Credit cards have become the most popular medium for exchanging money in today's society. The largest credit card company is Visa, and they process $15 billion of transactions per day on average, with a total yearly volume near $5 trillion. Visa accounts for 40% of the credit card market, so the total amount of money transacted via credit cards easily exceeds $10 trillion each year. This is nearly as much as the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States.
It's crucial to encrypt your Bitcoin wallet in order to prevent theft. This can be done by clicking on "settings" in the Bitcoin wallet menu and then choosing "encrypt wallet". Essentially when you encrypt your wallet you set a password. You can still see your wallet balance and receive Bitcoins without the password, but in order to send Bitcoin you need to enter the password. Hackers have designed many programs which steal wallet files off people's computers, and if your wallet is unencrypted and you download such a program your Bitcoins will quickly disappear. Once Bitcoins are sent to a thief it is impossible to get them back, so it is important to prevent the theft in the first place.
Bitcoin is the first true cryptocurrency, it was created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto and since then has become extremely popular. Over $8 billion is invested into Bitcoin today, and there are over 60,000 Bitcoin transactions per day. Just about any product or service in the world can be bought with Bitcoin. The popularity of Bitcoin has led to numerous alternative cryptocurrencies, which are essentially copies of Bitcoin with some unique attributes.
Criminal activity has become a pandemic in the Bitcoin world. Ever since Bitcoin's explosive price rise criminals have been targeting Bitcoin users. Dozens of new Bitcoin related scams are reported each day, and often the criminals are never caught since it's possible to stay anonymous on the internet with the right expertise. There are a multitude of different Bitcoin scams, and it is important to understand them to keep your money safe. This article will discuss how to identify and avoid Bitcoin scams.
When people hear of Bitcoin for the first time they often ask what can Bitcoin be used for. Some dismiss Bitcoin as being play money or magic internet money upon hearing about it, but the reality is Bitcoin has a wide variety of uses ranging from serious financial investment to buying a bottle of hot sauce. This article will detail the various ways people use Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin network is run entirely through mining. Mining is the process by which computers solve algorithms, and when they find a block they get the block reward of 25 Bitcoins (worth $15,500 currently). Usually miners pool together their resources and receive shares of the block reward proportional to their mining power, since when mining alone it's extremely rare to find a block even if you own hundreds of thousands of dollars of mining equipment. When a block is found all transactions included in that block are confirmed. After receiving Bitcoin you cannot send it anywhere until it is confirmed at least once, so mining is essential for the Bitcoin network to keep running. On average there is 1 block found every 10 minutes, so it takes on average 10 minutes for a transaction to become confirmed. Confirmation time can vary wildly though, from less than a minute to several hours.
Bitcoin was created in 2008 by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. It is uncertain whether Satoshi was an actual person or a pseudonym for a group of people, and the true identity of Satoshi is unknown to this day. Satoshi wrote a famous paper describing the Bitcoin protocol ( https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf ) and then released Bitcoin's source in January 2009. Bitcoin began with the genesis block which Satoshi mined himself. After that point Bitcoin began to slowly spread, and by October 2009 the first Bitcoin exchange opened. A Bitcoin exchange is a place where you can buy/sell Bitcoin with fiat. Initially you could buy over 1300 Bitcoins for $1. The price of Bitcoin steadily increased as its use became more widespread, and currently each Bitcoin is worth $620. A famous story from the early days of Bitcoin is that someone bought a $25 pizza for 10,000 Bitcoins. The Bitcoins used to buy that single pizza are worth over $6 million today. Many early adopters of Bitcoin became millionaires, which undoubtedly increased Bitcoin's popularity further.
Silk Road is an online marketplace which launched in February 2011 and is designed to be completely anonymous. Just about every drug in existence is available on Silk Road, including Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, pharmaceuticals, and Cannabis. The only way to access Silk Road is through Tor, which is a browser that makes it nearly impossible to trace IP addresses. Bitcoin is the sole payment method used on Silk Road, since with Bitcoin you can send money worldwide near instantly and anonymously. Compare this to credit cards or almost any other payment method, where your personal information is needed to complete a transaction. Also Bitcoin payments can't be reversed, unlike credit cards.