It's been around for a bit, but it is still in its beginning stages.
Bitcoin is an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is also the name of the open source software which enables the use of this currency.
Bitcoin is a decentralized currency (*cough*the way it should be*cough*)
These are the basic features of any Bitcoin-like network.
- Bitcoins can be transferred between arbitrary nodes on the network.
- Transactions are irreversible.
- Double spending is prevented by using a block chain.
- Transactions are broadcasted within seconds and verified within 10 to 60 minutes.
- Transactions can be received at any time regardless of whether your computer is turned on or off.
These rules are enforced collectively by the network. While they will not change for Bitcoin, other digital currencies using Bitcoin's technology may change them to suit their needs.
- Hard limit of about 21 million Bitcoins.
- Bitcoins are divisible to 8 decimal places yielding a total of approx. 21×1014 currency units.
- Transactions are cheap, and mostly free (Transaction fees).
Features of the Bitcoin network
The network has been running for more than 45 months yielding to some impressive security features.
- Long block chain (more than 204.000 blocks) with lots of processing power securing transactions.
- Only one major incident (fixed in August 2010).
You can generate your own bitcoins by using processing power of CPUs and GPUs. Some people invest $20,000 into Bitmining rigs, in that they purchase 15 high power computers and leave it mining coins 24/7. You make your $20,000 back fast and are then making money doing nothing. Like I said, Bitcoin is still in its early phases.
Bitcoins are also great to invest in. If you go look at the charts... the value of BTC is going up. It started off valued very low, at around $1-2 / 1BTC.... now, 1BTC = ~$25
Bitcoin is a great digital currency and it isn't failing. There is about $300 million USD in value of all the bitcoins currently circulating around in the still early stages.
Edited by -Wade-, November 18, 2013 - 04:10 PM.