Bitcoin was the very first cryptocurrency and remains one of the most popular. If it has piqued your curiosity, you’re not alone. You’re also not alone if you have no idea what Bitcoin is or how its value is determined.
If you’re interested in investing in Bitcoin, it is important to learn more about the cryptocurrency before you buy these digital coins with your hard-earned cash. In this article, you’ll find out what Bitcoin is and how it works, as well as discover the perks and risks of this cryptocurrency.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin refers to a decentralized digital currency that you can purchase, sell, and exchange directly. It does not require the intervention of banks and other intermediaries. It was created by Satoshi Nakamoto and launched publicly in 2009.
This type of cryptocurrency is founded on a blockchain. What is a blockchain? A blockchain is a distributed digital record that is composed of units that are known as blocks. Each block holds data about every transaction, such as the buyer, seller, value, date, time, and identifying code. These blocks are connected in a digital chain that is organized in chronological order.
Unlike many cryptocurrencies, and Beanie Babies, Bitcoin has increased exponentially in value since its 2009 inception. During its early days, one coin could be purchased for less than $150. The average selling price now reaches tens of thousands of dollars.
Advantages of Bitcoin
Despite it being somewhat of a gamble, Bitcoin features certain benefits that inevitably draws the interest of investors. Here are some of its advantages:
- Rising Value: The value of Bitcoin is expected to continue to grow over time. After all, the supply of Bitcoin is limited to 21 million coins – so long as the demand stays high, the value will stay high as well. Some institutional investors have even referred to it as “digital gold.”
- Public Transactional Information: Information about Bitcoin transactions is open and accessible to the public. All the transactions are recorded in a public ledger to discourage the reversals of transactions and internet sleight of hand.
Disadvantages of Bitcoin
Although it is popular, Bitcoin also has its share of disadvantages. These are some of the risks and drawbacks of the cryptocurrency:
- Decentralization: Bitcoin is based on a decentralized system; this means that it is not regulated by one single organization. This leads some countries’ governments to be concerned about the lack of taxation and the uncontrollable nature of this cryptocurrency.
- Anonymity: While Bitcoin transactional data is publicly available, buyers and sellers always remain anonymous. Only the wallet IDs of investors are revealed, but not their names. This setup provides privacy for sellers and buyers, yet it also gives them the opportunity to participate in illicit activities like scams and get away with it.
- Security Issues: Bitcoins are kept in a virtual wallet that is stored in the cloud or on the computers of buyers and sellers. Although a digital wallet is convenient, it is also vulnerable to security issues. Wallets in online servers can be hacked, while wallets in local computer systems can be deleted by users or wiped out by viruses.
Be Cautious if You Are Planning to Invest in Bitcoin
Bitcoin may be an interesting cryptocurrency, especially if you’re getting into investing. However, keep in mind that it comes with its own risks as well. Make sure to exercise caution and know what you’re getting into if you plan on investing your hard-earned coin into this digital coin.