Bitcoin is the future!
Do you have any bitcoins?
A Brief Introduction
From the Bitcoin wiki "
Bitcoin is an experimental, decentralized 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."
As the above states, there is no central authority in Bitcoin. While this is a key point of the cryptocurrency, it has also been the reason it has gone through great expansive growth and huge recessions due to fraudulent exhanges and scammers in the beginning.
In the past year, it has stabilized greatly and even began to see adoption as a means of payment by mainstream companies like Overstock.com, Dell, DISH and various other online companies. Newegg.com recently extended their Bitcoin promotion as well.
It offers a fast, low fee way to send money across the globe that has never existed before. Banks are notorious for taking up to several days and having high fees to send money globally. Where the same payment with Bitcoin will take a few hours at the most and have a fraction of the fees. To me, this is one of the biggest benefits that will revolutionize it as a global currency.
- Barrier to entry (learning).
- Not user-friendly enough.
- Must be secured well.
- Not globally accepted.
- Not regulated by a government.
- Only 21 million bitcoins will be in existence.
- It is anonymous.
- Faster to send globally.
- Not subject to fees from banks.
- Easy for businesses to accept for payment
So What's Holding It Back?
In my opinion, the user friendliness factor. Using Bitcoin securely will take you down a road of learning how to keep your digital wallet safe from threats of hackers, malware, and phishing sites. One of the best ways to look at it is as if you had an amount of money in your house to keep secure. You wouldn't keep it in a window in the view of everyone, you'd want to keep it in a strong safe that could not be lifted out, is fire/water proof and will be hidden.
However, the caveat to the above is that it has never been easier to obtain Bitcoin. There are many different ways of acquiring it now that did not exist in the beginning. The one I have the most experience with is a reputable service called coinbase.com. You can securely purchase Bitcoin from them by attaching the service to your bank account, and they will act as your online wallet. It's not encouraged to keep large amounts of Bitcoin with them, but for small amounts they are a great service I highly recommend.
There is also the alternative of using a site like localbitcoins.com, where you can meet up with a trader and purchase coins from them. I personally don't have experience using a service like this, but have read a lot of stories of success with it. If you do decide to go this route, be sure to meet in a very public place for safety like a cafe/coffee shop etc.
The Future of Bitcoin
It's impossible to have a definitive answer to where Bitcoin is going. However, my outlook on it is quite positive. It has come a long way since it's introduction in 2009, and has received a lot of positive news in terms of government regulation and adoption by large companies.
It's price for the past year has still been a little volatile, but stabilizing around the $600 mark as of Aug. 1, 2014. It has also stayed on top of numerous competing coins trying to make a quick buck off the cryptocurrency craze, but none have had any real success or widespread adoption like Bitcoin has.
I think as more services come out and further efforts are made to make it more user-friendly, it only makes sense that adoption will increase greatly. I don't know if you'll be using it at the grocery store, but it might start being the primary payment option for online shopping in a short amount of time since retailers often offer discounts as incentives to use it.