What is Bitcoin and how does it work?

What is Bitcoin? What is its history? How does it work? All this and more in this comprehensive beginner's guide.



9/29/20227 min read

A single bitcoin surrounded by raw gold pieces.
A single bitcoin surrounded by raw gold pieces.

What is Bitcoin?

The first extensively used cryptocurrency in the world. Money can be sent over the internet using bitcoin. Bitcoin is different from regular currency because it is not regulated by governments or banks. An independent network of computers manages Bitcoin instead of a centralized authority.

Cryptocurrency Bitcoin was outlined in a 2008 whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto. It's an appealingly simple concept: Bitcoin is a digital currency that permits secure peer-to-peer transactions online.

  • Bitcoin is a decentralized payment system, unlike Venmo and PayPal, which require permission to transfer money and existing debit/credit accounts. Anyone can send bitcoin anywhere in the world without involvement from a bank, government, or other institution.

  • This means that Bitcoin transactions are captured on the blockchain, which is similar to a bank's ledger, or it could be said a record of the money being moved from one account to another.

  • The Bitcoin blockchain is a distributed ledger, which means that it is not stored in one place, but is spread across the entire network. If you want to be a part of the network, anyone can become part of it.

  • Bitcoin supply is capped at 21,000,000. The value of digital currency cannot be inflated or otherwise manipulated.

  • Even a fraction of a bitcoin is enough if that's all you need or want.

Bitcoin Basics

Thousands of other cryptocurrencies have been created since Bitcoin was first created. However, Bitcoin is still the largest by market capitalization and trading volume.

  • Bitcoin is a currency native to the Internet. Unlike government-issued currencies like the dollar or euro, Bitcoin allows online transfers without a middleman like a bank or payment processor. The removal of gatekeepers allows money to move around the global internet more quickly and cheaply and gives individuals more control over their assets.

  • Travel and charitable donations can be paid for with bitcoin, which is legal to use, own, and trade. It's accepted by Microsoft and Expedia.

  • How does bitcoin work as a currency? Money is something that people use to trade for goods and services. It can also be saved and used to buy things later. Money is an exchange medium, value store, and accounting unit.

Who created Bitcoin?

Bitcoin was introduced in 2009. This is the world's first cryptocurrency. Transactions are made without middlemen, so there are no transaction fees and no need for a bank account. Bitcoin is different from other currencies because it is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled by any one government or financial institution.

  • By late 2008, a person or group going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper on the principles behind Bitcoin.

  • Digital money wasn't the first idea drawing on cryptography and computer science - the paper referred to earlier concepts - but it was a unique and elegant solution to the problem of establishing trust between various online entities, where the creator of bitcoin may hide behind pseudonyms or reside across the world.

  • The private key for bitcoin (as created by Nakamoto) and the blockchain ledger are two intertwined concepts that Nakamoto developed. Bitcoin is controlled by a private key, which is a string of randomized numbers and letters that unlocks a vault where your funds are stored. The blockchain tracks each private key.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that was created to solve the problem of how to transfer value between two people without a trusted intermediary, like a bank. Bitcoin allows people all over the world to transact business without the need for centralized institutions like banks, credit card companies, lenders, or governments. Any two people, regardless of their location, can send payments without having to encounter those gatekeepers, resulting in a more efficient, more secure, and more innovative financial system.

How does Bitcoin work?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not owned by an individual or company. Instead, it is decentralized and managed by a global network of computers. Bitcoin is the world's first open payment network, accessible to anyone with internet. Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be sent from person to person without going through a bank.

Similar to banks, Bitcoin uses a blockchain to track who owns what. It is important to note that Bitcoin is a decentralized ledger, which means that anyone can view it and it is not managed by one organization. This is what makes it different from a bank's ledger.

The following are some details about how it all works:

  • Mining rigs are specialized computers that perform the equations required to verify and record a new transaction. In the early days, a typical desktop PC was powerful enough to participate in mining for Bitcoin. With the arrival of more sophisticated mining machines, those days are These days, the required computers are typically enormous, highly specialized machines that are frequently owned by businesses or large groups of miners who have combined their processing resources.

  • Miners' computational power ensures accuracy of the growing ledger. This inextricable link between Bitcoin and the blockchain is one of the reasons why every new bitcoin, as well as every transaction with any existing coin, is recorded on the blockchain.

  • Is the network responsible for motivating miners to verify transactions on the blockchain as part of its ongoing maintenance? The Bitcoin code rewards the winning rig with a block of Bitcoins, which is worth a lot of money. The Bitcoin network is a system where people race to solve math problems. The person who solves the problem first gets a reward of Bitcoins.

  • Bitcoin had no value at the beginning. In 2019, it was trading around $7,500. The value of bitcoin has risen, meaning that people can now buy a small fraction of one bitcoin. This is an advantage of bitcoin.

  • The network was set up so that the number of bitcoin will never exceed 21,000,000. Currently, there are around 3,000,000 bitcoins still available to be mined. This will happen more and more slowly. In 2140, the last blocks will be mined.

Different currencies have different values, so you would need more of one currency to buy something than another currency. Currencies also have different names, like dollars, pounds, or yen. Lastly, each country usually has its own currency.

How to get Bitcoin?

The easiest way to buy bitcoins is to purchase them through an online exchange like Coinbase. Using something that is called a public key and a private key, Coinbase makes it simple to buy, sell, send, receive, and store bitcoin without the need for you to physically hold the cryptocurrency.

Here's how to buy and store bitcoin outside an online exchange.

  1. It is the responsibility of each member of the bitcoin network to be issued a public key and a private key. The public key is essentially a long string of letters and numbers, which can be thought of as the same as an email address, and the private key is very similar to a password.

  2. Whenever you buy bitcoin, or send or receive it, you are given a public key, which unlocks a virtual vault and gives you access to your funds.

  3. When someone wants to send you bitcoin, they use your public key. This is like your address. But only the person with the private key can open the bitcoin vault and access the bitcoin once it's been sent.

  4. Bitcoin can be stored in many ways both online and offline. A virtual wallet is the easiest solution to this problem.

  5. After you sell your bitcoin, you can transfer money to a bank account by using Coinbase's app. The completion of a transaction may take between a few days and a week on exchanges like Coinbase.

How to use Bitcoin?

In 2013, a man named Laszlo Hanyecz offered to pay 10,000 bitcoins (which were worth about $25 at the time) to anyone who would deliver two pizzas to his house in Jacksonville, Florida. According to legend, a bitcoin early adopter bought two pizzas at a Papa John's with bitcoin. Thankfully, bitcoin has become much easier to use in recent years!

  • Transactions with BTC work much like those with a credit card or debit card, except you won't need to enter card information, just the amount and the vendor's public key. The QR code will often pop up on the screen when conducting a transaction in person using a smartphone or tablet - when you scan the QR code, your wallet app will automatically fill in all the pertinent information when you scan the code.

  • Bitcoin is private. You don't need to provide as much personal information if you pay with bitcoin. If you're buying something that needs to be shipped, you'll need to share your name and address.

  • Satoshi Nakamoto is the person who came up with the idea of using blockchain technology to create a digital currency and a payment system.

  • Some suggestions:

  1. Using an exchange or an ATM, you can sell it for cash.

  2. You can use it like any other currency online or in stores with a Bitcoin debit card.

  3. Depending on what your investment and savings strategy is, you may be able to keep some or all of it as part of your investments.

  4. It may be a good idea to check out (check out) an issue that is close to your heart.

  5. For example, people who want to go on Virgin Galactic's space tourism missions can now pay for their seat using Bitcoin.

What makes Bitcoin a new kind of money?

Bitcoin is a global digital currency. It's not governed by a government or bank. Electronic purchases can be made with Bitcoin. It is just as straightforward to send it to the other side of the world as it is to pay with cash in the real world.

Bitcoin is similar to cash in the sense that transactions can never be reversed by the sender of the funds. The centralized intermediaries that complete credit cards, conventional online payment systems, and banking transactions prevent reversed payments after the payment is made-sometimes months after the initial transaction. This means that it is more likely for someone to commit fraud when using a credit card, which can end up costing the merchant more money in fees.

Bitcoin is a type of money that is private, meaning that you don't need to give your real name when you use it. When you pay with bitcoin, there is no need to provide your bank statements or personal information. The Bitcoin addresses and amounts involved in a transaction are the only identifiers.