WTF Is Bitcoin?
Five seconds into a conversation about Bitcoin and we start to lose both interest and the mental capacity to follow along. That’s because Bitcoin is complicated. It’s new. It’s filled with jargon no sane person cares about, and to be honest, the experts haven’t done a good enough job at making it accessible to the masses. My hope is that today that changes as I attempt to explain Bitcoin in non-technical jargon. Ready?
WTF is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is money. It’s the newest form of money in the loooong evolution of money. In the history of money, spanning tens of thousands of years, there have been maybe 5 major changes to money.
- Shells and feathers.
- Beads and nuts.
- Precious metals, like gold.
- Paper money and plastic money (or “government money”).
- And noooow digital currencies, like Bitcoin.
Why the evolution? Isn’t government money just fine? Not really.
Bitcoin is money without any central point of control (cough *banks* cough). It is completely decentralized like the internet itself. And what decentralized money does is introduce the same thing that the internet introduced.
The internet made communication accessible, instant, and global. It made us more connected than ever before. It empowered us to find out for ourselves what’s true without being told by the authorities what truth is (think George Orwell’s 1984). Finally, we could think for ourselves.
Bitcoin, like the internet, is separate from nations, sovereign issuers, and institutions that like to “control” things. “Control” is such a boring topic, I know, but here’s why governments shouldn’t always “control” our money.
- What if tomorrow’s government decides that BLM protesters are too much trouble and in an attempt to quiet them down, cut off all their money?
- What if the government suddenly deemed legal immigrants to be illegal, and cut them off financially as a way to deport them?
- What if the Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t just a Netflix show but our reality?
One single institution having full control of our money is dangerous. It’s what all dystopian societies are made of.
With decentralized money, like Bitcoin, you are in control. Your money cannot be seized, it cannot be frozen, it cannot be censored. Your transactions cannot be intercepted.
So what’s happening with Bitcoin is a silent revolution that is much bigger than you and I think it is. It’s a shift in money powers from institutions to person. Anyone in the world can now log into an application to buy and hold Bitcoin. In doing that they immediately acquire the same powers that institutions of banking have today — mainly the acquiring and management of money.
For banks and governments this is terrifying. It means losing control of the most powerful thing that exists on Planet Earth: money… and ultimately, you.
Whoever controls the money controls the world
Bitcoin — Is it Good or Bad?
When the internet first came out in 1991, people said it was for criminals. But what happened when it was legalized?
People made blogging sites, they set up funds, they taught each other how to fix broken things, and they made millioooons of cute cat videos.
Today, they say the same thing about Bitcoin that they said about the internet: “Bitcoin is for terrorists, drug dealers and gamblers.”
Bitcoin gets a bad rep because — yes — it can be used by criminals, but guess what? So can government money.
The difference is that payments and transactions made with traditional paper money are more anonymous than Bitcoin transactions, which are publicly displayed on the blockchain ledger.
In other words…
All transactions made with Bitcoin are documented on the blockchain. And I mean aaallllll transactions — from the beginning of time until today. So, you can trace Bitcoin transactions back to an original source.
This is a nightmare for criminals.
That’s why many Bitcoiners argue that, in fact, government money is the preferred money for criminals as it cannot easily be traced back to them. And instead of being bad, Bitcoin helps create transparency in a world where money management is kept a secret by the wealthy few and criminals.
If You Can Remember Anything, It’s this…
1. Bitcoin is money.
2. Bitcoin is money that cannot be controlled.
3. Bitcoin is money that is transparent and accessible for everyone.
Bitcoin is a gift to the entire world. For the first time, it’s money that levels the playing field of the “money game” we live in.
Did You Know?
- Bitcoin is the world’s first digital currency.
- Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin in 2009. However, his real identity remains a mystery.
- While the dollar is broken down by 100 units, Bitcoin is divisible into smaller units called “satoshis” (an homage to its founder, Satoshi Nakamoto). Each satoshi is worth 0.00000001 Bitcoin.
- You can buy an entire Bitcoin, or a fraction of a Bitcoin at http://netcoins.ca/
- Bitcoin cannot be printed or devalued or hyper-inflated because it’s limited. Only 21 million Bitcoins will ever exist.
- Bitcoin is digital money. As such it’s stored and exchanged in a digital ledger (called a blockchain).
Written by: Ayelen Osorio
Writer, content marketing at Netcoins.