A Complete Beginner's Guide To Bitcoin In 2018

When you dig into the details of Bitcoin, it’s almost an unbelievable tale about how to create money. Although it seems like fiction, it’s actually the best-known version of digital currency in use today. To help you wrap your head around what it is, what it does and how to earn Bitcoins, I pulled together this complete beginner’s guide to Bitcoin.

Before we go any further I just want to reiterate that investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.

A bit of bitcoin history

Bitcoin was the first established cryptocurrency—a digital asset that is secured with cryptography and can be exchanged like currency. Other versions of cryptocurrency had been launched but never fully developed when Bitcoin became available to the public in 2009. The anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—possibly an individual or a group whose real identity is still unknown—is behind the development of Bitcoin who stated the goal of the technology was to create “a new electronic cash system” that was “completely decentralized with no server or central authority.” In 2010, someone decided to sell their Bitcoins for the first time to purchase two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins. I hope the pizza was good, because if that person would have held onto those Bitcoins, they would be worth more than $100 million today. In 2011, Nakamoto shared the source code and domains with the Bitcoin community and hasn’t been heard from again.

What is Bitcoin, really?

Bitcoin is a digital currency, so there are no coins to mint or bills to print. There is not a government, financial institution or any other authority that controls it, so it’s decentralized. The owners who have Bitcoins in the system are anonymous—there are no account numbers, names, social security numbers or any other identifying features that connect Bitcoins to its owners. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology and encryption keys to connect buyers and sellers. And, just like diamonds or gold, a Bitcoin gets “mined.”

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