Beginner Guide To Bitcoin And Blockchain Technology

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Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology have been in the news a lot lately. In fact, it's virtually impossible to surf through your social media feeds without seeing or reading something about Bitcoin at least once a day. 

But what is Bitcoin? How does it work? Why has it suddenly become so popular? And why do some people believe that crypto currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) will change the world forever while others think they are nothing more than a scam designed to make a few lucky early adopters rich? 

If you'd like answers to these questions (and many other questions besides) then this guide is for you! Through this article we'll explain everything you need to know about Bitcoin, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in general. So even if you've been hearing about Bitcoin for a while but never really understood what it is or why people get so excited about it, don't worry: we've got you covered. By the end of this crypto guide you'll be fully clued up on the topic and ready to join in the conversation with your friends and financial colleagues. For more information on BTC and blockchain, visit https://bitiqapp.com/.

What Is Bitcoin? 

Bitcoin is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure its transactions and to control the creation of new units. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by a person (or group of people) using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is decentralized, meaning not governed by any one institution or country. It's also transparent, with every transaction being recorded on what's called the blockchain, which is basically an online ledger that anyone can access and read about. There are currently around 16 million Bitcoins in circulation but there can only ever be 21 million of them at most (this number is set by the mathematics of the system). 

Blockchain Technology 

The blockchain referred to above is essentially a public ledger where Bitcoin transactions are recorded chronologically and publicly. This distributed ledger technology is what makes Bitcoin so secure, as it means that transactions can only be made by somebody who has permission to make them - in other words, the system works perfectly as a type of digital checks and balances. This public ledger is also transparent because everybody involved with Bitcoin transactions is able to check any wallet address on the blockchain however many times they want. 

The huge rise in Bitcoin's value over the past year or two has been helped by its growing popularity with investors but also by increasing numbers of people using Bitcoin for day-to-day purchases rather than just hoarding it. There are currently more than 100 retailers who offer Bitcoin payments including Expedia, Tesla, Overstock, and Microsoft. 

Bitcoin Myths 

This newness means there are still a lot of misconceptions about Bitcoin, even among some tech-savvy people. Even though there are many more companies accepting Bitcoin payments these days, some people might still think that it can't be used to pay for things because of its volatility. They'll point to the fact that the price of one Bitcoin has ranged from below $5 at the beginning of 2013 to highs over $60,000 in 2021 before dropping again down to around half that value by 2022. 

However, this doesn't mean using Bitcoin is inherently risky - far from it. There are pretty simple strategies you can follow if you want to protect yourself against fluctuations in value (more on this later) but it's also useful to remember that all currencies fluctuate in value on a daily basis. Sterling, for example, has lost almost 20% of its value against the US dollar since Brexit. That is roughly equivalent to the fluctuations of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have experienced on any given month. 

Where Is Bitcoin Accepted? 

There are actually lots of places you can spend your Bitcoins these days. More than 100 retailers accept payments in Bitcoin including online marketplaces like Overstock and Newegg as well as brick and mortar stores with an international presence such as Expedia, Subway, and Microsoft. If you're based in Europe then there are also plenty of ways to spend your digital money there with services like Cumbria Tea or even just buying flights using CheapAir or Destinia.
 
As we mentioned above, Bitcoin isn't tied to any country or subject to regulation. This means there are no (or very few) transaction fees involved with using the cryptocurrency. You can pay for flights or other items in Bitcoin without having to worry about foreign exchange rates or excessive charges tacked onto your purchase. Depending on future adoption rates and regulations in 2022, BTC transaction fees will hopefully remain low.

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