6 things you might not have known about bitcoin
By now you must have heard everyone and their gran talking about bitcoin, what it is, how much money you can make whether it’s going up down or in a loop the loop. But here’s a couple of things you might not have known about the cryptocurrency of the moment.
There’s only a certain amount of bitcoins in existence
You might think that without the need to make physical coins, there could be an endless amount of bitcoin, but of course that’s not how currencies work. If it there’s endless amount of something then it has little value. So in fact there will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins in existence, so far 16.3 million have already been ‘mined’ (see more on that below).
You can buy real things with them
When people think of bitcoin they might think of purely virtual transactions, but bitcoin is a real currency you can use to buy physical items from a growing list of retailers who accept it like Microsoft, Dell, Holiday Inn and even some restaurants. You can even get a bitcoin jackpot on some online lotteries.
There is a list of every transaction ever to take place in bitcoin
One of the ways that bitcoin is different is that aside from personal details, all transactions are transparent, meaning there is a list called a block chain of how much bitcoin was bought and sold, open to all to see. Despite the slightly shady image of virtual currencies, in some ways it’s a lot more open and transparent than traditional currencies, which instills a lot of trust among bitcoin owners.
You can mine for bitcoin
It’s probably the only kind of mining that doesn’t involve donning a hard hat, but yes you can ‘mine’ for bitcoin as it’s called. While you can’t actually create more coins, you can help keep the system running by solving problems to verify transactions, in return for your work you get paid in bitcoin, thus ‘bitcoin mining’.
We still don’t know who invented bitcoin
Bitcoin first appeared in 2009, but almost 10 years later we still don’t know who created it. The whitepaper for bitcoin was published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto, who doesn’t exist. There are numerous theories as to what the name means, with some suggesting it’s an amalgamation of tech giants Samsung, Toshiba, Nakamichi and Motorola. If he is real, he’s sitting on a gold mine, as the bitcoin empire would make him the 247th richest person in the world.
Around 25% of all bitcoins are lost forever
High tech as the cryptocurrency may be, the still rely on you keeping a private ‘key’ to your virtual bitcoin wallet safe and sound. Lose the hard drive that it stored on and you lose your bitcoin forever as there’s no way of getting it back.