What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin (BTC) is an Internet currency, better known as a cryptocurrency, that was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. It is a peer-to-peer payment system that was developed as open source software. Said system keeps a record online called the blockchain, which keeps track of all bitcoin transactions, with the help of blockchain nodes. You can get free bitcoins here.
How Can I Use Bitcoin?
You use bitcoin directly by installing a wallet software on your computer. Popular bitcoin software include Bitcoin-QT (Bitcoin Core) and Multibit, both free, which you can find here. Bitcoin QT is the most complete wallet software, although you will need to wait for it to sync with the rest of the network prior to using. Once it is installed and running, you will be assigned a Bitcoin address. If you need to receive Bitcoin payments, just copy and paste said address and give it to the person who will pay you. Within minutes, the coins should be in your wallet for you to use as you wish. Bitcoins are stored locally in your computer.
There are also websites that will allow you to create an user and a password, and will assign you an unique Bitcoin address for sending and receiving bitcoins. In this case, the bitcoins are in said websites. This can be risky if said sites dissappear.
What If My Computer Crashes? What happens to my Bitcoins?
Bitcoins are stored locally in a file called "wallet.dat". If something happens to your computer and this file is lost, you will lose your Bitcoins. This is why it is a good idea to keep backups of this file on external media (pendrives, etc). Bitcoin-QT even has a menu option that says "Backup Wallet..." for your convenience. Make backups of your wallet regularly.
How do I get Bitcoins?
- You can get free bitcoins here.
- You can buy (and sell) them from websites such as Coinbase and Poloniex. After year 2013, 1 Bitcoin can be quite expensive (several hundred dollars), though.
- Bitcoins can also be obtained by mining. However, as of today, mining is no longer profitable, as it now requires expensive specialized SHA256 mining hardware that work together with the computer. Mining with the computer itself is no longer practical at all.
Stores That Accept Bitcoin
Plenty of websites on the Internet accept Bitcoin right away. You can buy giftcards with Bitcoin at Gyft.Com. There are many more websites that accept bitcoin.
Why I see people talking about "Satoshis"?
1 Satoshi is the smallest unit in the Bitcoin currency. And 100 million Satoshis equals 1 whole Bitcoin (BTC). Since Bitcoin has grown so expensive, many websites and people will talk about payments in Satoshis. For example, 1 million satoshis is the same as 0.01 Bitcoin. 200 Thousand Satoshis equals 0.002 Bitcoin. You get the picture.
Satoshis come from Satochi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin.
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Satoshi Nakamoto is the creator of Bitcoin. It is thought to be a pseudonym or even a whole organization in disguise. No one can say for sure who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Some articles claim to have found the real Satoshi Nakamoto, but every Satoshi Nakamoto to be seen denies being the creator of the cryptocurrency, so what can we do? :)
More Information About Bitcoin
For more information about Bitcoin, visit their official website, Bitcoin.Org
Other Coins Like Bitcoin
You might also be interested in reading about other coins like bitcoin
-A.P. May 21, 2014 Updated Aug 21, 2016