limited in supply, unlike that of centralized or government-issued fiat currency. The total amount of Bitcoins in circulation is estimated to top out in 2140 when the maximum allowed total of 21 million units or “coins” is produced or “mined”.
The open source, peer-to-peer payment system uses PKI (public-key infrastructure) for cryptography and various aspects of its security. Users effect by sending digitally signed messages from their “wallets” that transfer ownership of Bitcoins to another user. Then a decentralized network of specialised computers verifies and time-stamps all transactions. In order to create Bitcoins — or, in fact, any other crypto coins — a proof-of-work system is used, a process called “mining”. The operators of such mining set-ups or “mining rigs” are then rewarded with transaction fees and newly minted Bitcoins.
Mini survey: Do you own any bitcoins?
Results to the ad-hoc poll above are certainly not scientific or in any way statistically representative have been as follows:
- I have not decided if I want to use them or not (46%, 186 Votes)
- No, I do not trust it (48%, 194 Votes)
- Yes, I actively trade and use them for purchases (6%, 22 Votes)
It is noteworthy, that among “people on the street” Bitcoin still is a wholly unknown beast and predominantly not trusted — yet.
Total Voters: 402
The low rate of acceptance among the general (investing) population means that for reasons of a user base that still has a long way of expansion ahead, the value of Bitcoin (and other Crypto coins) will likely increase significantly in the medium to long term.
Bitcoin was first noticed by the mainstream media, and thus the TV addict general public, due to some illegal activities and illicit uses. In summer 2013, the FBI shut down the Silk Road online black market and seized funds in excess of $28.5 million in Bitcoin from the alleged mastermind. More recently and with the waking-up of more and more consumers to the use of crypto coins in daily life, particularly in online commerce and overseas transactions, Bitcoin and “alt coins” have gained more traction in the investing community. Today, they can already be used to buy everything from pizza to a Tesla car.